Roasted chicory root, Chicorium intybus, is one of the core ingredients used in Innocent Beans Herbal Coffee. While chicory doesn’t contain caffeine, it does share a similar flavour profile to coffee, which makes it a great ingredient to use in our herbal coffee blends. Chicory is a plant that has pretty purple flowers up top, but underneath the plant is the root which is where all the goodness lies. The roots are what gets roasted and ground to be brewed with coffee in many parts of the world. Chicory is native to France, where it has long been loved for other culinary reasons and is still the most popular coffee alternative in France. French coffee is famous for its smooth, less acidic flavour because approximately 30% of French coffee is roasted chicory root. Chicory Coffee is also very popular in New Orleans in America and the iconic Café Du Monde still serves a delicious tasting ‘chicory coffee’.
Many studies have also shown that Chicory Root has beneficial anti-inflammatory and natural antioxidant properties. It also has gut health benefits mainly due to it being one of the highest sources of naturally occurring inulin – a prebiotic that promotes gut health. Inulin is classified as a soluble dietary fibre. It is a naturally occurring oligosaccharide (several simple sugars linked together) belonging to a group of carbohydrates known as fructans. Unlike most carbohydrates, inulin is non-digestible. This allows it to pass through the small intestine and ferment in the large intestine. Through the fermentation process, the inulin becomes healthy intestinal micro flora (bifidobacterium). This then promotes the growth of helpful probiotics in your digestive system. This is why inulin, or chicory root fiber, is commonly seen in probiotic supplements.