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77 responses to “How to Make Chicory Coffee from Scratch”

  1. Garrett

    I remember that beasty root. Also, very nice pictures – they have all the drama you could want. Great post. =)

  2. MK

    My family is from India, and virtually every one of the billion people on that subcontinent drinks coffee laced with chicory—and loaded with milk and sugar. (The brand of choice is Bru, which I’m sure doesn’t compare to the home-grown chicory variety you describe in such delicious detail, but it’s pretty good, at least for the amateur tastebud.) I always loved the coffee there, and didn’t figure out for awhile what the “magic” ingredient was that made it taste so different from the typical Starbucks latte. Three cheers for chicory!

  3. kindred spirit

    How about as a dry rub?

  4. Elise

    Oh, I would love to try some of that!

  5. Ryan

    Sweet Maria’s sells high quality chicory root, I got addicted to the stuff after trying the New Orleans Style coffee from Blue Bottle in SF.

  6. Nick

    Wow, Hank! I have never heard of this, and is probably one of the most interesting ideas i have heard, pertaining to food. Can you use any type of root, first one that comes to mind is parsnip. I think I may just try this, parsnip seems like something that may carry a similar flavor profile. Let me know your thoughts.

  7. ntsc

    Never had Postum but do remember it.

    Chicory was used in the south during the civil war blockades as a coffee substitute.

  8. ntsc

    Comment continued after computer decided IT wanted to post.

    Grind it with a meat grinder with fine die, then a coffee grinder. You are looking for surface area.

  9. coriander

    Where did you get your root chicory seeds? I always mean to get out there in the fall and dig chicory roots, but I never get around to it. I’ve also heard that you can roast the seeds of that sticky weed, cleavers, to make a coffee substitute but it seems like you’d need quite a bit more than grows around my place.

  10. molly

    i’m so planting chicory root seeds this autumn. can’t wait to grow some hair on my chest next year at this time.

  11. Mrs. L

    Can one get bored with coffee? I know I am. I’ve heard of Chicory coffee before but had no idea you could grow your own root and make it.

  12. Andrew

    Hank: chicory laced coffee reminds me of the summer I spent building roads in northern France (not at all romantic, sadly). See if you can dig up a nice recipe for brioche and those’ll pretty much be the gastronomic highlights from that summer.


  13. Kevin

    ‘Alternative coffees’ have piqued my interest lately – so I’m glad you tried it. Sounds like it may be worth the bother.

  14. Lance

    We process 30 tons of chicory per day for coffee production and it really is good stuff. Here is some info you might find interesting related just to the root as that is what we deal with.

    Chicory Root is considered a fine liver, gallbladder and spleen tonic. The herb is called a “cholagogue” or substance that promotes the production of bile and stimulates its flow from the gallbladder and bile ducts, and as such, is said to help purify blood and cleanse the liver and gallbladder …

    The bitter principle in Chicory Root is believed to be beneficial for the glandular organs of the digestive system. The root is said to neutralize acid and correct acid indigestion, heartburn, gastritis, vomiting, upset stomach and lack of appetite, and Chicory Root has been approved by the German Commission E as a remedy for poor appetite and dyspepsia …

    … Those with a very high fat diet experienced a remarkable decrease in blood cholesterol levels in time after taking Chicory Root, which may prove very helpful in cases of hardening of the arteries … The herb has a diuretic action that increases and promotes the flow of urine, which helps to cleanse the kidneys of toxins and remove them from the body.

    It has been used to remove gravel, calcium deposits, and excess uric acid from the body, which helps to prevent gout and kidney stones … In addition, it has been used in poultices to reduce the inflammation of rheumatism and the pain of stiff and sore joints … Hope this was interesting to you all.


    Hey Lance, Normally I do not edit comments, but this was way too long for me to run as is. I hope I got the gist of what you had to say. ~Hank

  15. Rachel

    I usually just grind the roots in a blender, and then bake them at around 250 for several hours. Is there any advantage to grinding the roots after they are roasted?

