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If you want to cut down on caffeine, you might enjoy this guide on how to find the best chicory coffee.
Chicory coffee is a great caffeine-free alternative to coffee, and you can find it in granules (like instant coffee), grounds, or in capsules. It has a strong smoky, earthy taste that some describe as bitter, but it’s a great choice if you want to cut down on your daily caffeine intake.
If you’ve never bought chicory coffee before, you might not know where to start. Our guide will show you what to look out for, as well as some of the tastiest chicory coffee options out there.
First, here’s a quick look at the chicory and where it comes from.
What is Chicory?
Chicory is the root of a flowering plant. It looks a little like root ginger. Brewed as coffee, it tastes earthy, woody, and a little nutty. It has a distinct taste – so don’t expect it to taste just like regular coffee. Some people prefer the taste of chicory, likening it to a ‘campfire’ drink thanks to the earthy taste.
It does have some great health benefits, and it can help with weight loss and intestinal health. It can also help to lower blood sugar and can decrease levels of bad cholesterol. It does contain more calories than coffee, which is something to remember – coffee has 0 calories per 100 grams, whereas chicory has 23 calories per 100 grams.
It helps to mellow out the intense caffeinated effect of regular coffee, so it works really well when blended with regular coffee.
To make chicory coffee, the roots are washed and peeled and cut into small pieces. Then they are roasted and ground to create a consistency similar to coffee grounds.
How to Prepare Chicory Coffee
The exact recipe for chicory coffee will depend on the type you buy (more on that later). Chicory is pretty bitter, so you will probably need to add milk to tone this down slightly. To prepare it Café au Lait style, you need a mixture of half milk, half chicory coffee (make sure both are hot when combined). This is the way many people prefer to drink it.
Alternatively, you can combine it with regular coffee. The ratio will depend on your personal preference. If you want to try chicory for the first time, try a 1:4 chicory to coffee ratio. If you want to cut your coffee consumption down, try a 1:2 blend of chicory to coffee, increasing to 2:3 if you get on well with the taste. You’ll soon find a combination that suits you.
The Benefits of Chicory Coffee
Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits of chicory coffee:
- Helps to temper the impact of caffeine in coffee – great if you want to slowly cut down on caffeine
- It’s cheaper, and you need less of it as the flavour is strong
- High insulin levels help to aid calcium absorption
- It contains some of your daily vitamin and mineral requirements, including potassium, vitamin A, C, and B6, protein, calcium, and magnesium
- Chicory can contain fibre depending on the preparation technique
Types of Chicory Coffee
Although there isn’t a huge amount of choice when it comes to chicory coffee, you can get it prepared in slightly different forms depending on your preference.
Instant granules work in the same way as instant coffee granules. Just add hot water, stir, add milk, and you’re done. The obvious benefit of this is that it’s super easy to prepare. The downside is a lack of flavour compared to other options.
Chicory coffee grounds are prepared in the same way as regular coffee grounds, using a coffee machine, a French press, or just a pot of boiling water. It takes roughly the same time to prepare as regular coffee.
These aren’t as common, but chicory and coffee blends in capsule form can be found occasionally. These are prepared in a coffee machine in the same way as regular capsules.
If you want pure chicory, you can find 100% ground chicory that isn’t mixed with coffee. This means you can choose to drink it on its own or mixed with your regular coffee. There isn’t a huge amount of variety when it comes to chicory brands.
You’ll usually find chicory coffee blended with regular coffee. These come in different strengths in the same way that regular coffee does, for example, medium roast or dark roast.
You can also find decaf chicory coffee blends, if you want to cut out caffeine completely but still want to enjoy the flavour of coffee and chicory together.
Now, let’s take a look at some good chicory coffee you can buy today.
French Market Chicory Coffee – Best Canned Chicory Coffee
If you want traditional chicory coffee New Orleans style, the French Market is a great brand to choose from. They handcraft their coffee in small batches, using the best quality raw ingredients available. They’ve been going for over 125 years, and their coffee is served in the best restaurants in New Orleans.
