Chicory Coffee: A Healthy Alternative to Coffee? (2023)

With its woody flavor and nutty aroma, chicory coffee has recently become a must-have in my morning routine.

You can not only use it as a tasty, caffeine-free alternative to coffee but also mix it with coffee grounds to upgrade your breakfast brew.

Made from roasted chicory root instead of coffee beans, chicory coffee is often considered a New Orleans staple. It’s also commonly enjoyed in many other areas around the globe, including France and India.

Although chicory coffee has been linked to several health benefits, it could also cause adverse side effects in some people.

This article takes an in-depth look at the evidence to determine whether chicory coffee is good for you.

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Chicory is a flowering plant in the dandelion family. It’s characterized by a tough, hairy stem, light purple flowers, and leaves that are commonly used in salads.

Chicory coffee is made by roasting, grinding, and brewing the roots of the chicory plant. It tastes similar to coffee, featuring a flavor that’s often described as slightly earthy and nutty.

It’s used either on its own or mixed with coffee to complement its flavor.

Although the history of chicory coffee is not entirely clear, it’s believed to have originated in the 1800s in France during a coffee shortage. Looking for a substitute or to stretch out coffee beans, people began mixing chicory roots into their coffee to get their coffee fix.

Years later, during the Civil War, it also became popular in New Orleans when the city experienced a coffee shortage after Union naval blockades cut off one of their ports.

Today, chicory coffee can still be found in many parts of the world and is often used as a caffeine-free alternative to regular coffee.


Chicory coffee is a drink made from roasted, gound, and brewed chicory root. It’s believed to have first been used during a coffee shortage in France in the 1800s, but it remains popular around the world today.

Chicory root is the primary ingredient in chicory coffee.

To make it, raw chicory root is minced, roasted, and brewed into coffee.

Although the amounts vary, it’s generally recommended to use about 2 tablespoons (11 grams) of ground chicory root per 1 cup (237 mL) of water.

One raw chicory root (60 grams) contains the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 43
  • Protein: 0.8 grams
  • Carbs: 10.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Manganese: 6% of the DV
  • Folate: 4% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 3% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 3% of the DV

Chicory root is a good source of inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber that may support weight loss and improve gut health (2, 3).

It also contains some manganese and vitamin B6, two nutrients tied to brain health (4, 5).

Keep in mind that the amounts of these nutrients in chicory coffee are fairly low, as only a small amount of chicory root is brewed into the drink.


Chicory coffee is made from minced and roasted chicory root. It provides inulin fiber, manganese, and vitamin B6.

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Chicory root is a good source of fiber, which may improve several aspects of your digestive health.

For example, it may support the health of your gut microbiome, which is believed to be strongly connected to health and disease (6).

This is because chicory root contains inulin fiber, a type of prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Several studies have shown that supplementing with inulin could increase the concentration of certain strains of healthy bacteria in the colon (3, 7).

(Video) CHICORY COFFEE - The best health coffee alternative

Studies also show that chicory may improve bowel function and reduce constipation.

One 2017 study had 44 people with constipation take chicory inulin supplements for 4 weeks. Compared with a placebo, it was found to increase stool frequency and softness, thereby improving constipation (8).

In another small study, drinking 10 ounces (300 mL) of chicory root extract daily for 4 weeks significantly improved bowel regularity compared with a control group (9).


Some studies have shown that chicory could improve bowel function and reduce constipation. It also contains inulin, which could promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Chicory root contains inulin, a type of fiber that has been shown to help manage blood sugar levels in both human and animal studies.

In one study, rats with diabetes received chicory inulin for 8 weeks. The inulin improved blood sugar management, which was attributed to a change in carbohydrate metabolism (10).

Although research on chicory inulin’s effect on blood sugar is limited, several other studies have shown that it may benefit blood sugar and insulin resistance.

Insulin is the hormone that transports sugar from your blood to muscles and tissues, where it can be used as fuel. Insulin resistance occurs with long periods of elevated insulin levels can decrease the effectiveness of insulin and cause high blood sugar (11).

In one small study, taking 30 grams of inulin per day for 2 weeks significantly reduced insulin resistance in 40 people with prediabetes compared with a placebo (12).

Additionally, a review of 25 studies concluded that supplementing with inulin could help decrease insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes, especially among those with obesity (13).

However, most studies to date have focused on inulin rather than chicory. Further research is needed to determine how chicory coffee, specifically, may influence blood sugar and insulin levels.


Studies show that inulin may decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels.

May decrease inflammation


Although inflammation is a normal immune system response, chronic inflammation is thought to contribute to conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer (14).

Promisingly, some animal studies have found that chicory root may possess anti-inflammatory properties.

In one 2014 rat study, chicory root reduced levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1, all of which are markers of inflammation (15).

Another study similarly showed that feeding piglets dried chicory root decreased levels of inflammation (16).

