What is the difference between dandelion coffee and actual coffee? Is dandelion coffee real coffee? Does dandelion coffee have caffeine? Does drinking dandelion coffee give you energy like real coffee? Does it make you poop? Does it raise blood pressure like coffee or lower blood pressure? Does dandelion coffee even taste like coffee? Find out how dandelion coffee and actual coffee compare in terms of taste, appearance, benefits and side effects.
What is coffee?
Coffee itself is an infused or boiled drink made from the seeds of the fruit known commonly as the coffee berry or coffee cherry. The scientific name for the coffee plant is Coffea and there are over a hundred different species whose fruit seeds can be used to make coffee. Some of the best known species of coffee are Coffea canephora which yields Robusta coffee, Coffea arabica which yields Arabica coffee, and Coffea liberica which yields Liberian coffee. Coffee seeds, known by the common name ‘coffee beans’ are roasted and ground to a fine powder then brewed to make coffee.
What is dandelion coffee?
Dandelion coffee is an infused or boiled drink made from the root of the dandelion plant, a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family, also known simply as the daisy family or the sunflower family. The scientific name for dandelions is Taraxacum and there are 30 to 60 species of dandelion, each with dozens to hundreds of microspecies, some edible and some not. Taraxacum officinale is the most widespread species of dandelion, dubbed the common dandelion, and its edible root is used to make a coffee substitute.
Dandelion vs coffee: differences
- Dandelion coffee is not real coffee, but a coffee-like beverage. Officially, dandelion coffee is classified as a herbal coffee or coffee substitute like chicory coffee or grains coffee types such as barley coffee.
- Dandelion coffee is made from a different type of plant than coffee: dandelion coffee is made from Taraxacum species vs actual coffee which is made from Coffea species.
- Dandelion coffee is made from a different plant part too, dandelion taproot, whereas actual coffee is made from coffee fruit seeds called coffee beans.
- Both dandelion root and coffee seeds or beans are roasted and ground to a fine powder to produce the coffee material. The difference is dandelion coffee is also available as dried and roasted pieces of root, or just dried root.
- Another difference between dandelion and coffee is that dandelion root can also be used to make tea, not just coffee.
- Both dandelion and regular coffee have different roast levels for different taste intensities. Roasting is done industrially, but dandelion root can be successfully roasted at home in the oven as well.
- Dandelion coffee tastes a lot like coffee, but different at the same time. Dandelion coffee has a rich taste, with warm notes, and is mildly bitter, but without the acidity of coffee. Regular coffee is quite acidic and bitter. Also, vs actual coffee, dandelion coffee is also somewhat earthy in flavor with just a hint of sweetness.
- Dandelion coffee can range in color from a medium to dark reddish brown to black depending on roast levels and root material to water ratio, whereas regular coffee is always black.
- Dandelion coffee is full of benefits for health, and so is actual coffee, but they don’t share the exact the same benefits. Also, benefits that are common to both dandelion and actual coffee are not always produced by the same bioactive compounds.
- One big difference between dandelion coffee and coffee is that dandelion coffee is caffeine free, while coffee naturally contains caffeine.
- While coffee is a stimulant of the nervous and cardiovascular system and helps you stay awake and alert, dandelion coffee can actually make you sleepy because it’s both caffeine free and theine free, not to mention warm and calming.
- Both dandelion coffee and coffee make you poop, but for different reasons. The laxative effects of dandelion coffee are owed to a dietary fiber called inulin vs coffee which owes its laxative effects to caffeine. Another difference is dandelion coffee does not work as fast as coffee when it comes to triggering bowel movements.
- Dandelion coffee does not give you energy like coffee. Regular coffee has caffeine which is stimulating and gives the impression it gives you energy. Dandelion coffee on the other hand is more calming like a caffeine free herbal tea.
- While the best time to drink coffee is in the morning or in the afternoon at the latest, you can drink dandelion coffee at any point during the day, both in the morning and at night because it won’t keep you awake.
- Both dandelion and actual coffee are good for weight loss because they are very low in calories, around 5-10 calories per cup tops. The difference is coffee also stimulates metabolism via caffeine, and gives you energy to keep you alert and active, which supports weight loss efforts.
- In terms of benefits, dandelion coffee is good for high blood pressure because it does not have caffeine and does not raise blood pressure numbers. Moreover, it contains bioactive polyphenols and dietary minerals that contribute towards lower blood pressure. Vs dandelion, coffee is bad for high blood pressure because it has caffeine which raises blood pressure numbers.
- Drinking coffee can worsen existing arrhythmias such as palpitations and extrasystoles, but drinking dandelion coffee doesn’t.
- Both dandelion root coffee and coffee are good for high cholesterol, but for different reasons. The benefits of dandelion root coffee for high cholesterol stem from phytosterols and dietary fiber such as inulin present naturally in the roots. In coffee it’s primarily caffeine that has cholesterol lowering effects via its neuro-stimulating action that helps boost energy metabolism, alertness and supports weight loss efforts.
- Both dandelion and coffee are causes of gastrointestinal side effects, but the side effects are brought on by different compounds. In dandelion coffee it’s dietary fiber like inulin which causes side effects such as gas (flatulence), painful abdominal cramps, loose stools, diarrhea, bloating, excessive burping, and causes IBS to flare up. In coffee it’s caffeine which acts as an irritant of the GI tract walls and causes premature emptying of the bowels with sometimes abnormal, loose, poorly formed stools accompanied by symptoms such as painful abdominal cramps.
- Coffee is an irritant of the GI tract due to its content of caffeine, but dandelion coffee is not. Not just that, but dandelion coffee contains mucilage and pectin with soothing effects on the GI tract.
- Dandelion root coffee has syringin, a compound with antidiabetic effects, as well as contains dietary fiber types such as inulin with further benefits for metabolism and blood sugar. Coffee has caffeine and chlorogenic acid with antidiabetic effects.
- Both types of coffee have hepatoprotective effects. The difference is dandelion coffee owes its benefits for liver health to different bioactive compounds than coffee (e.g. sesquiterpene lactones vs chlorogenic acid).
- Coffee can cause a stomach ache, but dandelion coffee is soothing and can help calm stomach upset.
- Coffee is bad for acid reflux disease, gastritis and stomach ulcers, and causes regurgitation of stomach juices and heartburn. By comparison, dandelion coffee acts like a herbal remedy for GERD, gastritis and ulcer, and soothes digestive upset.
- Both coffee and dandelion coffee have immune system modulating, antioxidant and antitumor properties, but owed to different types of biologically active compounds (e.g. caffeine, chlorogenic acid, various alkaloids vs sesquiterpene lactones, inulin, essential vitamins and minerals).
- Studies show caffeine and caffeine metabolites from coffee have benefits for cognitive functionality driven by nervous system stimulating effects vs dandelion coffee which has a contrary effect, but nonetheless beneficial for the nervous system.
- In terms of side effects, the biggest side effect of dandelion coffee is it’s a major allergen that can cause allergic reactions with anaphylactic shock vs coffee which is overstimulating and can cause insomnia, agitation, restlessness, anxiety, heartburn, high blood pressure and arrhythmias.