Ah, coffee. Whether it's a wake-up cup of hot, strong black coffee in the morning, or a frozen coffee drink as an afternoon pick-up, coffee is one of my greatest simple pleasures.
But have you noticed the controversy surrounding coffee? “Coffee is good for you, it has antioxidants in it! Coffee is bad for you, it has caffeine in it! Drink bulletproof coffee! Don't drink bulletproof coffee!”
Personally, I'm fine with drinking a cup of organic, fair-trade coffee each morning and perhaps another in the afternoon. I usually take my coffee black, and I even prefer my frozen or cold coffee drinks unsweetened, so creamers and the like aren't a temptation for me, which I feel helps to keep my indulgence on the healthier side of things.
However, I've noticed that on the days I reach for that third or fourth cup, my body starts protesting with a headache, achy knees, and poor sleep. Usually, if I start to experience those side effects, I'll cut back on my coffee consumption in the following few days and replace my morning cup with some herbal tea instead.
Recently, a friend of mine — who enjoys coffee just as much as I do — purchased roasted chicory root and shared a taste with me. Chicory has long been used as a coffee substitute. Either by itself or in a blend with other herbs such as dandelion, beets, and roasted grains. Or, it's mixed in with ground coffee beans to stretch the coffee farther. I was very surprised at how much it tastes like coffee! Of course, it doesn't taste exactly like coffee, but the difference in flavor is slight, and I found it quite enjoyable.
Tasting good isn't the only thing in chicory's favor. Like many plants and herbs, it also offers health benefits. It supports digestion, contains lots of antioxidants, is high in vitamin C, and it helps to gently cleanse and support your liver. Yay for herbs!
I ordered some roasted chicory root for myself. I've found it works really well in frozen, blended frappe-type drinks. Below is a frozen drink recipe I'm calling the Frozen Mocha Chicoccino. Made with a brew of roasted chicory root, ice, raw milk or your favorite dairy substitute, roasted cacao powder, and a bit of rapadura sugar, then topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and some cacao nibs, this cold drink makes a great summer afternoon treat!
Frozen Mocha Chicoccino
- 2 teaspoons roasted chicory root
- 1 cup pure water boiling
- 1 cup raw whole milk cow, goat, or 1 cup homemade nut milk* or coconut milk
- 1 to 2 cups ice cubes made from pure water
- 1 tablespoon roasted cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons rapadura **
- whipped cream homemade, optional
- roasted cacao nibs optional
- stainless steel drinking straw optional
Steep roasted chicory root in boiling water for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
In a blender, combine chicory, milk, ice, cacao powder, and sugar.
Process until smooth. Pour into a glass (or jar!) and top with whipped cream and cacao nibs, if desired.
*Make your own nut milk. Instructions here.
**Because I don't really care for sweetened coffee, the amount of sugar, and thus the resulting amount of sweetness in the drink, is very light. I included just enough sugar in mine to take any bitter edge away from the chicory, but you may need to adjust the amount to suit your tastes. You could also use stevia in place of the sugar if you wish.
Of course, you can also use the roasted chicory root brew in place of coffee in any similar type recipe - and you can certainly use coffee in place of chicory in this one!
Do you like coffee? Have you ever tried any herbal coffee substitutes? Tell us in the comments!
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