Have you ever heard of New Orleans-style coffee? Mais yeah! It’s an incredibly unique and interesting type of coffee that not nearly enough people have heard about. We need to change that.
So today, we’ll answer your questions about New Orleans coffee. Prepare your taste buds for a journey of flavor because this coffee is rich, flavorful, and may even have some health benefits you might not have known about. Let’s jump right in.
New Orleans-Style Coffee
This unique brew isn’t just a regular cup of coffee that happens to be brewed in New Orleans. It has its own unique ingredients and crafting process that makes it special. New Orleans is a hub for culture, music, and delicious food — and apparently a great place to get a cup of coffee as you walk the banquette (that’s a sidewalk for you outsiders).
What Makes it New Orleans-y?
Put simply, New Orleans coffee is coffee that is infused with chicory root. The chicory root adds a little boost of flavor to the coffee, making it a bit richer, earthier, and nuttier.
The chicory root is roasted and ground, much like coffee. The two even taste quite similar, with chicory having a slightly earthier flavor.
How Is It Made?
There are several different ways that New Orleans coffee is traditionally made. Some people opt to roast the chicory root right along with the coffee beans, keeping them all together for the entire coffee-making process.
Others roast the chicory and the coffee separately and even grind them separately, only mixing the two together just before the hot water is poured over the grounds. It’s all personal preference, so there’s no wrong way to do it.
How Did New Orleans Coffee Come About?
There is a long and strange history to New Orleans coffee. The city of New Orleans had always been a big hub for coffee imports. With all of the coffee grown in the Caribbean, it only made sense that this large American port city would be the entry point for much of the coffee in America.
It’s no surprise then that coffee has always been popular in New Orleans.
But chicory has long been a popular drink in the region. It tasted similar to coffee, and people even used it as a drink to cure certain health ailments. Chicory was imported to New Orleans from France, which had previously owned the territory.
In the early 1800s, tensions between President Andrew Jackson and Napoleon were at a high. Napoleon was trying to prevent coffee from getting to the U.S. so that they would more heavily rely on chicory, and Jackson was launching a campaign to try and convince his citizens that chicory was a lower-quality substitute for coffee.
Spoiler alert: it was too late! Chicory was already ingrained in the culture of New Orleans.
During the Civil War, trade blockades in the Atlantic blocked coffee from getting to the US. But powerful France was still able to import chicory through New Orleans. So during the war, the North had a low supply of coffee for their troops, but the South had plenty of chicory to go around.
The French capitalized on this, advertising that chicory could prevent certain things like hypochondria, and the popularity of chicory exploded in the South. After the Civil War ended and coffee imports resumed, chicory remained quite popular in the South, especially in New Orleans.
Eventually, to make coffee cheaper, people started mixing the inexpensive chicory root into their coffee, and thus, New Orleans Coffee was born.
More About Chicory
Chicory is quite an interesting plant, and it has been used for hundreds of years as a drink. Here’s a bit more information about this unique ingredient that serves as the basis for New Orleans Coffee.
What Is Chicory?
Chicory is a perennial shrubbery that lasts for at least two years before dying and withering away. This small, flowering plant has angular stems that sprout beautiful blue flowers during the summer.
Chicory is known by many different names around the US and the world, including:Blue sailorsCoffeeweedCornflowerItalian dandelionSuccory
This interesting perennial is originally native to Europe, central Russia, and western Asia. But it made its way to the US, where it is now commonly found in the wild, although it is not considered invasive.
This plant's flowers, stems, and roots have been used in medicine for centuries. They can be eaten raw, but more commonly, they are roasted and ground into a powder to be consumed or boiled and served as a tea-like drink.
But it is the root that has served as the basis for New Orleans coffee. The root, on its own, has served as an easy coffee substitute throughout history. Combine warm milk with a bit of sugar and a splash of chicory, and you’ve got coffee milk (what some folks give to their kids).
Are There Any Benefits to Chicory?
As we mentioned before, chicory has been used throughout history as a natural remedy for certain conditions. In the modern day, we know that chicory cannot cure any illnesses, but it is effective for supporting general well-being in a variety of different ways.
For starters, chicory is high in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and phytoactive elements, making it a great food to work into your diet.
One of the best benefits of chicory is that it contains powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This is an important immune function that helps protect your cells from damage.
On top of that, some people believe that chicory is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal and can potentially help support timmune function. Many people believe it can help maintain your everyday health and wellness.
One very common use of chicory, even today, is to help keep livestock healthy. Chicory is nutritious and helps to feed livestock, but it can also help with parasites.
How To Make New Orleans Coffee
Now that you know everything there is to know about this delicious coffee, let’s get into the recipe. To make this homemade New Orleans coffee as easy and delicious as possible, we’re going to use Javy coffee concentrate as the base.
For this recipe, you’re going to need:1 Tablespoon Javy Coffee Concentrate1 Tablespoon ground chicory1 cup water4 ounces of milk or milk substitute (or however much you prefer)½ Tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk
You’re going to want to start this the night before you want to enjoy your classic New Orleans coffee. It takes a while for all the flavors to infuse properly, so this will take a bit of forethought.
Start by grabbing a mason jar with a lid and adding your tablespoon of Javy and your water. Then add the tablespoon of ground chicory and give it a good stir. Put the lid on and place it into the fridge to steep overnight.
The next morning, take your mixture out of the fridge, grab your glass of choice, and fill the glass with ice cubes. Place a fine mesh strainer over the top of the glass and pour your mixture into the glass through the strainer. This is going to filter out the bits of the ground chicory root.
Now add your favorite milk or milk substitute to your drink. Most recipes in New Orleans call for whole milk, but any milk you prefer will do just nicely. We recommend that you add about four ounces of milk, but try it and see what you think.
Add sweetened condensed milk for a little sweetness to round out the recipe. Again, we recommend half a tablespoon, but start small and taste as you go.
And there you have it: New Orleans-style coffee. This cold beverage is nice and refreshing, perfect for the heat and humidity of the southern port city, riverside, or lake side (that would be the Mississippi or Lake Pontchartrain,).
This drink has a deep richness from the coffee, earthy and slight sweetness from the chicory, a creamy texture from the milk, and a nice round sweetness from the sweetened condensed milk. It’s an amazing drink you’re sure to enjoy.
And if you’d like to add a twist to the recipe that adds a bit of flavor and sweetness to the drink, check out Javy’s selection of flavored coffee concentrates to substitute for plain concentrate.
A Unique Regional Coffee Beverage
Now you know everything you need to know about New Orleans-style coffee, from its ingredients to its beautiful history and how to make it. Go and try it out and see if you’ve found your new favorite coffee BFF.
For more on the subject of coffee and an amazing selection of easy, delicious coffee concentrates, head to Javy.
About New Orleans Coffee | History & Popular Coffee in the Big Easy | King Cake Festival
Chemical Composition and Nutritive Benefits of Chicory (Cichorium intybus) as an Ideal Complementary and/or Alternative Livestock Feed Supplement | National Institutes of Health
Chicory, Cichorium intybus | Wisconsin Horticulture | University of Wisconsin - Madison