Their chicory coffee comes in several types, including:
- Dark roast coffee and chicory
- Medium-dark roast coffee and chicory
- Medium-dark roast coffee and chicory restaurant blend
- Dark roast coffee and chicory restaurant blend
- Medium-dark roast coffee and chicory – decaf
French Market chicory coffee has a nutty, caramelized taste. For canned coffee, it has an excellent flavour (canned coffee can have a bad reputation in this regard). Some people suggest that the red cans have a far superior flavour than the white cans, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for it.
We think this is an excellent choice in terms of value for money and flavour – and you can prepare it just like you would with your regular cup of coffee. It’s a good introduction to chicory if you want to try it for the first time.
- Steeped in New Orleans history
- Made in small batches using imported chicory from France and high-quality arabica beans
- Comes in several strengths
- Decaf option available
- Red cans are a little more expensive than some of the other types
- If buying online, may need to purchase in bulk
Prewetts Chicory Coffee – Best Pure Chicory Coffee
Prewetts create a chicory coffee that many regards as a great, healthy alternative to coffee. Coming all the way from the UK, you might find it a bit more difficult to source than some of the others on this list, but it’s a good healthy choice. It’s completely caffeine-free as it is 100% roasted chicory with no other ingredients, and it’s prepared in the same way as instant coffee: just add water and milk.
Prewett’s only use organically grown chicory to make their coffee, so you know you won’t have to worry about artificial pesticides.
They recommend preparing it cappuccino-style: one teaspoon of chicory coffee in half a mug of hot water topped up with hot frothy milk. It also tastes great with coconut milk if you want to avoid dairy.
Reviewers state it’s a pretty mellow coffee – not as bitter as other chicory coffees, with no need to add sweeteners. Most people add hot milk to make it more palatable.
- Mellow in taste compared to other chicory coffees
- Completely caffeine-free
- Sourced from the U.K, so might be more expensive to get hold of
Café du Monde Chicory Coffee – Good All-Rounder
Café du Monde is another traditional New Orleans-based company. Established in 1862, they’re best known for their traditional roasted coffee and chicory and their Beignets (square pieces of dough deep-fried and covered in powdered sugar). Café du Monde’s chicory coffee is typically served black or Au Lait (half and a half with hot milk).
You can buy a beignet mix from their website if you want the full Café du Monde experience at home.
Sold in iconic yellow cans, this instant chicory coffee comes in either dark roast or decaf form.
You can also get capsules from Café du Monde, so if you have a coffee machine, you have this as an option.
Although this coffee smells strong (some even say it smells like dirt as the earthy taste is so strong), it has a slight chocolate flavour and doesn’t taste too bitter when added to hot milk.
- Made in New Orleans
- Not too bitter
- Decaf option available
- Can be bought in capsule form
- Not as many flavour choices as other options on this list
Urban Grind Chicory Joe – Best Chicory Coffee Grounds
Urban Grind began in a renovated warehouse. It was the first company to make artisan coffee in the Pearl District in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a family-owned company, and they have a lot of experience when it comes to brewing excellent coffee. They have a custom-made roaster that allows them to roast small batches of beans to keep the quality high.
If you want a good quality bag of chicory/coffee grounds, Urban Grind’s Chicory Joe is a good one. It has a good balance of chicory and medium roasted coffee, so it’s not too strong for those who want a milder flavour.
If you want to support a small, family-run business, this is a great choice – sometimes it’s worth paying more for good-quality coffee, and that is definitely the case here.
- Small family-run company
- Coffee beans are roasted in small batches
- Medium-roast for a milder flavour
- Not as easy to get hold of as others on this list
Community Coffee Chicory and Coffee Blend – Best Capsule Chicory Coffee
Community Coffee has been going since 1919. It grew from a small family business into a flourishing company that sells coffee worldwide. They source their beans responsibly from around the world and roast their beans in small batches, so you know you’ll be getting a superior flavour.
The great thing about Community Coffee is that they take their name seriously – they have programs that support military service members and local schools. If you want to give back, this will be the coffee for you.
