Don't get me wrong here, I love coffee. Every so often, however, I just need to take a break from my regular java routine. Sometimes it's because I get on a "no caffeine" health kick, sometimes it's because I try to focus on drinking more water, and sometimes it's because the acid in coffee can just give me a stomachache from time to time. That being said, while I love tea, there's certainly something about your morning cup of coffee that can't always be replaced by a nice Earl Grey option. So I like to have a coffee-like backup to sip when I want an alternative. I found out about "coffee" made from chicory root a few months ago, and when prepared correctly, it definitely has that coffee vibe without the caffeine or acidity (and it's got lots of other health properties that are good for you too!). It's quick and easy to make yourself a delicious vanilla latte that uses a combination of roasted chicory and dandelion root (and no espresso machine needed!).
*You can check your normal grocery store for the chicory in the coffee section (a lot of them carry it) or try a local health food store to find roasted chicory and dandelion root.
Heat your water in a pot or tea kettle until boiling. Add your chicory and dandelion root to the bottom of a French press and pour your water onto the granules. If you don't have a French press, you could use a tea infuser or simply strain out the granulates with a fine mesh strainer once it's done steeping. Allow the mixture to steep for 7-10 minutes and pour about half the chicory "espresso shot" mixture into a cup. Save the rest to make a second cup for yourself later or make another for a friend!
While the chicory is still hot, mix in your sweetener and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
Use a milk frother (either one that is also a warmer and a frother, or warm your milk first and then use a hand frother) to create your steamed milk. Then fill the rest of your glass with the milk and scoop some foam on top. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top and your latte is complete!
While you can make this with strictly chicory, I would highly suggest trying the chicory and dandelion combination (that bag of dandelion will last you a long time too!). The chicory just by itself has a bit of a peppery taste to it and the dandelion really smooths it out and adds a nuttier flavor to the drink. If the taste is too strong for you, experiment with different levels of milk to chicory espresso, or make the actual espresso stronger or weaker by steeping more or less root in your hot water.
This is totally a coffee substitute that I am happy to have and even my picky husband who can spot the "healthy" versions of things a mile away gave this one a big thumbs up. If you need to lay off the coffee for a while or just want to try something new, hope you'll add this to your morning rotation! xo. Laura
Credits/ Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.