What’s more, one study found that administering chicory extract to rats with gout blocked certain pathways that regulate inflammation (17).

However, most of the current research on this topic is limited to animal studies. More studies are needed to determine how chicory root may affect inflammation in humans.


Some animal studies have found that chicory root may reduce markers of inflammation.

Chicory coffee can be an excellent way to reduce your caffeine intake.

Regular coffee is made from coffee beans that are roasted, ground, and brewed.

A typical cup of coffee contains about 92 mg of caffeine, although this amount varies based on factors like the type of coffee beans used, the serving size, and the type of coffee roast (18).

Consuming high amounts of caffeine has been associated with side effects like nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, restlessness, and insomnia (19).

Chicory root is naturally caffeine-free, so it makes an excellent coffee substitute if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake (20).

Some people add chicory root to hot water for a completely caffeine-free beverage, while others mix it into a small amount of regular coffee to enjoy a lower caffeine beverage.

(Video) 3 Best Coffee Substitutes (that taste like coffee)


Excess caffeine consumption has been linked to several adverse side effects. Pure chicory coffee is caffeine-free and can be used as a coffee substitute.

While chicory coffee has been associated with several health benefits, it’s not for everyone.

Chicory may trigger an allergic reaction in some people, causing symptoms like pain, swelling, and tingling of the mouth (20).

People with an allergy to ragweed or birch pollen should avoid chicory to prevent potential negative side effects (20).

If you experience any negative symptoms after consuming chicory coffee, discontinue use immediately and consult your doctor.

Furthermore, research is limited on the safety and potential side effects of chicory root for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before consuming it to prevent adverse symptoms (21).


Some people may be allergic to chicory coffee. Additionally, there’s limited research on the safety of chicory root for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Chicory coffee may be associated with several health benefits. It can be a good coffee substitute if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake.

However, there’s limited research on the potential health benefits of chicory coffee, and no evidence shows that it’s any healthier than regular coffee.

Still, if you like its taste and aren’t allergic to it, feel free to add it to your diet and enjoy.

Just one thing

Try this today: For an easy way to take advantage of the benefits of chicory, try combining it with regular coffee. To get started, simply mix ground coffee with chicory in a 2-to-1 ratio, then brew and enjoy!

(Video) 5 Benefits of Chicory Root| Coffee Alternative


Is chicory a good substitute for coffee? ›

It is gaining popularity as a coffee substitute because it has a similar flavor but contains no caffeine. Some research adds that it may also have some health benefits, and may help control blood sugar and improve bowel movements.

Can you drink chicory coffee everyday? ›

Chicory Coffee Side Effects

But most people can tolerate up to 20 grams per day. In fact, research in the​ Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology​ in August 2017 showed that a daily dose of inulin derived from chicory promotes healthy gut bacterial growth and may improve gut function.

Is chicory coffee actually coffee? ›

A Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Storing Chicory Coffee

Chicory is a caffeine-free herb that is a popular coffee substitute. It is most well known in New Orleans coffee (or "chicory coffee") recipes, and it can be brewed and enjoyed on its own for its dark, rich flavor.

What are the health benefits of drinking chicory? ›

Chicory is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, liver and gallbladder disorders, cancer, and rapid heartbeat. It is also used as a “tonic,” to increase urine production, to protect the liver, and to balance the stimulant effect of coffee.

What are the disadvantages of chicory? ›

Gallstones: Chicory can stimulate the production of bile. This could be a problem for people with gallstones. Don't use chicory if you have gallstones. Surgery: Chicory might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.

Who should not use chicory? ›

Chicory may trigger an allergic reaction in some people, causing symptoms like pain, swelling, and tingling of the mouth ( 20 ). People with an allergy to ragweed or birch pollen should avoid chicory to prevent potential negative side effects ( 20 ).

Is chicory coffee good for kidneys? ›

Chicory good for healthy kidneys

This extract has diuretic properties that increase the frequency and amount of urine passed. Chicory Root helps the body to get rid of excess accumulated toxins that are stored in the liver and the kidney.

Does chicory raise blood pressure? ›

Effects of chicory root extract on blood pressure. The blood pressure of the participants was analyzed. No significant differences in the level of blood pressure were observed between the placebo and chicory groups (Fig.

Is chicory coffee anti-inflammatory? ›

Chicory roots possess anti-inflammatory activity, and this might be due to the inhibition of various cytokines, antioxidant effects, and their free radical scavenging activity.

Does Starbucks use chicory in their coffee? ›

No chicory coffee, but we do have many signature beverages available here:…

Why did they start putting chicory in coffee? ›

Though chicory root lacks caffeine, it was widely available at the time and shares a similar flavor to coffee when roasted, making it a logical additive. Some even used chicory as a substitute for coffee altogether.

