Sydney and Melbourne are home to some of the greatest coffee shops and biggest coffee snobs in the world. Coffee is a cult in Australia, but as with any addiction, there are side effects. Perhaps that explains the rise in popularity in the coffee alternative ‘LSD’ amongst Australians. But what is LSD and would you swap your daily coffee for it?  Read on to find out more.

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Despite cheekily borrowing an acronym from a less than salubrious hallucinogenic, this beverage offers a health enhancing, environmentally and ethically sound coffee substitute. LSD stands for latte(s) of soya milk and dandelion. Could this humble herbal concoction help you to kick the caffeine habit? These 10 convincing arguments may just persuade you to give up coffee in favor of LSD, and may change your perception about a plant often rejected and labelled a weed.

1. The taste

Baristas prepare the LSD by dropping ground dandelion roots into an espresso machine and froth up soya milk in the same way as they make a regular Latte. Usually dusted with cinnamon, the dark brown liquid has a satisfying nutty richness and a touch of bitterness, although compared to regular coffee it can taste almost sweet. Many blends contain favorite tipple of the ancient Egyptians, chicory root.

2. It’s nutrient rich

According to the University of Maryland Dandelion is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, plus minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.  Coffee, on the other hand, is known to deplete minerals from the body.

3. Reduces caffeine consumption

Dandelion contains no caffeine, so there’s no unnatural high and subsequent crash. A study by psychologist Peter Rogers at Bristol University found that although frequent consumers may feel more alert after drinking coffee, that this is merely the reversal of the fatiguing effects of acute caffeine withdrawal. Given the increased propensity to anxiety and raised blood pressure induced by caffeine consumption, there is no net benefit to be gained.

4. Good for digestion and improving stomach health/h3>

In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems. According to the University of Maryland, dandelion root can act like a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion. For maximum benefit of course, you should eat the greens too!

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5. Helps you give up coffee without withdrawal headaches

One of the biggest barriers to giving up any addiction is the withdrawal symptoms. When giving up coffee or tea, it’s possible to experience headaches and foggy thinking for days. Dandelion will help you with that as it’s known to relieve headaches and nutritionists suggest using it to help with coffee withdrawal.

6. Helps support the liver and gall bladder

Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder. Coffee is also known to mess with blood sugar levels and blood pressure, switching to dandelion can therefore help regulate your blood sugar and blood pressure.

7. More likely to be fairly traded

Oxfam points out that the majority of coffee beans are produced by small-scale farmers in developing countries. They have little bargaining power in an industry dominated by a few large and powerful international coffee buyers, so they’re forced to accept low and unstable prices for their beans.  Dandelion can be found in your local health food shop, often local varieties are sold. You can also easily grow your own.

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8. Organic

Coffee plantations are typically treated with pesticides or fertilizer. Of course, organic coffee beans do exist, but they only make up 0.5 percent of the total coffee marketplace. It’s cheaper and easier to find organic dandelion roots. It’s also easy to grow and harvest them from your own pesticide-free lawn. Health food stores typically offer organic prepared dandelion root.

9. Local

Unless you’re based in a coffee growing region, it’s likely your beans travelled thousands of miles producing plenty of carbon dioxide emissions in the process. Dandelion coffee is easily made from local ingredients. You can even grow, roast and brew it yourself. How about constructing a vertical garden or window box to house your fresh supply?

10. Reduces marine pollution

Just to add one more compelling environmental reason to step away from that cappuccino.  Inhabitat recently reported that a new study suggests the Pacific ocean is polluted with coffee.

Would you switch your coffee for this more sustainable buzz? So what are you waiting for? Melbournians should head to CERES cafe set on a beautiful city farm to sample one of the best LSDs out there. Sydneysiders will be able to pick one up near to Bondi Beach or at Ampersand bookstore and cafe on popular Oxford Street. Well known dandelion root brands to look out for include Bonvit, Kintra, Dandyblend or for instant varieties Symingtons and Thompsons.

Images via Liz Eve, Wikimedia Commons and Ceres Melbourne

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