Chicory coffee, a rural tradition that promotes good health
Thanks to the pleasant taste and numerous health properties, chicory coffee is an excellent alternative to traditional coffee. Where to buy and how to make chicory coffee, a drink that suits any time of day.
Ok, it’s got to be said. The name might sound a little unnerving, especially for those who have never tried it. In fact, chicory coffee has ancient origins and in recent years, a growing number of people have come to enjoy it.
What does chicory coffee taste like? It has a pleasant taste and a bitter after-taste, similar to that of the more classic espresso.
Is chicory coffee caffeine free? Chicory coffee doesn’t contain caffeine and its “sweetened” version, with added milk, is also suitable for children.
History of chicory coffee
Chicory or Chicorium intybus is a herb very common to the Italian countryside. Since time immemorial, it has been harvested in the autumn and used as an ingredient. The cooking use of chicory is typical of rural tradition: its bitter leaves can be cooked like spinach, boiled and seasoned with salt, oil and lemon, or used as a filling in savoury pies. Its root can be dried, toasted and reduced to powder to make infusions, decoctions and … a very special coffee.
At one time, chicory coffee was a sort of fall-back for our grandparents, who couldn’t afford the expensive and sought-after coffee beans. A tasty alternative affordable to everyone, the notes of toasted chicory permeate the home when boiled on a wood-burning stove.
Today, chicory coffee has lost its “proletarian” label of old. Thanks to its beneficial properties, it has been rediscovered and can be easily found in herbalist shops, organic food shops and a number of supermarkets.
How is chicory root coffee prepared? In three ways. Let’s find out together.
Chicory root coffee recipe
With a moka pot – Just pour the ground chicory into the moka pot. Just like normal coffee, so you can still enjoy the classic ritual.
Boiled chicory – The old-fashioned method: boil the equivalent of a cup of water with a teaspoon of chicory grains for about three minutes. Then take off the heat, filter and … the coffee is ready.
As an infusion – Single-dose chicory sachets are very practical, just let it dissolve in a glass or a cup of hot water for a good coffee.
Chicory coffee can be sweetened with a little sugar, honey or natural syrup. Agave and maple are particularly suitable.
Is chicory coffee good for you?
Chicory coffee benefits
Besides being rich in antioxidants and anti-ageing free radicals, chicory root contains magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, inulin, potassium and vitamins C, P and K. All these elements give chicory coffee important beneficial properties.
For the digestion – Chicory coffee stimulates gastric secretion, so after eating it improves digestion, especially the fats in meat and fish.
For the intestine – Inulin improves the intestinal functions, nourishing the bacterial flora which are essential to defending the digestive system from attacks by viruses, bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms. Chicory also improves intestinal flow in people suffering from constipation.
For the liver – The substances contained in the chicory root have a stimulating and detoxifying action in the liver, promoting the elimination of toxins from the blood and, therefore, from the whole body.
For the blood sugar – The fibres contained in chicory help to keep blood glucose concentration under control. This is why this coffee is recommended for those suffering from diabetes and hyperglycaemia.
People who are hypersensitive to caffeine can safely drink chicory coffee without running any risk.
Chicory coffee side effects
It should be avoided during pregnancy, as with all foods containing chicory, because the substances contained in the plant could stimulate contractions of the uterus.
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