    I love chicory, but I’m getting tired of digging it up in gravel along the roadside. Could you tell me where you got the chicory seed from?

  16. silfert

    Hey, just the info I was looking for! I might have to give chicory another try. May I mention your blog in my garden column? I think folks would love to read about it.

  17. Richard

    Plants produce seeds. If you want seeds Just wait until the chicory plant goes to seed then harvest the seeds and plant them. Suggest you plant them in a contained area as they can become invasive!!

  18. Antibubba

    I’m not looking to drink chicory straight–I like my daily dose of jumpy juice. But blending it in a coffee press sounds like a worthwhile experiment. The question is, what kind of coffee, as in origin and roast?

  19. Irene

    Today I finally found chicory again for my coffee. I last drank it regularly in the 1960s in South Africa as instant coffee (brand Presto) which we made with hot milk. I grew up on the stuff, as dad served it to all of us kids in bed as an incentive to rise and shine in the morning. A great way to start the day. We loved it.

    But the time came when it was PC to put your nose in the air on a hook, looking for “purity” and dump the yummy drink with chicory that gave such great feedback to your insides, and drink “pure 100 per cent ” – er – rotgut?
    But PURE rotgut:-)
    And so the chicory blends lost market share.

    I moved to USA in 1969 and never saw Presto again.

    Now today, when I am what my grandkids call positively prehistoric, (I was dumb enough to ask, as my kids are considered “very old”) I have re-discovered where to get the real thing to make my milky chicory-coffee.

    I suspect that is what is behind the invention of latte. I never heard of drinking it with water.
    Till now.



  20. Procyan

    I used to drink Lusianne “coffee with chicory
    “. The best cup came out of the freshly opened can. lovely spicey bitter bite and cheap for student on a budget. Burl Ives used to do the ads. The can was red. Let me go back in time!!!

    Now I am old and missing that drink. Perhaps you can clear up an old confusion. I know that in the usa the blue cornflower is the plant that folks use for chicory. But i am growing some chicory plants that my neighbor gave me because I said I wanted to make the drink from the root. She said it is also called witloof and they drink it in dutch africa and europe and all over. It looks like lettuce to me.

    So I am confusal about whats what, could anyone shed some light?

    Great blog by the way..

  21. Procyan

    Not sold in New Zealand, darn. But i did find a can of cafe du monde. could not be drunk…by me. my wife says she has seen cornflower growing here so now we have a quest. thanks for clearing up the mystery. now i’m stuck with a few dozen endive. too bitter for my delicate palate. Even our Jersey heifer turned up her nose, although she is more spoilt than even me!

    we shot some rabbits this pm. got any whiz bang ideas for a rabbit on the bar-b?

  22. Sharon

    Awesome blogs. Very informative. Enjoy your many comments from others. Creative writing skills are great. Thank you for the information. I was looking for a coffee substitute. Now I am sold on chicory.

  23. Vincent Summers

    An excellent -just an excellent- piece! I loved it, and your description of the roasting process.

  24. countryhunter

    where did u buy your chickory seeds cause i would like to get some to see if there is a difference between them and the wild roots i harvest in the fall in kentucky

  25. countryhunter

    thanks for the heads up man can u tell me where u bought the seeds

  26. Paula

    Thanks for the info, Hank! I got addicted to roasted Dandelion root “coffee” in my efforts to wean myself off of coffee, but good roasted dandelion root is expensive to buy (Frontier is $32 per lb!) and so small it is labor-intensive to find and harvest. Recently a friend of mine said that chicory was related to dandelion, and that the farm he worked at had so much extra chicory that they were throwing it on the compost! He called me tonight to ask how much I wanted, saying he could get 10 bushels for me if I wanted (?!!) so I thought, before I go and pick some up (I think one bushel will be enough ;), I wanted to have some idea of how to go about processing it once I had it. I think I will try slicing it in the food processor first, like your picture, roasting and then grinding. I’m looking forward to it!

