I’m all for saving the dandelions for the bees, except when they invade my strawberry patch. I’d tear out tomato volunteers if they got between me and my strawberries.
There are always a couple of dandelions that land in just the wrong place, and pulling them up by the root ensures they don’t just come right back. So now you’ve got dandelion plants, roots and all.
Well, when life gives you dandelion root, make dandelion coffee!
Dandelion root coffee is what first got me interested in herbs, mostly by accident. I’m not that old, but I still hadn’t seen a computer until high school. My school library got a grant for the first school computers my freshman year, and we were all taken for a token 15 minutes each.
I sat down, not really knowing what to do with the thing.
On the screen in front of me was a yahoo search page, and sitting right there was an ad saying “Make coffee from dandelion roots.” Who knows why I got that particular ad at that moment, but I was intrigued, and down the rabbit hole I went. It’s been nearly 20 years, and herbs and foraging are among my greatest passions.
After all that though, I never actually made the dandelion coffee. Believe it or not, there were very few dandelions growing up. Lawns were manicured, and a stray dandelion was an embarrassment.
Now on my Vermont homestead, the dandelions run wild! I harvested a pile of dandelion roots for a dandelion tincture, and I couldn’t help but save some aside for my first cup of dandelion coffee.
Harvesting Dandelion Root
Dandelion roots don’t pull up easily from our hard clay soils. It took a trowel and later a full-on shovel to get these babies out intact.
Look for dandelion rosettes popping out of the soil in the early spring, before they’ve gone to flower. Once the dandelions have gone to flower the roots will shrink and become bitter and woody as the plant sends energy up to the flower.
If you’ve missed them in the early spring, you can always buy dried dandelion root online. That’ll save you a lot of time, as hunting down and digging up the dandelion roots took quite a while. I found it takes about 15 dandelion roots to make enough dry roasted dandelion root for a cup of coffee.
Preparing Dandelion Root for Roasting
Once you have the roots, wash them thoroughly. Chop off the upper leaves and save those for a tasty dandelion salad later.
I separated the smaller, scraggly parts of the roots out because they’ll just burn during roasting. The small root pieces are going right into a dandelion tincture, and these big hunks are ready for the oven.
Roasting Dandelion Root
Most online instructions will tell you to roast fresh dandelion root at 400 degrees F (roughly 200 C) for 30 minutes until they’re completely dry and brown, but not burned. My oven tends to run a bit hot, and I was concerned about scorching them, so I set the oven to 350 degrees and roasted them for 40 minutes. They came out perfect. Dry and toasted, but not burned.
If you’re starting with a purchased bag of dried dandelion root, the roasting is much faster. Roast dried dandelion root at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
If you want to skip all these steps, and just get to making some dandelion root coffee, traditional medicinals sell it in convenient tea bags, all roasted ready to go. There’s also a company that makes an instant dandelion coffee mix.
Making Dandelion Root Coffee
Once your dandelion root is roasted, it’s time to make coffee. Really, dandelion root coffee is made more like a tea, and you don’t actually have to grind the dandelion root.
The book Backyard Medicine recommends mixing the dandelion roots with cardamom or cinnamon and fennel for a warm, spicy flavor. Sure, why not?
The added spices are optional, and if you want just coffee flavor, stick with just plain roasted dandelion root.
Boil the roasted dandelion root along with spices of your choice for about 10-15 minutes. I started with 2 cups of water, but after the simmering time, I had exactly one cup of dandelion coffee. Strain the mix through a fine-mesh strainer and it’s ready to drink.
What Does Dandelion Coffee Taste Like?
So now that it’s all said and done, what does dandelion coffee actually taste like? Honestly, I think it tastes pretty well like coffee, but without the acid. The same warm earthy tones, and a very mild coffee bitterness, but none of the acid.
I added a splash of homemade maple syrup and a little milk, and my 3-year-old daughter loved it. She was right there harvesting the dandelion roots with me, and she was excited to drink up the fruits of her labor.
