Chicory tea coffee substitute shown overhead in a mug.
Beverages and Desserts

Chicory Tea Coffee Substitute, Hot or Iced

Chicory tea as a coffee substitute for acid reflux will knock your socks off! Well, I exaggerate, but, if even decaf coffee brings on the burn, you gotta try this option.

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If you’ve been following me the past couple of months, I’ve talked a lot about my issues with acid reflux. Lately, I’ve been having more symptoms (frowny face) because I just finished a course of proton pump inhibitors a week ago. The final verdict: I will not be taking omeprazole ever again if I can help it! Ultimately, I find it makes no sense to endure the many digestive side effects while I was taking it as well as the rebound heartburn afterward.

My mostly veggie diet seems to be the better and healthier option. In fact, my parents are now trying the diet out after I introduced it to them on my last visit. My mother reports much fewer issues with her own acid reflux and that she has “not missed meat at all!”

Coffee = heartburn

Chicory tea coffee substitute in a mug by the window.
This is not coffee! This is chicory tea as a coffee substitute.

One of the sadder symptoms of acid reflux is heartburn brought on by my first love: coffee. I had been drinking decaf for a while, which seemed to be okay before and while I was on the omeprazole. However, during my recovery from this “medicine” (ugh), I need to avoid any form of coffee.

Whether for the acidity or trace amounts of caffeine, I’m not sure, but I know it affects me negatively and painfully. So I’ve turned back to an old favorite: chicory tea coffee substitute.


Ah, that chicory flavor

You may be familiar with chicory as the star ingredient in famed New Orleans coffee. Typically, that brew is a combination of chicory granules and ground coffee and has a distinct woody or nutty flavor. I highly recommend trying it out next time you’re in Nola—get some at Café du Monde after wading through the eager and pressing crowds. Or chill out at home with French Market coffee.

Roasted chicory root granules presented in a ramekin
Roasted chicory root granules

In the meantime, chicory without the coffee is simply chicory tea, and it can be drunk on its own or with spices, sweetener, cream, or a combination thereof to cut some of the bitterness. You can also try some vanilla extract or other similar flavorings. Although I wouldn’t say that chicory is more bitter than black coffee, it does have a different kind of bite. I’d describe it as a bit herbal and grassy. (And it’s an excellent caffeine-free evening beverage with dessert: try it with my chocolate mousse!)

Health benefits of chicory tea

Person standing in a field and holding several chicory roots recently pulled from the ground.
Freshly plucked chicory root
Image by David Kaspar Willmann from Pixabay

Among many other health benefits, chicory root is loaded with inulin, a prebiotic fiber that has a similar effect on the bowels as coffee. So you don’t have to worry about regularity! However, don’t use more than I’ve suggested in the recipe if you’ve never had it before. And, if you are particularly sensitive, cut it by half and make just a cup rather than the full pot. It’s not easy to find chicory granules in stores, so I get mine from Amazon.


Spicing up chicory tea

A coffee mug, a wooden spoon filled with honey, a ramekin filled with roasted chicory root granules, and a half teaspoon of allspice.

To spice up my chicory tea, I add allspice and honey before steeping, but you can use any combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and your favorite sweetener. If you use ground cloves, be careful about how much you use—that stuff is potent! You can also use whole cloves—I’d recommend one clove per tea cup.

Kitchen gadgets you’ll need for chicory tea

As far as gadgets, you can use many of the usual ones for coffee: a French press, a stovetop espresso or Moka pot, or a pour-over filter cone. However, for stovetop espresso, I’d recommend only doing a coffee/chicory blend. I’ve tried it with just chicory, and it takes a long time to brew and not all the water comes through. The same issue probably occurs with percolators (drip coffee), so heed the same advice. Finally, I don’t have a picture here, but you can also make chicory tea by the cup using a tea infuser, which is how I make it when I’m traveling.

Ingredients and gadgets for making chicory tea coffee substitute: bag of roasted chicory root granules, honey, allspice, tablespoon, stovetop espresso pot, coffee mug with resuseable pour-over filter, and a French press.
Ingredients and gadgets for chicory tea

In this recipe, I use my stainless steel French press (top right in the photo above). I got this one a few months back after I broke my glass one. Doh! I also like this model because the tea stays really hot for a long time (one to two hours after brewing). It also has cup measurements on the inner walls, but I just measure my water with my old reliable electric kettle from Ikea.

When you stir the chicory after pouring in the hot water, be sure to use a spoon that won’t scratch up the walls of the French press—my little wooden spoon (no idea where I got it; I’ve had it for years and years) is perfect for this job as well as measuring the honey.


Iced chicory tea coffee substitute

You can also make iced chicory tea coffee substitute because it’s June and summer is just beginning! I’ve included instructions for that below as well. A Pyrex measuring cup would be handy here so that you can pour the hot tea over the ice if you use the French press to ultimately hold the iced coffee. Otherwise, have a heat-proof pitcher handy or just wait for the tea to cool.

I love chicory tea as a coffee substitute for acid reflux, and I hope you enjoy it as well. If you like your coffee black and bitter, like I do, you’ll love this new level of bite!

French press with hot water being poured into it.
French press with wooden spoon ready to stir the chicory tea before steeping.
Chicory tea coffee substitute being poured from a French press and into a coffee mug.
Pour again and enjoy!

Bonus Tip!

I just tried half and half in my chicory tea this morning, and I had both my socks and my slippers knocked off! I may be drinking my tea with cream from now on. The flavor is so rich, and, I may be tempted to say, better than coffee!

French press next to a coffee cup filled with chicory tea and half and half. The coffee cup says the following on it: I'm silently correcting your grammar.

Shopping list

roasted chicory root granules


French press
long-handled spoon
heat-proof container with a spout

Spiced Chicory Tea Coffee Substitute, Hot or Iced

Serves: 2
Total time: 10 minutes

Prep time: 2 minutes
Brew time: 8 minutes

Ingredients and preparation

Hot chicory tea

4 cups water
2 tbsp roasted chicory root granules
½ tsp allspice (or combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves)
1 tbsp honey

Iced chicory tea

1 cup water
2 tbsp roasted chicory root granules
½ tsp allspice (or combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves)
1 tbsp honey
3 cups chopped ice


Hot chicory tea

  1. Boil the water in the kettle. Put the chicory, allspice, and honey in the French press. Pour in the water, and stir until the honey is dissolved. Cover without pushing down the plunger, and let steep for 8 minutes.
  2. Plunge 3–4 times, and serve with more sweetener and favorite milk or cream, as desired.

Iced chicory tea

  1. Boil the water in the kettle. Put the chicory, allspice, and honey (use less or more honey per desired sweetness) in the French press. Pour in the water, and stir until the honey is dissolved. Cover without pushing down the plunger, and let steep for 8 minutes.
  2. Plunge 3–4 times, and then pour all the tea into a heat-proof container with a spout (or have a funnel handy if you only have a bowl). Discard the chicory root granules, and rinse the French press.
  3. Put the ice in the French press and pour the tea over it. You can put the plunger back on (detach the filter) to cover it or just leave it off. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for 3–5 days.

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