  27. Paula

    Roasting the chicory roots at 250F took around 4 hours, roasting at 300 took closer to 3 hours, though I think I did not get the first batch as dark as yours. The “coffee” is interesting–it’s nice and bitter, which is what I wanted, but not nearly as malty as dandelion root coffee. I notice that some blends available commercial add things like beets and barley malt, so I may give that a try. It’s a keeper, though!

  28. Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee, New Orleans Style | bake me away!

    […] but I didn’t think to check while there.  If you want the real stuff, you can be like Hank Shaw and grow and roast your own.  Hello, badass!  He can also tell you loads more about the stuff, of […]

  29. olivia

    sexiest thing I’ve ever read by a man. period.

  30. Beth Robb

    Have been roasting my own coffee beans for awhile now and after a trip to “Norleans” and Cafe du Monde am going to try growing chicory and roasting it to add to my personal brand of coffee. I loved your info and pics.

  31. Rod

    Thanks for informative post,. I’m late to the thread but would mention that chicory leaf and endive are some of the most nutritious plants around. I prefer mine in soups and cooked dishes to remove bitterness.

  32. Christoph

    Great blog! I was happy to find information on how to prepare chicory “coffee” after my own attempt. I haven’t fallen in love with the stuff but after my readings here I will have to go for it again. For an urban dweller who hardly strays from a supermarket when in hunt of a snack, preparing chicory definitely caused a reassessment of food in general and tubers in particular.

  33. charlie

    best post on roasting chicory I have found yet. As you noted, there are a lot of posts that sound like someone wasnt sure what they were doing or never actually roasted the roots. thank you for frank and engaging information!

  34. Alyssa

    Thanks so much Hank for the info. I’ve been admiring these beautiful flowers for years not knowing what they were until my mom told me last summer while picking blackberries in the cow pasture. I’ve been curious about harvesting them, but wasn’t sure when the proper time was to harvest the root. I had no idea you could eat the root, leaves and use the whole stinkin’ plant! I do remember Postum and loved it! Can I just harvest the wild roots? I thought about maybe trying to collect some of the seeds, but when do they go to seed? And how to recognize them amongst the weeds? If nothing else, I might just order some seeds, if I can.

  35. sue

    Because I am sensitive to caffeine I was using Teecino ( a blend of roasted barley, chicory, carob,dates, almond, ect….) and I really enjoyed all the different flavors it comes in. Then I found out I am gluten sensitive and the barley was causing problems. I tried to find roasted chicory and carob online (to make my own barley free mix) and found that Frontier Natural Products Co-Op carries both and so much more. The quality is rich and aromatic. I fill a pint size container with a mix of the chicory and carob and freeze the rest. It’s been 6 months since I bought the original bags and they still taste as fresh as when they first arrived on my porch.

  36. Nate

    Thank you for the info. Beautifully written!

  37. aw

    I’ve been meaning to try it since coffee is so darn expensive and we have some chicory in our garden, so it’s time to take the next step. Thanks.

  38. armillaria

    what olivia said. i’m going to try this this week i think. :)

  39. Essie Jay

    I’m currently growing chicory purchased from “Seeds Of Italy”. They grew exceptionally large and fat. On searching to find info on how to process them, found your blog. Very interesting info.

    I grew up on Lusianne’s Coffee and Chicory, and honestly was an adult before I learned that coffee could be a drink by itself. I drank Postum for many years afterward until it was no longer available on store shelves.
    In order to cut the bitter edge, I plan on roasting wheat berries and combining them with the chicory roots. If I remember correctly, Postum was a combination of roasted wheat and bran added to the chicory root. It made for a mild, better tasting brew.

  40. Karin Passmore

    Hi Hank, Thank you so much for describing the process.
    I got chicory by the roadside in New England and just scattered the old flowers into my sunny garden. The plants came up, but i waited a few years before harvesting in case there were road toxins in them… I’ve made coffee from Wild Carrot root, Queen Anne’s Lace root… Love it. Karin

  41. Erin S.

    Hi Hank,
    I first experienced chicory coffee in South Africa (studying there) I haven’t been able to find it pre-blended here in Indiana. When I found some chicory root at the local farmers co-op I picked some up. I found your site looking for instructions on what to do with the stuff. Thank you for actually having practical instructions that make sense!
    So now I get to enjoy great, fresh chicory coffee, and I’ve found a great new website for recipes! Double bonus!