Why do Indians add chicory to coffee? ›

When added to the coffee grounds, chicory root gives the coffee a more complete and bitter flavor. Chicory, which has a number of health benefits, does change the coffee flavor slightly, especially when the milk counteracts the bitterness and brings out sweeter notes.

What does chicory do for the liver? ›

Chicory and the Liver

Animal studies have shown improvements in fatty liver disease with chicory-seed extract (Ziamajidi 2013). In rats, root extracts have also been shown to significantly reverse the negative liver effects of a high-fat diet.

Does chicory raise cholesterol? ›

Reduces Cholesterol Levels in the Blood

Regular intake of chicory root fibre at recommended doses may help to reduce high cholesterol. Dietary fibres and inulin in root chicory limit bad cholesterol or LDL-lipoproteins and cholesterol from the food. Therefore, it reduces the high cholesterol levels in the blood.

Does chicory affect hormones? ›

Chicory roots impact genes expression, hormones release, gut microbiota composition. Chicory roots provide cancer protection, antimicrobial effect and metabolic regulation.

Does chicory spike insulin? ›

Findings show that replacing sugars with chicory root fiber (found in the roots) helps significantly to reduce both blood sugar and insulin levels, delaying or preventing early onset of diabetes mellitus.

Does chicory root affect kidneys? ›

In vivo studies using hyperuricaemic rats with renal injury induced by yeast and adenine demonstrated that chicory decreased serum uric acid level, and its effect of delaying the progression of kidney injury was better than that of benzbromarone.

Is coffee with chicory healthier? ›

Chicory coffee may be associated with several health benefits. It can be a good coffee substitute if you're looking to reduce your caffeine intake. However, there's limited research on the potential health benefits of chicory coffee, and no evidence shows that it's any healthier than regular coffee.

Why does New Orleans coffee have chicory? ›

Following previous French practices, New Orleans locals turned to chicory to help satisfy their coffee cravings and make their limited coffee supply outlast the blockade. Because chicory is used variously, locals could drink it on its own or mix it in with their coffee as a flavor complement.

Is chicory a Superfood? ›

As a plant-based whole food with much to offer us in the way of health, chicory root is essential to your diet. Whether with a chicory coffee or a daily dose of our Prebiotic Blend, your body will benefit from this superfood.

Is chicory healthier than coffee? ›

Chicory coffee may be associated with several health benefits. It can be a good coffee substitute if you're looking to reduce your caffeine intake. However, there's limited research on the potential health benefits of chicory coffee, and no evidence shows that it's any healthier than regular coffee.

Is chicory coffee stronger than regular coffee? ›

It also contains no caffeine. It does however yield 45 to 65% of soluble extractive matter, while coffee yields only 20 to 25%. This difference explains why less coffee and chicory can be brewed while still resulting in a beverage that looks (and tastes) quite strong.

Is chicory inflammatory? ›

Chicory roots possess anti-inflammatory activity, and this might be due to the inhibition of various cytokines, antioxidant effects, and their free radical scavenging activity.

Why do people add chicory to coffee? ›

It is often used as a caffeine free coffee substitute due to its resemblance IN color and aroma to coffee. The perfect blend of chicory to coffee enhances coffee taste and aroma by imparting a slightly woody and nutty taste to the coffee. Chicory blend coffee is also economical when compared to 100 percent coffee.

Does Folgers use chicory? ›

Folgers coffee does not have chicory in it. This flower is known for its high levels of bloom. Coffee is produced from the root of the plant, which is the root of the plant, which is roasted and ground to produce the beverage in some parts of the world.

Does chicory coffee give you energy? ›

Chicory doesn't give you instant energy like a stimulant. But it improves immunity, digestive function and overall health. The good part is that inulin and fructan in chicory root have prebiotic properties. As a result, they promote the growth of essential bacteria in the stomach.

Is chicory coffee good for heart? ›

A few preliminary studies suggest that drinking “chicory coffee” might offer some anti-inflammatory benefits for the heart and osteoarthritis. In terms of glucose control, the root contains up to 40% inulin, which is a zero on the glycemic index, so it has a negligible effect on raising blood sugar.

Is chicory coffee probiotic? ›

Chicory Root Benefits

In particular, chicory contains exceptionally high levels of a fructan called inulin, a non-digestible soluble fiber. One of the benefits of inulin is that it's considered a prebiotic, meaning that it can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) in your gut.

Does chicory coffee have health benefits? ›

Chicory root, raw before being roasted, is low in fat and provides about one gram of fiber for every 60g serving. It's also a source of manganese, Vitamin B6, potassium, Vitamin C, folate and phosphorus.

What ratio of coffee to chicory is most preferable? ›

At first, use a ratio of 1 part chicory for every 2 to 3 parts coffee grounds. For instance, if you're using 6 tablespoons of coffee, use 2 to 4 tablespoons of chicory. You can adjust the ratio to taste after you've had one or two brews.


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