Offer someone coffee with chicory in it, chances are they’ll politely refuse.
Unless they live in New Orleans.
The history of adding chicory to coffee goes back to Napoleonic times in France, when Napoleon imposed the 'Continental Blockade', blocking most imports of coffee into the country.
In other words, people added chicory to their coffee as a filler. They did it out of necessity, more or less.
But over time people developed a taste for the blend, and that taste crossed the Atlantic to areas of French influence overseas, like New Orleans.
Jump forward a couple of hundred years, and that taste has seeped into the culture of Louisiana and New Orleans in particular.
Which brings us to Community Coffee, a Louisiana-based coffee roaster, and the bag of coffee and chicory they sent us recently.
This is a bag of ground coffee, with roasted chicory included in the mix.
We made a brew in our trusty Bonavita drip brewer, and left it to rest for a few minutes.
First things first - my wife, and fellow taster, absolutely hated it!
Myself, I quite liked it. Not to drink all the time, but to enjoy occasionally.
I think I was more receptive to the taste because I once lived on a farm and used to grow chicory, blend it with dandelion root, and make my own coffee substitute. So I was ready for the taste, and familiar with it.
That’s probably the key to it. If you live in New Orleans and were introduced to coffee and chicory as soon as you first started drinking coffee, the taste is familiar and “feels like home”.
If not, it’s something you have to get used to.
As for the taste, the chicory adds a boldness to the coffee, and an earthy and slightly bitter overtone.
All I can say is that if you have an adventurous spirit and want to experience something different, coffee and chicory is something you might want to try.
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About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…