  42. Ingrid Lindsay

    Hi, Can anyone tell me if chicory is grown in New Zealand
    I’d buy roots off a farmer – if not where can I get seeds
    to plant in my garden – is chicory root different to endive?
    Endive is a vegetable I can get those seeds but they are not
    a wildflower with a blue flower.

  43. Rosenfeld

    fantastic description of this interesting subject. I read in a write up dated 1874, that the chicory was treated with oil or fat prior (?) to roasting. Just wondering if anyone had information on this.

  44. Jooliree

    We make dandelion coffee by a similar process. The roots are washed and dried a bit, chopped finely then roasted for hours in a moderate oven ( we also leave them all night when the wood-burning stove is idling through the night) then grind . We also get the uneven grind you describe, but this is fine in a cafetiere or french press.

  45. Katie

    I have a follow up question…before I go and get seeds. Would you do it again? Was it worth it? I would grow it for coffee because I too miss NOLA’s coffee. I would most likely mix it with my favorite coffee & not go straight. Mixed with coffee, does it bring you back to New Orleans?

  46. Greg

    I want to see if I can get some seeds and grow it at my place in Mexico. What was the type of seed you bought? What did it look like?



  47. John Lockley

    seems like you get your dinner as well as your cup of coffee with this plant. seems to grow alright in Tasmania, but loves the cold. Going to see how i go when it comes to the taste test.

  48. chicory: the un-coffee | being

    […] identifying it, I read up on some ‘how to use‘ information regarding chicory. Turns out, its relatively easy to prepare the root for […]

  49. Brenda Gluck

    I have chicory growing wild everywhere in my yard. Wanted to have some yard back before fall. If I cut chicory now (early August) can I still dig up roots in fall?

  50. Whimsical Coffee Swaps | Blackle Mag

    […] Roasted chicory root is a common addition to commercial coffees and delicacies alike. In New Orleans, chicory is often added to coffee due to its chocolaty tones and smooth texture. Chicory root is also a common coffee substitute in prisons, as the lack of caffeine is thought to reduce the ‘risk’ of riling up inmates. […]

  51. Elle Wayne

    Good Morning Hank, I read and enjoyed your post very much. I am currently working on building an organic garden and however my space is limited, I am looking for Chicory root seeds with good quality. Where do you recommend I go to find the good seeds? Thank you for reading this, have a great chicory morning! Elle

  52. Greener Goods

    I read your post the first time I roasted chicory, back a couple years ago.

    I had only had Cafe Du Monde from New Orleans coffee, but I started roasting my own green coffee beans years ago, and this seemed like a suitable step.

    Never one to forage our county’s sprayed-roadsides, we never had chicory in our yard until we had a really hot, dry summer following a warm, wet spring. Suddenly, chicory was everywhere, I was elated!

    it’s been moderately warm here, and a little dry, so for about a month I’ve been watching a few plants that reappeared in our front yard. Like the young trees I planted this spring, I gave the chicory nursery a protective straw surround so my husband wouldn’t mow them down.

    Today, they’re over a foot tall, so I decided to pull some. I pour some warm water over the root. My roots look NOTHING as big as yours–mine are more the size of dandelion roots here. But, I did get one a foot long, and a few plants. Good enough for a few pots of coffee, or 10-15 cups of single-brew.

    Anyway, my chicory is roasting in the oven now. I’d love to know where you bought your chicory root seeds! I don’t see any seeds, but am guessing I’d find them in the flower, but I really don’t see any when I looked. Guessing I have to plant from actual seed like you did.

    Many thanks for your post. I like your writing style and your description. Your “chicory-discs” make me jealous–they remind me of sliced succulent ginger root!
    Oh, to have chicory like your photos.

    If you don’t mind sharing where you bought your seeds, that is great.

    Now I’m off click your link on scorzonera. Never heard of it.