She always wants to have coffee time with me in the morning, and I can see that she’ll be excited about a small cup of dandelion coffee in the future.
This caffeine-free wild foraged dandelion coffee is tasty on its own, or with a bit of milk or sugar added.
Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
This caffeine-free wild foraged dandelion coffee is tasty on its own, or with a bit of milk or sugar added.
Please don’t sell my email address. But I have a question. My strawberries are really overcrowded. Is there a good time to move them and if so how do you keep the runners from going where you don’t want them. Thanks.
Hi Kim! I never sell email addresses, and honestly, I wouldn’t even know how. I’m just a mom that writes a DIY website, not a big corporate entity or something like that, so no worries.
I do happen to have an article on transplanting strawberries from overcrowded beds here: https://practicalselfreliance.com/transplanting-strawberries/
Hope this helps!
I know this is a few years old now but for anyone that stumbles across this it may be helpful so I will necrothread this. My wife and I grow strawberries both inside our greenhouse and a good ways away from the greenhouse.
Traditional thinking is that it’s best to transplant while the plant is dormant or early in Spring when the plant is just starting to wake up and has the entire growing season to get over the shock of being moved. That may be required for some plants but with our strawberries not so much. We both work 40 hour plus weeks so gardening tasks are worked in around that by necessity meaning timing does not always follow the traditional view of things. Our strawberries have been moved over the years at all stages of their growth and provided they were given good soil and fertilizer they produced just as many berries as the plants not moved.
As to your other question about the runners – there is nothing you can do. That is just the way the plant grows. I have several types of strawberry plant and that’s just how they grow and propagate. They send out a runner and the end of that runner sends down new roots when it finds an ideal spot and births a new plant. With the plants growing in soil all you can do is turn them back to the area you want them to grow in or clip them at the stalk they grew from if your bed is already crowded. We still keep a few beds well away from our large greenhouse. We get some berries from these beds but mostly they’re self-propagating bait for the animals. If you provide literally low hanging fruit the animals seem satisfied and don’t try to get into the greenhouse. We simply have the beds outlined with cheap concrete pavers from the discount home center near us and turn back any runners that try to escape.
In the greenhouse we have them hanging and allow the runners to hang down out of the pots. This is kind of their natural way of growing. They’re vines. Hanging down doesn’t hurt them. With the entire runner exposed to sunlight but kept from soil it uses it’s energy to propagate the only other way it can; by producing flowers and fruit. These hanging plants will produce huge berries all the way up and down the runners hanging down their seven foot length. We get enough strawberries from these to handle all of our seasonal strawberry shortcake needs as well as a year long supply of homemade and canned strawberry jam. We still have plenty left over that we slice and freeze and then keep bagged up in the freezer for cooking throughout the year.
I don’t understand. After food processing, roasting, and brewing using several methods, mine comes out looking more like a transparent golden tea than it does a rich chocolaty brown like in all of the photos I always see. What am I doing wrong
Hmmm…a couple of things I might guess. Maybe not roasting it as dark as I did? The darker the roast on the roots, the darker the brew. The second thing is maybe it’s not brewed as strongly. I’d say though, that’s it’s probably the roast as I was just short of burning the roots when I roasted them for this batch.
Hi, I have a question about this. Do you have to roast the roots right before you use them or can you roast a big batch for future use and if so how long do they keep?
Roast them ahead of time. When they’re roasted and totally dried, the roots are very dry and should keep a very long time.
Thanks for the recipe. Not sure if I like it yet!! In these troubled times it might be handy to know how to make it though!
Love your website – thanks x
Hi there, quick question… Can I use the roots without roasting to make tea?
Yes. The flavor is very different, much less like coffee but it does still make a fine tea.
