Monday, November 23, 2009

alternative coffee(like) brews

I enjoy experimenting with things and one of my latest phases of experiments has been in finding a suitable and economical replacement for coffee if the need arises. I enjoy the caffeine that coffee has however my enjoyment from anything more than one than that first cuppa day is from the hot drink aspect of things rather than a caffeine kick. I really enjoy a hot beverage in the afternoon hours during the winter and i truly don't need the added caffeine at 4 pm.

Why dont i grow coffee you ask? I simply do not have the patience to sit n watch it grow for a couple years and then have it produce one lousy bean nor do we have the space to grow such plants. Besides, caffeine isnt something all together good for us and it is a rather expensive habit to have. I figure why not find something that could either serve as a good drink on its own or use it to supplement coffee supplies should we no longer to be able to afford to buy it.

Now keep in mind fake coffee has no caffeine but at the same time remember there are very few native American plants that do contain caffeine.Also remember that any alternative coffee is not going to be the same as the real thing.

my experiments thus far and my thoughts on each

Okra was my first experimental brew that i made. We had had many many days of rain and some of my okra got out of control and much of it snapped off due to heavy rains. It was not to the point of being able to dry them for seed purposes but eating them was not in the best interest of our teeth. I remembered reading somewhere that okra seed had been used as a substitute for coffee and my experiments thus began.

It was better than i expected and was definitely drinkable. It takes a fair bit of seed to make any considerable amount of grounds.(5 gallon bucket of pods made about 3 pots of coffee). It would be really good to mix half and half with coffee grounds to stretch the coffee. You need more of the okra seed to make a cup of coffee, plain and at coffee measurements it was pretty weak.
It was very easy to make and i actually enjoyed drinking something resembling coffee at 5 pm and knowing i could sleep later on..I will be making this again when okra gets out of hand or at the end of a season and i am letting the okra go to seed .

Next up was rice coffee. I had read that in countries where they grow rice it is often used as a substitute because real coffee was not affordable to them.

This brew was very good. Very nice taste and somehow almost coffee like.It so far has been the easiest to prepare which is a bonus if ya really need a fix and quick. It however it is not economical in any way shape or form. 1/2 cup of rice for a pot of coffee is probably more costly than actual coffee. Perhaps if you live in the Philippines and grow rice it would be cost effective but here it sure isn't.

Acorns were a staple food to the Native Americans way back when and they are a staple for us at the homestead. We have been using them in many of our foods for the last couple of years now. One thing i had never tried with them was making a coffee until today.

I will probably never choose to make this one again. It was very mild in flavor almost lacking but with the overall taste of tannin water. Just not something i would choose to drink if i had anything else on hand . Acorns are also a whole lot of work to make edible to begin with so unless you use them on a regular basis and have them on hand, not feasible for a quick fix.

I am not sure what I will try next in my experiment on the coffee. I know I enjoy chicory but that is rarely found around here without planting it yourself and why bother testing something you know you like. I do believe I have read you can grind and parch corn and it supposed to be "just like coffee.". If anyone has heard of strange brews but is scared to try them on their own let me know and I will give them a go and report back with my thoughts.

a few photos of my brews

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