Chicory’s Taste Route To India

April 20, 2023

The South Indian Coffee House believes in serving premium quality filter coffee while maintaining its native tastes. Any premium filter coffee brand will have chicory as a prime ingredient. The dominant presence of Chicory in our filter coffee lends to the unique volume and taste of our well blended, roasted, and brewed decoction. Our liquid coffee decoction contains 80% coffee (70% Arabica and 30% Robusta beans).

Chicory aka Cichorium intybus is a blue flower of the perennial plant family called the Asteraceae. Chicory’s taste route can be traced way back to India’s British era. Traditionally Chicory is a native of Europe. An extremely bitter plant that grew wild in the European subcontinent, it is believed to have found its way to India in the first decade of the 19th century (the late 1800s). The first time we Indians tasted chicory coffee was when the British army introduced a product called “Camp Coffee” (of Scottish origins) in India during the World War. This Scottish product was a mix of chicory extract (25%), water, sugar and dried coffee extract (4%). Indian soldiers took a liking for the coffee and started consuming this dark concentrated syrupy coffee. Interestingly, chicory was added to increase the volume and improve the texture of coffee.

Interestingly, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany and even a few parts of North America cultivate chicory. Chicory leaves are also a delicacy for some people in these regions who sometimes eat it like a vegetable or even add it to salads. Some even boil the plant roots and consume with butter. In a few parts of the world, cattle are fed the chicory plant as fodder.

Chicory is believed to possess medicinal values too. The plant is rich in fibre, and believed to be beneficial for digestion. Chicory roots are rich in natural antioxidants as well. The chicory part of coffee is what gives a feeling of fullness – which is why people consume filter coffee after a good meal.

So how did coffee enter south India as filter coffee? Some local sellers found these coffee beans, which eventually made their way into a Tamil household where natives experimented with the coffee beans and chicory – roasting, blending and grounding it to make a decoction.Soon special percolators were designed to make coffee, though there is no exact record anywhere of when they came into being. Filter coffee became extremely popular soon after and became an integral part of every south Indian household. Thanks to globalization, its popularity has spread across India as well as the rest of the globe too.

So, sit back and enjoy your cuppa of The South Indian Coffee House’s filter coffee decoction!