I make my coffee substitute by mixing 1/2 roasted dandelion root and 1/2 roasted chicory root. I mix the two and store it in a Mason jar and make the coffee in my Ikea French press (two tsp, let stand for about 5 min). I’ve always purchased my roasted dandelion root it’s pricy so found your post when looking up how to toast my own. Anyway, just thought I’d share my tip for an easy daily coffee substitute.
I used to do this 1/2 and half brew also but when I became pregnant I found out that chicory is not safe for pregnancy and now I’m breastfeeding and there is debate on whether chicory is safe for breastfeeding as well, so I found Ashley’s recipe online and love it! I mix it with a paste of 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cacao (or cocoa) powder and 1 tbsp of coconut milk in the bottom of my 22oz mug and pour the freshly brewed dandelion tea over that, mix well and add almond milk to taste. It’s like a dandelion mocha! Soooo delicious! Thanks for the recipe Ashley! I hope to do some foraging for my own roots in the future. For now I but the root in bulk and roast it myself 🙂
I plan on trying pretty much everything I live off the grid. I enjoy recipes from the old way it’s been awhile since I’ve been anywhere but I have lots of dandy lines up here and lambs quarters they making my salads from lambsquarters and Danny lines and left you spinach leaves that are growing. Have been looking forward to seeing all your recipes and thanks of the old way. Thank you so much Joe.
You’re welcome, Joe!
I’ve bought unroasted dandelion powder by mistake and tried to roast it myself in the oven but it went on fire just in a few minutes. Any ways to actually roads it? I loved drinking dandelion coffee. Thank you.
I’d try dry roasting it in a pan, that might be gentler (and less fire-prone) than the oven. Good luck, I hope it works for you!
Just tried it (thank you emmy made in japan for linking to it) and holy fork it actually works. I am by no means a coffee expert but my hubby drinks it on a daily basis and he is surprised at how similair it is.
Small addition to the recipy: American teaspoon units are not the same as physical teaspoons. I’d say use three spoonfulls if you are using an actual teaspoon to measure rather then a ‘teaspoon’ measuring cup. My cup was a little weakly flavoured, but that’s a personal thing of course.
Absolutly love it, will check the site for more.
Are you supposed to peel the roots before you roast them?
No, there is no need to peel them before roasting.
Good recipe! I just tried it and it’s got kind of a nutty flavor.
So glad you liked it.
I have been adding roasted dandelion root to my regular coffee for years now.
It is delicious ( some folks can’t taste it just that is is good), less caffeine and
healthy also. FYI
I agree on the roasting time. Same with the brewing time.
One comment I wanted to make is that I left some for a day or two because I weeded the garden and had too much… And now the tea I made WAS NOT as good! There must be some compound that changes if you leave them too long. So… When you say fresh, you mean FRESH! 🙂
I also like to leave them in the hot oven overnight just in case to make sure they’re really dry and crunchy – then I know they won’t grow mold in the jar.
I found that hosing a pile of them with a good blast of water was my easiest way to get rid of enough dirt to get to roasting.
Hi! So excited to try. Although, I’ve read that dandelion is somewhat unsafe for children to consume.
I actually haven’t heard that before. I would love to do some more research on it. Do you have any references that we could look at with this information?
What are the caffeine/vitamin ingredients to this coffee substitute? Very intrigued.
I’m not sure what the exact nutritional values are but if you did a quick internet search, you could probably find it. Let us know if you do.
Hi I am new to your website
can you advise where is the best place to purchase Dandelion Root and chicory root?
thank you for all the great information, greatly appreciated
I usually just get them from my front yard but if you don’t have access to dandelions then you can check with a reputable herb supplier like Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Co-Op or Starwest Botanicals.
do you have any recipes for dadilon appetisers
You can probably find something on this post.
The picture of your daughter with her milk coffee is precious! It takes me back to when I was the little blonde kid who begged for my coffee too. Thanks for the lovely recipe and your wonderful site!
You’re very welcome. So glad you enjoyed the post.