How To Make Your Own
Dandelion Root Tea
(a.k.a., Coffee)

Dateline 6 September 2013



I have been craving dandelion root tea. When I worked my prison job I always had a box of Alvita Dandelion Root Tea in my desk and I drank it often. I made it with two tea bags and let it steep a long time, so it was as strong as I could get it.

People would come in my office, smell the tea, and wonder what it was. My co-workers thought it odd that I drank dandelion root tea. There was even some joking at my expense over the years because of it. 

The fact is, a hot mug of dandelion root tea is one of the most uniquely satisfying, down-to-earth drinks I've ever experienced. Besides that, from an herbal perspective, the tea is supposed to be a profoundly good general tonic. Among other things, it's good for the liver. 

With that in mind, I think my recent craving of this unusual tea was my body telling me that it needed something that only the tea could provide. So I set out to make myself a cup of Taraxacum officinale root tea. But, for the first time in my life, I decided to bypass the store-bought version and make my own, from scratch. This is the story of how I did it. 

First, I went to YouTube and watched a few how-to videos. I came to the conclusion that This One was the best of the bunch. I followed the directions there and was well pleased with the results. You should watch that video, but the following pictures will give you a nice little overview.


I happen to have a field full of good, organic weeds, including a lot of dandelions, just like the one you see above.



I dug the roots with a shovel. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The just-dug root shown above is but one example.



After I had collected a bunch of roots, I dumped them on a screen, which is across my homemade Whizbang garden cart ( a very handy homestead tool).



The picture above shows the roots after spraying them off with a hose. I washed them further by putting them in a bowl, filling it with water, sloshing them around, and pouring the dirtied water off. I did that about 4 times before the water poured off clean (and that was an indication that the roots were sufficiently cleaned).



There are a couple of options for processing the cleaned roots. One option is to dry them thoroughly, then grind them to pieces in a blender before roasting. The other is to chop them in a food processor, then dry, then roast. I opted for the latter option, as the video I recommended above explains.



The food processor chops the roots into a uniformly fine consistency, as the picture above shows. Once that was done, I spread the ground roots out on a cookie pan and dried them in the oven at around 200°.  Then I roasted them in the same pan with the temperature turned up to 350°. I don't have pictures of this process, but the YouTube video explains it pretty well.



The picture above shows some of the roasted root I made. I ended up with a quart canning jar about 3/4 full. That will last a long time. But I hope to make another batch before the snows get here.



I "brew" a cup of tea by slowly pouring hot water through the roasted root granules. This method is low-tech, easy to clean up after, and works just fine. The tea is a rich black color. The taste is different from the Alvita tea bags I'm used to. It is much stronger—more bitter. But I like it. I like it a lot, especially with a little cream and maple syrup to sweeten. 

I have thought about making my own dandelion root tea for years, and now I've done it. It turns out that the process is very simple, and very satisfying. The drink satisfies my craving, and making it myself, from roots dug on my own property, satisfies my desire to become less dependent on  supermarkets. Less dependence translates to more freedom.


20 comments:

timfromohio said...

Do you drink this as a substitute for coffee? Does it contain caffeine? I would think a French press may also be an excellent way to "brew" such tea.

Thanks for a great post.

TimfromOhio

Herrick Kimball said...

Tim,
Dandelion root "coffee" lacks caffeine. That's it's only drawback, as far as I'm concerned. But if it is truly a tonic, that means that regular drinking of it will make a body feel better. I have my daily cop of coffee in the morning, and now around noon I'm having "tea time" with a cup of dandelion root tea. It's ten of noon as I'm writing this. I'm looking forward to another cup of the goodness……

odiie said...

Grab me my shovel, I'm headed out to the south 40.
Thanks,
Odiie

Jon C. said...

I didn't go so far as to make my own...yet. I have just tried some store bought dandelion root tea sweetened with my own produced honey and some raw cream and although its a different taste than Ive had before, i think i can grow to like it. the aspect of being able to produce it myself and sweeten it myself is very appealing!

Jonathan Sanders said...

Very interesting. I like strong, black, unsweetened coffee, so I might enjoy this. There is certainly no shortage of dandelions in my neck of the woods! I have a Melitta one-cup basket like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Melitta-Ready-Single-Coffee-Brewer/dp/B0014CVEH6 I used to use at work that would probably be another good option for this. It uses paper filters, but a paper towel or even a piece of reusable cloth would probably work.

