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Winter comforts: hot drinks

January 27, 2010

“[A]ny coffee, emasculated or not, is better than perfect if it is made with chicory.”
-M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf.

Chicory 'tea'

bitter, complex, sophisticated chicory

Not being much of a coffee drinker, I can’t say whether coffee with chicory encapsulates Ms. Fisher’s words, but I can say that chicory, steeped as tea, is a surprisingly sophisticated drink.

The flavor of unadorned steeped, roasted chicory root is bitter and almost oily–much like some coffees can be.  Add sugar and you have a more nuanced cup, reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate.  Add milk or your milk-like-substance of preference and a richness unfolds.

After absentmindedly abandoning half a cup for a few hours, I found that the cold taste is lovely as well, much like iced coffee and a worthy summer refreshment.

Ms. Fisher mourns the loss of chicory from the average grocery store (though it is a common ingredient in coffee substitutes), but I found mine at a local herbalist.  Check a food co-op or health food store or somewhere that stocks bulk herbs & spices.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nora permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:05 pm

    …blast you. Now I need some.

    • libolibri permalink*
      January 28, 2010 1:54 pm

      Ready to revisit Acadia Herbals? Maybe we can hit up Deals & Steals, too. I need to look for blackstrap molasses and vanilla extract because no matter what Cook’s Illustrated says about the imitation stuff, I just can bring myself to use it.

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