DANDELION COFFEE

Danelion RootDandelion coffee (also known as dandelion tea) is an infusion or herbal tea, and coffee substitute, made from the root of the dandelion plant. The roasted dandelion root pieces and the beverage have some resemblance to coffee in appearance and taste.

Early colonists brought it to North America, where indigenous people saw its value and used it for its medical and nutritional benefits. Dandelion coffee was mentioned in a Harpers New Monthly Magazine story in 1886. In 1919, dandelion root was noted as a source of cheap coffee. It has also been part of edible plant classes dating back at least to the 1970s.

Harvesting dandelion roots requires differentiating 'true' dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) from other yellow daisy-like flowers such as Catsear and Hawksbeard. True dandelions have a ground-level rosette of deep-toothed leaves and hollow straw-like stems. Large plants that are 34 years old, with taproots approximately 0.5 inch (13 mm) in diameter, are harvested for dandelion coffee. These taproots are similar in appearance to pale carrots. See our article on Dandelions.

After harvesting, the dandelion roots are dried, chopped, and roasted. They are then ground into granules which are steeped in boiling water to produce dandelion coffee. It is quite sweet, so most people wouldn't want to add any extra sugar. It would probably be described as a weak coffee without a kick. It looks very bland when it's made. As far as aroma is concerned, there isn't one!! Obviously there is a delicate smell, but it's very weak and not worth mentioning (you can't smell it at 20 paces like a good cup of coffee!).

Dandelion coffee is said to be a good tonic for the liver. A bitter tonic made from the dandelion root is also used as a laxative. "It is a liver and kidney tonic, it improves digestion, it cleanses the blood and is an ideal diuretic because of its richness in minerals (it contains vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, K, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc)."

To make a tea from Dandelion leaves, pour boiling water over two teaspoons of dried Dandelion leaves (or four teaspoons of freshly chopped) and steep for ten minutes. Strain, and drink three to four cups daily as needed. While Dandelion leaf tea is extremely safe, it's always a good idea to increase your intake of potassium-rich foods such as apples, bananas, carrots, oranges, and potatoes when using a diuretic.

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