Coffee Substitute

Coffee Substitute

Become a real Barista!
Coffee Substitute

substituteAs with any other product which gained huge popularity and is distributed widely, some ready-witted people have quickly realized that coffee bean can be substituted with something other. There are many reasons why coffee we drink is not always produced from what it should be. But let's first understand what substances are able to replace coffee. Please note that these are usually products without caffeine.

Here is the list of most used substitutes: almond, acorn, asparagus, malted barley, beechnut, beetroot, carrot, chicory root, corn, cottonseed, dandelion root, fig, boiled-down molasses, okra seed, pea, persimmon seed, potato peel, rye, sassafras pits, sweet potato, wheat bran. Can you imagine there are so many substances able to rival the most popular drink in the world??

chicory_rootOf course you cannot just take, say a chicory root, and brew it. The plant is first roasted and then turned into powder. Thus you receive a chicory coffee.

Why people began replacing coffee with other substances? Wouldn't it be better to drink coffee prepared from a true coffee bean than taking a substitute which is not coffee? There are number of reasons why people started substituting coffee.

Reason 1 – Economical or money saving

I think as soon as people understood there's nothing irreplaceable, everything started being substituted. Same thing happened to coffee. As coffee growing and processing is an expensive business, why spend money on it? It’s much easier to take a cheap substitute which grows everywhere, don't needs special care and can be turned into coffee without effort. This practice was widely adopted in France, in the Napoleonic era (when they often were at war) and then later in the United States and the United Kingdom (in the Second World War) when chicory was often used as an adulterating admixture to coffee or even instead coffee. As it is clearly seen from the lines above, coffee substitution started in the wartime when people often face difficulties with normal food and drinks.

Did you know that chicory root has been used as a coffee substitute in prisons in the United States for a long time? A great economy, don't you think so?

coffee substituteAnd, of course, people who want to make money but don't want to apply every effort in order to produce coffee are the first to substitute it. Believe me, they gain more money than those fair traders who work their way from a coffee seed to a roasted bean.

Reason 2 – Medical

Unfortunately, not all people are able to drink coffee because they are allergic to caffeine and many other substances found in coffee. That's why there are other healthy substitutes which don't cause that reaction but are very similar to coffee.

Reason 3 - Religious

chicoryAs we already know some religions prohibit their followers from eating pork and veal. There are also religions, like the Mormonic one, that  consider people shouldn't drink coffee because it affects their health. According to their beliefs, drinking coffee and alcohol, as well as smoking tobacco, does harm to a person. Instead, they enjoy various coffee substitutes,as well as hot cider and herbal teas.

Here are some of the most popular reasons for substituting coffee with other substances. However, I'd like to outline that those who like coffee and don't want to be drinking anything but coffee prepared from true coffee beans, should always look for the contents on the coffee jar. If you find any mention of chicory or any other substance from those I have listed above, be aware: what you are looking at right now is not pure coffee.

See also:
Coffee Benefits and Side Effects
Coffee plus Tea?
Health and Fitness
Organic Coffee
see also

Follow coffee4dummies on Twitter