Chicory Coffee Offers More Flavor and Less Caffeine
French Immigrants Brought Chicory Coffee to New Orleans in the 1700′s as Coffee Alternative
On almost every major grocer’s shelf in America you can usually find a chicory coffee as an option, but if you’ve never visited New Orleans or don’t happen to be French, you may not realize that American’s have been drinking coffee with roasted chicory root since the mid-1700′s.
Chicory is an herbaceous plant that is cultivated for salad leaves and many Americans know chicory, the plant, as curly or Belgium Endive. There are many varieties but most often it as sold as radicchio, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf or witloof.
But the roots of those plants were found to have value during the French Civil War when coffee was so scarce that they roasted the chicory roots to stretch the amount of coffee rationed. The result was added body and a flavor that softened dark bitter roasts and enhanced lighter roasts.
There is no caffeine in chicory and it’s more water soluble than coffee so you can use less when brewing, and most agree that any addition of chicory in your blend is a healthier cup than coffee.
But unless you are in New Orleans or in a Quebec cafe you won’t find a chicory blend as an choice at your local coffee shop. The “Big Easy” is the place where tourists most often experience Chicory Coffee and throughout New Orleans French Market including the popular Cafe’ Du Monde, Chicory Coffee is served in varied house blends.
There is no doubt that the Beignets at Cafe Du Monde is the main reason that the line forms early outside the world famous ‘must see’ coffee shop in New Orleans. But every cup can be a proprietary roast and each blend is brewed to give a distinctive flavor profile, and when ‘French pressed’ the coffee becomes darker and the flavor even richer.
At Cafe’ Du Monde Coffee and Chicory is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk. The Beignet, a square French-style doughnut that is generously dusted with powered sugar typically accompanies the Cafe Au Lait and it is the most popular combination and served 24 hours a day and seven days a week….364 days a week.
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