Dandelion coffee

Harvested roots of the dandelion plant. Each plant has one taproot.

Dandelion 'coffee' (also dandelion tea) is herbal tea used as a 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.


Susanna Moodie explained how to prepare dandelion 'coffee' in her memoir of living in Canada, Roughing it in the bush[1] (1852), where she mentions that she had heard of it from an article published in the 1830s in New York Albion by a certain Dr. Harrison. Dandelion 'coffee' was later mentioned in a Harpers New Monthly Magazine story in 1886.[2] In 1919, dandelion root was noted as a source of cheap 'coffee'.[3] It has also been part of edible plant classes dating back at least to the 1970s.[4]


Roasted dandelion root, ready to be used to prepare dandelion coffee.

Harvesting dandelion roots requires differentiating 'true' dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) 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 3–4 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.


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.[5]

Packaged dandelion root coffee


As of 2012 dandelion coffee was being researched for a possible role in cancer treatment.[6]


Unroasted Taraxacum officinale (among other dandelion species) root contains:

Sesquiterpene lactones
Phenolic acids
Cyanogenic glycosides
Sesquiterpene lactones (of the germacranolide type)


  1. Moodie, Susanna. Roughing it in the bush. McClelland and Stewart. p. 385. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  2. Whiting, Julia D. (1886-09-01). "The End of a Love Match". Harpers New Monthly Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  3. "Much of the surpassing cheap brand coffee is made from dandelion root, according to Prof. William Trelease, of the department of botany at the University of Illinois." Jul 6, 1919 p. V13 Los Angeles Times
  4. Edible Wild Plants Class to Feature Dandelion Coffee Jun 16, 1977 p. CS8 Los Angeles Times
  5. D’Alessandro, Ruth. "Naturenet: Costa Coffee? Free actually (Instructions for making dandelion coffee)". Naturenet. Naturenet. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  6. "Dandelion tea touted as possible cancer killer" (Pat Jeflyn/CBC Feb 16, 2012 CBC NEWS http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/02/16/wdr-dandelion-tea-cancer-killer.html
  7. Ahmad, Viqar Uddin; Yasmeen, Shazia; Ali, Zulfiqar; Khan, Murad Ali; Choudhary, M. Iqbal; Akhtar, Farzana; Miana, Ghulam Abbas; Zahid, Muhammad (2000). "Taraxacin, a New Guaianolide fromTaraxacum wallichii". Journal of Natural Products. 63 (7): 1010–1011. doi:10.1021/np990495+. ISSN 0163-3864.
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