rightChicory flower

Chicory is the name of a coffee substitute derived from the roasted root of the common chicory plant. It is commonly used as an additive to roasted coffee and historically as a replacement for coffee. New Orleans-style coffee is typically blended with chicory.


Chicory was first roasted and used in coffee in Holland around the year 1750[1]. In a short period of time, it became a popular replacement for coffee. By 1785, James Bowdoin, the governor of Massachusetts had first introduced it to the United States[2]. In 1806, Napoleon attempted to make France completely self-sufficient. To eliminate coffee imports, chicory was used as a complete substitute. While this system did not last more than a few years, the French continued to use chicory to blend with their coffee. This practice would migrate to the still French-influenced New Orleans and is still considered the normal New Orleans-style of coffee[3].

By the late 19th century, chicory had become not just a popular substitute, but also a common adulterant, with many coffee companies including a significant amount of the lower costing chicory in products advertised as coffee. The practice of deceptively cutting coffee with chicory became so common that the New York Times opined that pure coffee could no longer be found[4].


  1. William H. Ukers (1922). “The Chemistry of the Coffee Bean”, All about Coffee, 170. ISBN 0810340925.
  2. William H. Ukers (1922). “The Coffee Trade in the United States”, All about Coffee, 468. ISBN 0810340925.
  3. Mark Pendergrast (1999). Uncommon Grounds: The history of coffee and how it transformed our world, 19-20. ISBN 0465054676.
  4. Mark Pendergrast (1999). Uncommon Grounds: The history of coffee and how it transformed our world, 59. ISBN 0465054676.
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