Tuesday, April 23, 2013

chicory latte

This post brought to you free of caffeine, coffee, dairy, and sugar.  You're welcome.

Cichorium intybus or "Common Chicory" is that cheery blue-purple flower that grows alongside all the highways in the Midwest.  Turns out most parts of it are edible (chicory leaf salad, anyone?), including the roots, which are dried, roasted, and ground to make a coffee mix-in or substitute.  Chicory-coffee mixtures gained popularity down in Louisiana and in generally less affluent areas, when straight coffee beans were too expensive.  You can find mixtures like this in grocery stores and in New Orleans, since chicory doesn't have the same bitterness that coffee does.  

When I went off of coffee and caffeine because I wanted to avoid blood sugar spikes, I started looking into substitutes.  Now, chicory doesn't smell like coffee, and it's not bitter when brewed, but it looks like coffee, and it allowed me to continue my ritualistic latte-making, which was exactly three-quarters of the fun of coffee....  But a quick warning: it could be an herbal abortifacient.  

Here's how I make a chicory latte using my espresso machine...

  • chicory granules (I use these and one bag will last you forever)
  • unsweetened non-dairy milk of some sort (I usually use almond or soy, since rice-milk foams like water, which is to say, not at all)
  • stevia powder
  • a dusting of cinnamon

Use about 1 tsp chicory granules for a large latte or two smaller lattes.  Turn on your machine and while it's heating up to steam, prep your milk.  I use this cup, about 1/2 cup milk, and I add my stevia straight into the milk before steaming.  Froth your milk and set it aside, switching the espresso machine to the brewing setting.  Draw your chicory coffee. (It should look like this...)

Combine the two into a mug, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and you've got it!  

Do you drink chicory?  Let me know if you try out this recipe!