Ah, the joys of coffee.

Coffee is wonderful in so many ways.  A steaming cup of it makes cold winter mornings infinitely more bearable, brings friends together for socializing in cozy coffee shops the world over, and delights the senses of smell and taste, but it also packs quite a punch of caffeine.  For some people, this means uncomfortable jitteriness, dehydration, insomnia, and other undesirable side effects.   Well, don’t give up on America’s favorite beverage just yet, because there’s a way to dial down the caffeine without giving up your favorite brew in lieu of those less-than-satisfying decaf varieties.

Yay Chicory root!

Blending your favorite coffee with chicory root (the roasted, granulated roots of the endive plant) will dilute the caffeine content of your coffee and give it a delicious taste and smooth texture.   So it’s great for people who are trying to lower their caffeine intake.

History:

Around the 1700’s, French Canadians brought the practice of mixing chicory and coffee with them when they immigrated to the U.S. state of Louisiana, where it’s a popular way to prepare coffee to this day.  Additionally, chicory coffee is common in countries like India and South Africa.  Sometimes it’s even brewed as a coffee substitute. 

Here’s how to make your own Coffee and Chicory blend:

Grab a bowl or airtight plastic container and add 2 parts your favorite ground coffee and one part roasted chicory root and mix to combine.  The “part” could be a scoop, a cup, or whatever amounts you want to make the batch in, although I suggest making small batches to begin and tinkering with the ratio of chicory to coffee until it suits your tastes before mixing a larger amount.

IMPORTANT:  When you brew your chicory coffee, you will need about half as many scoops of your chicory and coffee blend as you usually use of regular coffee (this hold true for coffee makers as well as French presses).  The chicory adds quite a bit of flavor, so it’s easy to make it too strong.  Again, you must adjust the amount you use to your preference.  (There is a benefit to this:  you save money on coffee!)

Where to find roasted chicory root:

Chicory root is often sold beside tea and coffee in health food stores.  It can also be purchased on the internet.  It’s often called “granulated chicory root”.  Don’t go for the finely powdered varieties sometimes found on the internet.

What if I don’t want to mix my own chicory and coffee blends?

Coffees can be purchased that are already mixed with chicory.  Brands that carry coffee and chicory mixes include Café du Monde and Community Coffee, and can be purchased in grocery stores and health food stores as well as online.

So put that in your coffee pot and brew it!