The Chicory-Coffee Trend
I was shocked by the massive switch from coffee to chicory root drinks when I visited Morocco two weeks ago. Even more so that some people I considered total coffee addicts embarked on the trend train. When I found three different brands of chicory and only one of coffee in my mother’s pantry, I knew things were serious. I had to find out what the deal was. I had no idea chicory root could be made into a drink. My mother had a box of the soluble instant kind so I gave it a try, though reluctantly. I made my first cup plain then my second one mixed with milk just to see how it compares to coffee. It was very similar! If no one had told me I was drinking chicory I would have thought it was simply a mild tasting coffee.
Now that I was a less skeptical, more open to the idea of drinking this new and unusual brew, I asked Mother all kinds of questions about it. She said that she had been drinking it for several years now (where have I been!)and that her personal reasons for switching to chicory were mainly because it is caffeine free and has all sorts of health benefits. She added that it was not new at all and that in her childhood, her mother used to make “chicory coffee” on a regular basis and save coffee for special occasions.
Chicory drinks are made from chicory root–which looks like a large parsnip, torrefied and ground to what looks and tastes like coffee. It is said to be excellent for the heart, joints and digestive system. It is becoming very popular in European countries as well, where the trend probably started. Brands such as Ricoré by Nestlé sell chicory drinks in powdered form. Some are pure chicory root, others are a combination of coffee and chicory (usually 60% chicory, 40% coffee)or cocoa powder and chicory.