Their chicory coffee combines Arabica beans with roasted chicory. It has a sweet, spicy flavour with a smoky taste, and works particularly well with steamed milk and sugar.
If you own a coffee machine, this is a great choice. You can get an excellent quality coffee and chicory blend for a reasonable price and at the touch of a button – it’s difficult to find chicory coffee in capsule form, so this is your best bet in that respect.
- Beans are sourced responsibly
- Nice flavor
- Pods are reasonably priced
- The company gives back to different members of their local community in New Orleans
- No decaf option
- Only one choice of strength
Coffee Partner Natural Ground Chicory Coffee – Best for Mixing with Coffee
If you want to cut down on caffeine or make your coffee go further, this is a great choice. Coffee Partner Natural Ground Chicory blends really nicely with ground coffee, allowing you to customize how much chicory you want.
It’s naturally caffeine-free and helps to mellow your cup of coffee, adding a smoky, nutty flavour. They recommend mixing one box into one pound of ground coffee for the best results, but you can customize this to suit you.
- Easy to mix with coffee
- Naturally caffeine-free
- Quite a strong flavour – may need less than they suggest on the box
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve still got questions about chicory coffee, we may be able to answer them here.
Where does chicory coffee come from?
Chicory is native to France, so experts think the idea of brewing chicory roots into coffee came from there originally. You might associate chicory coffee with New Orleans. During the Civil War, the port of New Orleans was cut off by Union naval blockades. This drove locals to turn to chicory to make coffee – and thus became a traditional drink.
Is chicory gluten-free?
Yes, chicory is gluten-free. However, some chicory coffee blends may contain gluten, so it’s always best to check the packaging.
Does chicory have side effects?
Some people find that chicory may upset their stomach, causing indigestion or abdominal pain. It’s best to try a little bit of chicory first before buying it in bulk just in case.
Can you drink too much chicory?
You may find drinking a lot of chicory upsets your stomach, but generally, it’s safe to drink in moderate amounts.
Is chicory cheaper than coffee?
Yes, chicory tends to be cheaper – this is part of the reason why people like to mix it into coffee, to make their coffee go further.
Is chicory good for your skin?
Supposedly, chicory is good for your skin – it is supposed to be high in antioxidants, which helps to soothe skin.
How do I make chicory taste less bitter?
If you’re finding the taste of chicory too bitter, you can do several things. You can mix it into coffee, using mostly coffee, until you adjust to the taste. Or, you can add more hot milk to your chicory coffee or add a small amount of sugar to take the edge of the bitterness.
How do I prepare a fresh chicory root?
If you want to prepare it yourself, peel and clean the root thoroughly, then roast in even-sized chunks at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the chicory turns golden brown. Once cooled, you can place the pieces into a coffee grinder and grind them to roughly the same coarseness as your regular coffee grounds.
Once you’re done, you can mix with regular coffee or enjoy with hot milk or as a black coffee.
Conclusion – Which Chicory Coffee is the Best?
As you can see, chicory coffee doesn’t vary too much in terms of flavour – it’s pretty distinctive. There’s not much choice, with only a few brands focusing on producing good-quality chicory coffee.
If you want 100% pure chicory, Prewett’s is a good choice. It is 100% organic, and has a mild flavour – this is great if you want to avoid sweeteners or sugar in your coffee. It may be slightly more difficult to get hold of as it comes from the UK, but it’s good if you’re trying to go organic with your food and drink.
However, our pick for today has to be French Market Chicory Coffee. We like the history behind the company and the fact that their beans are roasted in small batches. We also like the amount of choice in terms of strength and flavour. We think it’s a great introduction to the world of chicory coffee, so it’s particularly well-suited to those who have never tried it before. If you want great-tasting coffee mixed with chicory to cut down on your caffeine, it’s a really good choice.
We hope this has helped you to find the best chicory coffee! If you want more advice from our coffee-enthusiasts, try our guide to the Best Illy Espresso Machines, or the Best Nespresso Capsules for Latte.