Chicory was widely used as a coffee substitute during times when coffee
beans were scarce or unavailable. The Civil War immediately comes to mind.
The following little ditty from Sean Paajanen might help J'Chub digest the
point you have been trying to make:
"Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a hardy perennial that was brought to North
America from Europe in the 1700s, and is now well-established across the
continent. Though chicory has a variety of uses, it's best known for its
association with coffee.
At many points through history, coffee has become unavailable or too
costly. During these times, people have often turned to roasted chicory as
a substitute. Folks also used to make coffee from roasted acorns, yams and
a variety of local grains. Anything was better than going without!
The root of the chicory plant is long and thick, like the tap-root of the
dandelion. When dried, roasted and ground, it makes an excellent substitute
for coffee. There is no caffeine in chicory, and it produces a more
'roasted' flavour than coffee does. Many coffee producers offer blends with
up to 30% chicory, which cuts down on the caffeine content of your cup. But
many folk enjoy a cup of 'coffee' made entirely from ground, roasted
Another perk about chicory is that it's more soluable in water than coffee,
which means you use a lot less of it when brewing. Very economical for
someone on a tight budget.
Chicory also offers extra health benefits that you wouldn't normally get
from your cup of coffee. It is reported to help cleanse the blood and
improve the health of your liver.
The young leaves can be used in salads, and the root can also be boiled and
eaten like a vegetable (it's related to endive and radicchio). It's also
grown for cattle food in Europe. The flowers are blue-purple, and will open
and close at precisely the same time every day."
This is how it works in my house. Click the pic to enlarge it:
Coffee doesn't grow in Europe. During WW2, supplies of exotic
non-essential imports such as coffee, became very scarce. Chicory, and
dandelion root, were commonly used as a cheap and locally available
There IS no coffee substitute. Anyone who loves coffee or describes
themselves as a "coffee junkie" will never be satisfied with anything
but the real deal. Chicory is interesting... so are all sorts of teas,
herbal and otherwise, but when push comes to shove, if you want
coffee, nothing else will substitute. Chicory is added to coffee
(something that started with slaves to stretch out what they had, if I
remember right) to make it go further, at the expense of the flavor of
a good cup. Even robusto coffee sucks ass, and it sells for about a
dollar a pound green, but I see it advertised all the time like it's
some great thing to drink. Dandelion and chicory are about as good of
a coffee substitute as orange soda.
If by "down here" you mean Austin, TX, I buy my coffee in pound cans
by the case at Hong Kong Market on Research Blvd. aka 183. I pay
under four dollars a can. We've tried the Community Coffee brand and
didn't like it. They also sell vacuum bags of what they call CDM
which is actually Cafe du Monde coffee with chickory. I think I'll go
make a pot.
Living close to the chickory capital of the world, I must say that
chickory is nasty, more bitter than coffee, the only reason it was
proclaimed a substitute to coffee is because people were absolutely
desperate for their coffee fix. But that is only my Not So Humble
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