  53. Donna Putney

    Chicory roots are best harvested after they are frosted in the first season. I love the taste, and it has many health benefits; particularly for the liver. One can never go wrong growing and partaking of one’s own foods and beverages. Besides the obvious savings at the grocery store, every good herb eaten adds to one’s health savings bank. The wild chicory that grows everywhere makes large roots and are fine for harvesting. Gather seed in the summer and scatter where you want it to come up in the spring. Chicory is a very close cousin to the dandelion, and also to radicchio. Enjoy the health benefits of the whole family in salads and as dried roots.

  54. LISS

    Believe it or not, I live where chicory does not grow wild, so I planted it in my kitchen garden. I might have to re-think that, though, now that I know about your 20 inch long roots…..I’m going to need a bigger pot. :-)
    Can’t wait to roast the root and try chicory coffee-thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!

  55. Cheryl

    SEED on Ebay all the time! and alot of other unavailable or can’t find seed too!

  56. maria wilson

    I use to drink this coffee when I was young and was a delicious coffee to me .My mom use to make it almost every day and put milk and sugar in it .Has no caffeine in it .

  57. Witches’ Wildflowers: Dandelion |

    […] can be eaten like a vegetable. Roasted dandelion root is a good substitute for coffee. Here is a Recipe using the root. Flowers: Mild and slightly sweet. The flowers can be picked and eaten straight off […]

  58. TB

    I stumbled upon this post while searching for info on dandelion root. Love your candor and humor, along with the helpful tips.

  59. Barbara

    I get my chicory seed from, Franchi Seeds of Italy. They grow just fine in Vermont.

  60. CW

    Thank you so much for your detailed posting. In spring of 2013 I planted dozens of seeds that I acquired through a seed swap, but got busy with my house construction and couldn’t remember what I had done. One mysterious plant survived drought, wind, and winter. So I planted these little rascals and then could not for the life of me figure out what they were. Lettuce, but not lettuce. Maybe chicory? But I couldn’t find pictures on the net. It’s now bolting and I was simply going to pull it all out to make space for something else and leave one to flower, so I could try to identify it. I just found your posting and YES! this is it!! I can’t wait until the fall when I can roast the whole lot. Gratefully!! Thank you.

  61. Tracy

    Hi Hank, really enjoyed reading this post! We are about to plant our chicory seeds, but I can’t find sound advice… on the internet… you know what I’m talking about… Can you tell me what your seed depth and spacing is when planting? I read 2″ deep, 12″ spacing somewhere but that doesn’t seem very efficient, or sane. Thanks!

  62. Dave

    Where can I get my hands on those roots? I’d like them fresh & hopefully near Chicago?

  63. rebecca

    Found good information about planting chicory on some deer management sites. Planted seeds on one of our food plots. Wanted to feed deer and try making coffee

  64. Mike

    I, too, was wondering what are the best varieties and if seeds of improved varieties of chicory could be purchased. I know that wild types may be smaller, tougher, more bitter, etc.
    I have found that most varieties have been developed for leaves as salad greens or cooked vegetables. But a few notable varieties exist for root production. Chicorium i. var “Soncino” and Chicorium i. var “Magdeburg” are long time favorites for their large, long roots. It looks like parsnip. Chicorium i. var “Brussels” is a variety that was developed from a large rooted ancestor called “Barbante” It is the one whose tops are commonly sold as blanched endive or witloof in the supermarket. The Brussels variety is the most readily available seed in the U.S. The Soncino variety follows.

  65. Cris

    I should probably tell you that you are responsible for one beautiful smelling day at my house last fall and many scrumptious mornings. I share this link more than any other on the entire web! Thanks!

  66. jeff

    On our place in montana these rascals are a pain.They trive and left alone soon make a hay bale full of sticks. Funny enough cows & horses seem to gobble them up as no sticks are left.Reading westerns as I do chicory drink is often said used for coffee,thus my interest in the process its done. Thanks Jeff, Hot Springs Mt.

  67. William Smith

    Can you grow chicory in the shade in a Mediterranean climate (southern Calfornia)?

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