The Mystery Ingredient in Classic Indian Coffee
If you’ve ever sipped on a hot tumbler of South Indian Filter Coffee and relished that distinctively nutty, irresistibly rich flavour, you’ve just identified chicory. Adding oodles of character, aroma and health benefits to your standard coffee brew, chicory is what sets Bean Good’s Indian Coffee leagues apart from the rest.
An ingredient with a history as rich as its flavour profile, chicory has been a part of coffee brews for hundreds of years. Let’s get to the root of this delightful ingredient, and what it adds to your morning cup of joe.
What is chicory?
A flowering plant in the dandelion family native to Eurasia, chicory is a reserve of valuable nutrients, with leaves that are often used in salads. The chicory root, when roasted to perfection, lends an element of magic to coffee. Historically, chicory root has been used as a coffee substitute, and as a healthier, tastier alternative to caffeine.
A brief history of chicory in India
Coffee made its way into Indian lives in the early 17th century, as a part of Mughal culture and South Asian cuisine. By the late 18th century, a coffee-chicory blend called Camp Coffee was introduced to South India – a dark, syrupy blend of coffee, chicory, water and sugar. First popular amongst Indian soldiers, the beverage grew in popularity after some of these soldiers opened military hotels and coffee houses in Madras, leading to the full cultivation of chicory being rampant in the Western Ghats by 1860.
Why is it good?
Chicory has long been recognized as a healthier alternative to coffee. As an additive to coffee, it elevates every brew in a number of ways, alongside enriching its flavour profile, colour and aroma.
Chicory could be…
Beneficial to gut health
As chicory contains the prebiotic fiber inulin, it can feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, helping in the reduction of inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria, and improving mineral absorption.
Good for blood sugar reduction
Chicory can be used to control blood sugar, especially for those with diabetes. This, too, is due to its containing inulin, which helps in the breaking down of carbohydrates into sugars, and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Helpful for weight loss
Chicory root fibers can help with appetite control, lowering overall intake of calories and therefore aiding weight loss.
Helpful for inflammatory arthritis
It is believed that plant polyphenols can combat inflammation, and certain preliminary studies show that bioactive extracts of chicory root can have a potential role in treating osteoarthritis.
While the plant has been in use for over two centuries, there is still plenty left to be discovered about this magical ingredient. Scientists are still researching avidly into the many health benefits of chicory, and people worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of incorporating chicory into their diets.
Luckily for you, bringing chicory into your life is easy – just have yourself a delicious cup of Bean Good’s Classic Indian coffee.