Thursday, October 28, 2010

okra coffee

I have mentioned  making okra coffee several  times in the past but never have  I explained  why I make it or how easy it is to make.

Anyone that pays any attention to economics knows that prices are on the rise and have been for some time now. Until a  couple months ago we were a long term unemployed couple  beginning to believe that neither of us would ever find work again so everywhere where we could cut spending, we did. Coffee was one of those areas as there are several plants, nuts, and seeds that can make a suitable substitute or used to stretch the real thing.  Of the many things we taste tested, we found the okra to have the best flavor,  be the least amount of work, and  it was something we could grow as a food source for ourselves and the critters  yet still have  plenty  to supplement  our coffee supply.

Anyone that has ever grown  okra  knows what it is like when you miss a couple days of harvesting and it gets away from you. You end up with a giant, tough pod  that is not fit for human consumption. Even a die hard seed saver can  justify saving just so many seeds in a year  so why not  use them  as a different food source?  We plant a lot of okra here on the land  because we like okra and all the critters like okra. But, come the end of the season  when we are sick of fetchin okra every day I leave the pods to grow  and either dry on the plant or pick them once very large and dry  the pods. These trays I obviously picked. The plants were so heavy they were laying on the ground.
Once the pods are dried they will be an olive and brown color and crunchy to the touch. Open them up and  you  will find the seed all  nice a dry as well. Toss the outside to the compost  and roast the seeds until  near blackened. You can do this slowly  on the stove top but be careful as the seeds will pop like corn.  Grind and brew  with same measurements as coffee.  If you  must have your caffeine, mix half and half with coffee and brew.

Keep in mind, this is not coffee,doesn't taste like coffee in the sense we are used to, and there is no caffeine in it. There is  one type of plant in  the USA that does have caffeine and can serve as a coffee substitute and that is in the holly family. It is however  a really economical, easy way to stretch what coffee you do have or  a nice un-caffeinated hot beverage on those cold afternoon.


  1. Very cool, I'm going to give this a shot when I bring in my okra seed this fall.

    So, what's the plant in the US that does have caffeine and is used as a coffee substitute?

  2. is is a type of holly that has caffeine in it..

  3. Can okra grow in Rigby Idaho? I have not heard of anybody growing it here...but we grew it back in southern indiana... I LOVE IT!!


    Oh ya...what is the exact name of the caffiene holly and where does it grow?



  6. chicory root is what the old timers made "coffee" out of. havent had it, but those who have jus LUV it!!!
    it grows as a wildflower round here in the ditches n such... havent tried it yet, but one day i will!!!

  7. This is VERY neat to learn, thanks! After many years of trying, I still can't grow many veggies in my poor soil, but okra is one that I've had success with. And I do know about how they can get too big and woody so quickly. Daddy recently told me they picked theirs everyday, oops.

    Now I'll save the big pod's seeds to hopefully stretch expensive coffee, or Heaven forbid be able to serve coffee alternative should coffee become scarce.

    I also want to learn if the kind of chicory that makes chicons could also be used as a coffee alternative. I think it would be awesome to have cut off tender leaves during spring and summer, collect the roots to force as chicons during fall/winter, then after a few chicons have been made, chop/roast the roots for coffee. If all that's possiblee, that would be a lot of goodies from just one plant ^_^

    PS: Here's the info on caffeine from holly:

  8. The question about what the US plant is that has caffeine and has been used as a coffee substitute needs a disclaimer. Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) has been marketed since 2012 by a company as a tea, but it has been heavily processed. Hollies are POISONOUS. Only a few red berries can kill a child or a small pet. It is the leaves and bark that are used for the tea. It was used in Native American male purification rituals that involved VOMITING. That is the reason the plant is called Ilex VOMITORIA. Hollies come in male and female plants. I don't know which sex plant is the one used for tea. BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE, IF YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE THIS ON YOUR OWN.

    1. Ilex vomitoria was used in vomiting ceremonies in great quantity, and the quantity they were consuming played a role in the vomiting. Eastern NC people have been picking and roasting yaupon leaves for hundreds of years without getting poisoned or throwing up. We don't eat the berries which we recognize as poisonous. I have never heard of anyone using the bark, either. Recommend anyone wanting to try yaupon tea look for a vendor online that has a lot of successful sales under their belt, and try it that way.

  9. Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!..

  10. This was a fun experiment - trying to make okra coffee. We didn't have as much success as you seem to have ;-) - you can see our okra coffee experiment at our blog -