When I think of chicory, I think of my favorite western TV shows and movies. Why? Well there wasn’t always a good supply of coffee out on the dusty trail, so chicory would be brewed as a substitute. Chicory and coffee have a long history together, with chicory stretching or replacing coffee when the latter is hard to come by, from Napoleonic France to the American Civil War. After these coffee-sparse times, some cultures developed a taste for chicory and still brew it alongside or with their coffee today.
I got a chance to try a cup of Wild Chicory Joe from the Tea Spot. I’m both a coffee fan and a tea lover, so I can appreciate both sides of this story.
Wild Chicory Joe brewed up super fast, as quick and dark as coffee. The brew was immediately full and fragrant, smelling like savory toasted grains or roasted nuts, over an undertone of more bitter, dirt-road earthiness. The first sip was a bit daunting: it’s not coffee, it’s not tea, and my taste buds were not sure what to expect. As I moved onto a second and third and fourth sip, the flavor grew on me. Beyond the roasted notes, there were flavors like caramel and malt, and a touch of true coffee on the aftertaste.
I could understand how chicory got its start as a coffee replacement. This brew is dark and bitter, but with a touch of the bright, citrus notes you find in a blond coffee roast. Unlike coffee, the chicory isn’t oily, instead it brews up with a smooth mouthfeel and a more herbal flavor.
Maybe I’m channeling my favorite westerns, but this cup is distinctly masculine, with nothing floral or astringent, just deep, bold, bitter – pow! All that said, the chicory does mellow out with some milk and sweetener so you can mix it like your favorite coffee or tea. And since the chicory is decaf, you can make a latte at any time of day or night.
If you’re looking to switch from coffee to chicory, this won’t be an easy transition, the chicory isn’t a perfect coffee replacement (not to mention, you’ll be craving the caffeine). But if you’re bored with your tea or need a break from your coffee, Wild Chicory Joe will be a fascinating cup to try. A cup of chicory might just be the perfect accessory to have on hand when watching your favorite western or reading your favorite wild west novel. Happy trails!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Hold onto your hats, coffee lovers! This natural coffee replacement is so darn delicious, you won’t believe your taste buds. Our Wild Chicory Joe brews into a boldly deep herbal tea that masquerades as a strong-brewed cowboy coffee, without any acidity. The roasted chicory root creates a dark espresso base while the chocolate barley malt adds cocoa notes and the fennel adds a little sweetness. Drink it straight or as the bold caffeine-free base for a latte. You might even trick some coffee fanatics into enjoying this cup of herbal tea. Giddy-up and grab some Joe!