DIY Herbal Coffee Substitute

DIY Herbal Coffee Substitute

If coffee doesn’t serve you anymore, you might enjoy this nourishing root blend that’s surprisingly reminiscent of coffee. It definitely looks like coffee and has that mildly bitter taste similar to coffee. It’s smooth and earthy with hints of the caramelized sugar coming from the roasted dandelion and chicory roots. It has none of the acidic aftertaste and zero caffeine so it can be enjoyed at any time of the day!

Let’s look at the ingredients:

Dandelion root is a well-known digestive bitter, encouraging bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. It’s a mild laxative and has a regulating effect on the bowels. Dandelion has been shown to protect skin from UVB damage and seems to show promise in cancer research.

Burdock is another root known to support liver health. This edible root vegetable was considered a weed in North America (just like dandelion) until recently, but is considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine. In their book Backyard Medicine, the herbalists Julie Bruton-Seal&Matthew Seal write: “…burdock is a powerful cleanser and blood purifier. It is one of the foremost detoxing herbs, and is particularly effective for skin problems”. Dandelion and burdock roots make a wonderful complement to each other with their diuretic qualities, stimulating digestive fluids and promoting digestion, and are a classic combination in herbal blends. 

A fun fact: In the early 40s, a Swiss inventor George de Mestral became curious about the seeds (burrs) of the prickly burdock plant that stuck to his clothes and dog’s hair while on a walk. He then took the seeds under the microscope to reveal the hook-and-loop system that they used to attach themselves onto passers-by to ensure their dispersal. This naturally occurring adhesion system of burdock became the inspiration for inventing Velcro!

Chaga mushroom, nicknamed “The King of the Mushrooms” due to its high nutrient value, tends to grow on birch trees in colder climates throughout Northern Hemisphere. It has been used medicinally in Russian and in particular Siberian folk medicine for various health problems including cancers and is studied today for its beneficial effect in oncology and immune-modulating activity. 

Chicory root is another healthy plant that can mimic coffee. Most of the health benefits of chicory root have been attributed to being a pre-biotic and containing inulin - a soluble fibre beneficial to gut health. 

So here it is - full-bodied, smooth and pleasantly bitter-ish herbal coffee that is nourishing, satisfying and caffeine-free!


1 TB chicory root

1TB dandelion root

1TB burdock root

1/2TB chaga mushroom

Put the herbs in the pot, add 3 cups of water. Bring to boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 min. to extract all the goodness.

Strain, add milk. Cheers!



Julie Bruton-Seal&Matthew Seal (2009) Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies Skyhorse Publishing

Masé, Guido (2013) The Wild Medicine Solution Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press

Groves, M.N. (2016) Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self care North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing



These statements have not been evaluated by Health Canada. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. The information on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only, it is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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