Chicory has been in cultivation in Europe as a coffee substitute. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive, especially in New Orleans. It has also been popular as a coffee substitute in poorer economic areas, and has gained wider popularity during economic crises such as the Great Depression in the 1930s.
It was a popular coffee substitute and economizer for 2 centuries, back when coffee was more prized, and pure coffee was a luxury. In that time, it became a matter of cultural preference to use it in coffee, in the United States it was synonymous with New Orleans coffee. The specific taste of famous New Orleans brands is due to the blend of dark roasted coffee and chicory. If you use high quality coffee and a true imported French Roast, you will get optimal results with that typical New Orleans Cafe au Lait cup character.
Many myths surround the use of it in coffee blends. One story holds that the root was accidentally found to be a flavorful additive to coffee as far back as the sixteenth century. It is made from the root of the endive plant and was used as a filler and flavor enhancer in parts of northern Europe at least as far back as the eighteenth century. Napoleon's armies reportedly brought it back to France. For many years it was used to stretch coffee supplies, especially in hard times such as the Civil War. New Orleanians developed a taste for it in coffee blends and many prefer it today. Throughout the New Orleans area, it has been used as a flavor additive. Local coffee companies have kept up with demand by offering the same blends with and without it. It can be found in any reaturant in New Orleans. Most local residents prefer it over pure coffee. If you are a coffee lover you must try it you will be surprised.
All great New Orleans Coffee's are known for their local flavour.
Cafe du Monde
French Market Coffee with Chicory
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