New Orleans Coffee

When I was in San Francisco last summer, I fell in love with Blue Bottle's New Orleans Coffee. Up until then, I had never heard of New Orleans style coffee or chicory root, but the spicy, sweet, and bold flavor had me hooked from one sip. You can buy the kits directly from Blue Bottle to make it at home (available here), but honestly it wasn't in my budget and I wanted to make a hot version. I became obsessed with the idea of creating my own New Orleans coffee (me, obsessive? of course not ;) and have spent the past six months trying to hunt down chicory root in every health food store I come across. Thanks to an Amazon reviewer on so-so chicory root, I discovered Chicory USA. It is a farm in Nebraska that grows and roasts chicory root. Their no-frills website and ordering process was a little disconcerting at first, but the product is incredible.

What is chicory root? It's the root of a chicory plant (pictures here). When roasted, it has a robust flavor similar to coffee. In colonial times when imported coffee was expensive, ground coffee was mixed with chicory root to boost profits for merchants in ports like New Orleans. Further away from ports where coffee was inaccessible, chicory root was used a complete replacement of coffee (thanks for the heads up about this Outlander). Today it is added to coffee predominantly for flavor, but also as a way to smooth the bitterness of coffee and to reduce caffeine intake.

I make coffee in an assortment of ways, namely with a Keurig, Moka pot, or french press. Predominately I use a french press (this one here), so that I can make a large quantity at once. For myself, I make a double (12oz), but if I know the morning is going to require extra caffeine or someone is over for breakfast, I opt for a quadruple or double double.

New Orleans Coffee

Single (6oz)
3/4 Tablespoon Roasted Ground Chicory Root
1 1/2 Tablespoon coffee grounds
6 oz water

Double (12oz)
1 1/2 Tablespoon Roasted Ground Chicory Root
3 Tablespoon coffee grounds
12 oz water

Double Double (24oz)
3 Tablespoon Roasted Ground Chicory Root
6 Tablespoon coffee grounds
24 oz water

Heat the water until just before it boils. Combine the chicory root and coffee grounds in the bottom of a french press. Pour the water over the grounds. Put on the lid and allow to steep for five to ten minutes based on flavor preferences (I usually opt for 10 minutes). Slowly push the plunger down. Pour the coffee into a mug. Add the desired milk and sweetener (plain almond milk is my favorite).

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