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Wild Coffee Substitutes

For many, the ritual of getting the day started is preceded by a good cup of coffee. I reckon one could say that is how they get their day started, moreover, one can hardly imagine what it would be like if they didn’t have their coffee.

For the outdoorsman the aroma of brewing coffee over an open campfire is second to none, except maybe to sizzling bacon.

We don’t always have the luxury of having coffee every time we crave it. And when you’re trekking the outdoors, one can often find themselves left with nothing more than the want of coffee. The learned outdoorsman has a distinct advantage in that there are coffee substitutes in nature, suitable to waylay the desire of the roasted bean.

Root chicory (Cichorium intybus var. sativum) has been cultivated in Europe as a coffee substitute. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive, especially in the Mediterranean region (where the plant is native). As a coffee additive, it is also mixed in Indian filter coffee, and in parts of Southeast Asia, South Africa and southern United States, particularly in New Orleans. It has been more widely used during economic crises such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and during World War II in Continental Europe.

Cleavers are in the same family as coffee. The fruits of cleavers have often been dried and roasted, and then used as a coffee substitute which contains a much lower amount of caffeine

Dandelion coffee (also dandelion tea) is a tisane or “herbal tea”, and 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.

Fact is, there are a lot of substitutes, including corn, wheatbran, soybeans and others, the three above seem to be fairly common

This time of year, however, no article would be complete without mentioning acorns. For it is now that acorns are abundant and ready to be gathered for various culinary meals. Yes acorns are a good coffee substitute, though lack the caffeine.

The following video shows how to make acorn coffee. And in case you’re wondering, the roasting process gets rid of the tannins in the acorns