Thursday, 13 January 2011

roasted dandelion root coffee and tea

My aunt has a never-ending battle with the dandelions in her garden. She occasionally makes the best of it by using their leaves for salads, but I somehow doubt a peaceful harmony will ever be achieved. I figured we might as well make the most of it while it's there, and I knew that a caffeine-free, coffee-like drink could be made out of roasting dandelion roots, so when I visited recently, I decided to try my luck with those pesky dandelions.

First I struggled with the dandelion plants in the garden. These tough little critters have strong, stubborn roots and will fight to their bitter end. I gave up soon after, as you can probably tell by my meagre harvest.

dandelion roots, washed but not yet trimmed.

After cleaning and trimming the dandelion roots, I placed them in the oven, and gleefully zapped them with the dry heat. Roasted dandelion roots are toasty and nutty in aroma. Beautiful. However, I was a bit hasty in getting them out of the oven, so as you can see, they are not as dark as they can be, and some are still very pale inside. (Note: I roasted them at 160C/320F for only about half an hour - they would definitely benefit from more time in the oven to bring them to a deep coffee colour.)

oven-roasted dandelion roots

Still, they were sufficiently fragrant and brittle so I decided to just go ahead and use them. At this point, you can actually brew them like a tea, or grind them into a coffee-like powder. I opted for the latter, using a mortar and pestle, which resulted in this dandelion "coffee" powder!

dandelion root coffee powder

Okay, so this barely made a quarter cup of beverage. It was, as expected, fairly bitter, so I added a pinch of raw sugar as well. I offered most to my uncle as he likes coffee and I wanted to know what he thought - he was pleasantly surprised at how coffee-like it was.

I fumbled my way through this without any guidance. I did hop online afterwards, though, and found some ideas that would come in helpful if I should make this again, such as dehydrating the dandelion roots at a lower heat first, and then cranking up the temperature, stirring perhaps once or twice for a more uniform roast, and to prevent them from getting burnt. Some people also add spices, which I imagine would go wonderfully well, and give it a chai-tea-like quality.

I would love to improve upon my first attempt - but that would mean doing battle with the dandelions once more. Better start working on those biceps...

14 comments:

  1. OoOoooo... for a moment there I thought you were doing that with ginseng roots! Hahah.. but what a clever thing to do! Have you given up caffeine???!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh no, just trying something new! Although I do sometimes experience an intolerance to coffee - I don't know whether it's the caffeine or some other compound. I still sneak in small doses every now and then though. :p

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, that is SUCH a unique ingredient. I would have never thought to roast or make a coffee of dandelion root - but it sounds a bit romantic :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've seen dandelion coffee/tea in shops, hence the idea to make it.

    There is nothing romantic about me doing my haphazard thing in the kitchen, though. ;) You on the other hand... :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I LOVE dandelion tea! It's so good for you too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. never had dandelion tea before. Maybe if I see it, I should give it a shot.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh wow!! I remember having dandelion coffee a bit in high school, because a friend had the storebought kind, but I'd never imagined making it at home! Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How interesting! I have no idea that we could make it into tea

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow that sounds really interesting! Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so impressed, a very clever way to deal with those pesky weeds. And it must have been pretty satisfying to roast the bejesus out of them...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am admittedly not a coffee fan, but this may convert me. :)

    By the way, couldn't find a place to comment in general, but the "sloth meets gluttony" phrase deserves to go down as one of the best and evocative ever.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks everyone! And thank you sssourabh for loving my tagline. :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. When using dandelion as an herbal remedy for digestive issues, take 3-5 grams of dried root or 5-10 ml of a tincture made from the root three times a day. When using dandelion as a diuretic, make tea by adding one cup of boiling water to 4-10 grams of dried dandelion leaves. May be used up to three times a day.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails