Our team was formed in 1994 working successfully on coffee and coffee substitutes markets
The cultivated chicory plant has a history that goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. The Eber Papyrus, dating from 4000 BC is the oldest written document to refer to chicory. The name chicory could possibly come from the word Ctchorium, a word of Egyptian origin, which in various forms is the name of the plant in most European languages. The farmers of that era on both banks of the Nile cultivated chicory for its seeds, reputed to aid in digestion. They roasted the seeds on the flat surfaces of heated rocks.
Moving along to the Greeks who followed the Egyptians, Pedanios Dioscorides, a Greek doctor in the Roman army, was the first to mention chicory for its restorative powers. Often called Succory as well as chicory, it is related to the Endive, in that both are the only two species in the genus Cichorium. Succory was known to the Romans and eaten by them as a vegetable or in salads. This use was mentioned by Horace, Virgil and Pliny. It wasn’t long before the plant and all that it provided would spread throughout the civilized world.
In the 1600’s Medieval monks raised the plants, and then when coffee was introduced into Europe during the same period, the Dutch discovered that the addition of chicory to coffee made it superior tasting to coffee without an additive.
During the French Renaissance in the 16th century, the medicinal use of chicory roots, leaves, flowers and seeds became pretty well accepted. Then in the 18th century the first French factories copied the Dutch method of roasting chicory, and it became a commodity. As the French Revolution approached, chicory was as popular a beverage as coffee. Napoleon’s political move to block English shipping in the earliest part of the 19th century caused chicory consumption to surpass coffee consumption.
Chicory is such a hardy perennial, it was easily brought to North America from Europe in the 1700’s and is now well established across the continent especially in New Orleans area where flavored coffee was more popular than in surrounding states. Louisiana became a French crown colony in 1731. Trade at that time was primarily done by water. The French traders as well as the new colonists from France brought with them the dried roots of cultivated chicory. They might have been willing to give up their homeland, but they were not willing to give up their flavor preferences. When Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States, the population of Louisiana still remained primarily French. As a result, the preferred drink of that same population remained chicory.
Actually we see grow of popularity of chicory around the globe.