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Coffee and Chicory | Café du Monde | Flavors of New Orleans


Chicory is not a native North American herb. It is a native of Europe. It was brought to the United States from the European colonists who settled here. It is safe to assume the original Acadian settlers of Nova Scotia, one of the three Canadian Maritime Provinces, had brought some with them from Europe, too.

Consequently, after the French Acadians were dispersed by the British Empire (Le Grande Derangement~1755–1763), it is very likely the prized 'chicory' herb followed them as well during resettlement in south Louisiana.

Every time I visit Jackson Square in New Orleans, (after taking a tour of the outdoor artist's displays around the square), I'll amble across the way to 800 Decatur Street and patronize one of the world's most famous coffee houses, Café du Monde, for a cup of hot and bold chicory coffee, along with a trio of French beignets heavily sprinkled with powdered sugar on top. The combination comes together like a marriage made in heaven which brings about an almost forbidden pleasure. One that seems to give me an extra burst of energy and a new zest for life. It could be the caffeine, sugar and chicory that's performing their magic?  

Chicory Coffee & Beignets
I had a serving this morning, which I had to prepare myself since I now live about 500 miles away from the Mississippi River banks of downtown New Orleans.

Chicory has not only become a great coffee additive and substitute, it rings true as a natural home remedy for an impressive list of ailments. It is used as an anti-inflammatory, mild diuretic, stomach tonic, for liver complaints, and rheumatism (to name just a few).

Ranchers in New Zealand plant chicory as feedstock for their animals.

The active ingredient in chicory acts as a natural deterrent to many internal parasites in cattle and sheep. Letting the animals graze on chicory keeps them healthy and helps to defray some of the expenses involved in treating infestation of the animals manually. So, as you can see, chicory has many more benefits than merely embellishing our morning cups of java.

Café du Monde

Oh how sweet it is! To operate one of the most successful food establishments in the world, that is... and whose main trademark is to serve chicory coffee and Louisiana doughnuts without the holes (beignets)... and to do so right smack dab in the middle of the busiest tourist spot in New Orleans--the French Quarter. I suppose location has something to do with their success also, but it is such a solid business that not even the most disastrous hurricane in U.S. history could manage to uproot it.

Politicians could learn a valuable lesson about economics by following the business model for this coffee shop, I think.

Café du Monde opened its doors back in 1861 during the American Civil War. The shop stays open year-round 24/7, taking only Christmas Day off.

Hurricane Katrina compelled the managers of Cafe du Monde to close shop for a few days. It closed at midnight on August 27, 2005 and reopened on October 19, 2005, suffering only minor damages.

Below is a night time pic of the famous N'awlins coffee house and a map of its location below it.

Café du Monde at Night

If you would like to experience the taste of coffee with chicory (New Orleans style), you can order direct from New Orleans's Famous French Market. The French Roast blend is bold, and the 'Chicory and Coffee' is the boldest. Either one will bring pleasure to your palate if you are a serious coffee drinker. Take advantage of their 2 - 3 day air shipping and you will have your order delivered at your front door before you can say "ahheee--très bon !"

Brewing Directions

Coffee and Chicory (boldest)

Use 1/2 to 3/4 level tablespoon of Coffee and Chicory for each 6 oz. of water. Adjust the amount of Coffee and Chicory to your preferred strength.

French Roast (bold)

Use 1 1/2 level tablespoons for each 6 oz. of water. Adjust the amount of coffee to your preferred strength.

The Flavor of New Orleans

I would also like to commend French Market Coffee and thank them for their generous donations and charitable partnership with renowned local artist Terrance Osborne. 

Terrance created a special piece called “The Flavor of New Orleans" and is selling prints of the piece to benefit the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Order Here.

NOCCA helps students pursue many diverse passions of the arts, and they are helping NOCCA continue its mission.

Have a nice day and I hope you enjoy your coffee and chicory as much as I do. Ahheee!!
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