Chicory coffee is a beverage made using the roots of the chicory plant, which are roasted, ground and brewed into a coffee-like drink. … Chicory coffee tastes similar to coffee but has a flavor that’s often described as slightly woody and nutty. It’s used either on its own or mixed with coffee to complement its flavor.
Following previous French practices, New Orleans locals turned to chicory to help satisfy their coffee cravings According to the Smithsonian.com, during the American Civil War, Louisianans looked to adding chicory root to their coffee when Union naval blockades cut off the port of New Orleans. With shipments coming to a halt, desperate New Orleanians looking for their coffee fix began mixing things with coffee to stretch out the supply. Acorns or beets (cafe de betterave) also did the trick. Though chicory alone is devoid of the alkaloid that gives you a caffeine buzz, the grounds taste similar and can be sold at a lower rate.
Because chicory is used variously, locals could drink it on its own or mix it in with their coffee as a flavor complement.