As someone who became very sensitive to caffeine and stimulants through a chronic illness, I cannot have coffee everyday any more. Not helpful as a barista! I still have coffee occasionally, but I find too much leaves me very on edge, so I keep it as a treat or for when I seriously need a boost. Coffee is not inherently bad – but the caffeine and acidity can become an issue for many of us. Enter Dandelion Coffee.
Most coffee alternatives on the market are full of grains (rye, barely, etc.), which is fine if you aren’t gluten-sensitive, or following a grain-free protocol.
A great option is to make your own coffee alternative! Common ingredients are dandelion root, chicory, carob, and rooibos tea. In a pinch, I use plain raw or roasted dandelion root, but the recipe I adore combines this with chicory and ginger root for a spectacular flavour that is naturally sweet, not musky, and has a gorgeous, velvety mouthfeel. It combines well with plant milks, and works well in a french press, manual drip filter, or even a tea infuser. If you have a burr grinder (I do not), you may even be able to get a consistent enough grind to make espresso, but I have not been able to test this.
Nutrition Profile of Dandelion
Dandelion is a bitter herb, making it naturally a digestive aid. It is a potent liver cleanser, meaning it supports the liver in its daily functions and enhances its ability to clear, preventing congestion and stagnation. When your liver is functioning optimally, the rest of your body has a much better chance of functioning well also. Like coffee, dandelion is a diuretic, so use in moderation (like everything!). It can also be nourishing to the body. Energetically, dandelion root is cool-cold, bitter, and dry, making it helpful for dampness in the body and congestion. Be cautious, however, if you have gallbladder issues as dandelion can be a potent bile stimulant.
I add ginger partially for flavour, and partially to warm things up a little. Ginger is pungent and heating, a strong blood circulator, and is extremely helpful with digestive issues and discomfort. Ginger relieves inflammation and pain, and prevents bacterial infection and flu. Be cautious of ginger in instances of ulcer or “hot” skin conditions such as eczema.
Ayurvedically speaking, dandelion increases Vata (Air + Space), while ginger increases Pitta (Fire + Water) and some Vata. To make this drink more balanced with Kapha (Water + Earth), I make my coffee “bulletproof” by adding coconut milk, coconut oil, ghee and gelatin to add healthful fats and support my brain, skin, joints, and sustain energy.
Per 1.5 cups (12oz) boiling water:
1 Tbsp ground roasted dandelion root (see below for roasting method)
1 tsp roasted chicory root
Pinch of dry ginger
Allow ingredients to steep, covered, for 15-20 mins before drinking.
*To make “bulletproof”: in a blender mix coconut milk (or other plant milk), coconut oil and collagen powder. Blend this alone and add on top of coffee or blend right into the coffee.
Dandelion Coffee Grounds
* Purchase raw dandelion root (or harvest and dry yourself!)
* Roast in a single layer in a 300F oven for 2+ hours (taste every hour to experience the deepening of flavour and decide what you like best – I stopped at 2 hours)
* Grind until appropriate size for your coffee maker of choice (if using a regular coffee/spice grinder, there will be powdered bits and larger bits, but don’t worry, it still works in presses, manual drips, and infusers – BUT you don’t want sludge, so be careful not to grind too far, and use a filter if this becomes an issue)
* Follow recipe ratios above, using @1 Tbsp dandelion per cup of water
* Look at that pretty solid crema and enjoy your earthy, sweet non-coffee!