Old Orchard Farm said...

Herrick,
For a change of pace try going through the same process with carrots. It is great on a cold winters day. The tea is akin to the old civil war coffee substitute of chickory root, but it has a much better taste (in my opinion). I'll be digging some dandlion root tommorrow, Lord willing, and giving it a try.

Jonathan Sanders said...

I am enjoying my first cup of dandelion root coffee - thanks for the instructional. I used a "Ninja" food processor and the results looked just like the video. I think the cup is pretty mild, and find it enjoyable "straight" (black, no sugar) which is how I drink regular coffee. My wife found the scent of the roasting process a bit objectionable, although the finished product doesn't have a strong odor. Midway through the roast cycle is when the scent was pretty strong.
I brewed this cup by the boil method in the video, then poured it through a paper coffee filter in a strainer. Next time I may just try the Mr Coffee brewer.

Herrick Kimball said...

Odiie,
Let us know how your dandelion root tea turns out.

John C.,
By the time you are through that box of store-bought tea I have a feeling you will be hooked.

Jonathan,
Congratulations on making your own dandelion root tea! Perhaps your experience will serve to inspire others who read this to do the same.

Old Orchard Farm,
Carrots? That's a new one by me. I will give it a try. Thanks.

elmtree said...

Thank you so much for posting about dandelion root coffee roasting! I make it myself, and it is so neat to read of others doing it too. Everyone I have told about it thinks I am rather strange to spend so much time digging up roots and scrubbing them and all, just to make a homemade drink. :)Why not buy it? they say. Because it is expensive, and it doesn't taste as good, right?! I also love coffee and black tea, but I love having this to drink when I want some rich, strong drink and have already had some caffeine!Your whole blog looks good, and I am glad to have run across it. Am looking forward to reading some more on it! God bless!

Anonymous said...

Can you chew fresh of dandelion roots whit no harm caused to you ?

Bobbi Abbott said...

Loved this! I just dug a bunch of dandelion roots this evening. Super exited to start making herbal teas for my family.

Herrick Kimball said...

Bobbi—

I'm glad to know this essay inspired you to make your own dandelion tea. One of the things I neglected to say is that the roots are best dug in the fall, after the plant has had a season of growth behind it.

athomeinalaska said...

I finally made my own dandelion root coffee last fall as well. After years, using the blossoms for wine and fritters, the leaves for salads, I finally made it down to the roots. I didn't have many that were large and straight though so the cleaning process was more time consuming than I liked. It was still worth it knowing, like you said, I was less dependent on a store somewhere. Cream and a little honey on a cold winter morning hits the spot!

Marie said...

I recently tried this using a different recipe, but mine seems really weak. Not dark at all and much less flavor than the traditional medicinals kind that I buy (and love!). But, the recipe I used only called for the two hours of drying and roasting with door ajar - no period of turning up to 350 degrees. I wonder if mine simply did not roast enough...

Pallavi Mulimani said...

thanks for this wonderful information sir.i ll try it soon on my patients .hope to get wonderful results.
for how long should this be used so that we get a good improvement in the ppl??

Penny MacNeil said...

I was surprised at how quickly I felt the results of adding the leaves to my salad in the spring.

We've just had first frost here...is it too late too harvest the roots for the coffee?

Than you.

Herrick Kimball said...

Penny,
I harvested a pail full of roots two days ago, with snowflakes falling, and am roasting them in the oven right now. Harvesting after the frost is better than before. I've recently read that the roots are sweeter when harvested after a cold winter, just before they start to send up growth in the spring. I hope to do some digging then and see if that is true. Best wishes with your dandelion root tea.

patricia mcdermott said...

this is a fantastic detox. mix a strong bath with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of "no sugar added" cranberry juice. fill up a pitcher with water and this mixture and guzzle! i drink this every day to clean my body of toxins from toxic mold damage that i have suffered from living in an infested apartment for 7 years. another plus is you feel great, it reduces inflammation and makes your belly flatter. look up the dandelion.. it is a magical plant and i think the reason they are so hard to get rid of in your yard is because they are just so strong and wonderful! i will never try to get rid of them again and i thank them each time i see their beautiful yellow flowers. the tender new leaves are also wonderful in salads. thanks for this article!

Anonymous said...

I mix it with chicory and it tastes more like coffee.

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