Dandelion coffee. I have wanted to give this a go for a while. It is a way for me to begin reconnecting with the natural world and what it has to offer. To start foraging one really does not have to trudging through the countryside in search of those edible plants that most of us simply ignore on our walks, our very own back garden can be a great source and this is how I got started on the dandelion coffee.
My partner who does most of the gardening, OK, all of it actually. He shouted through the door “Would you like a dandelion root?”, “Yes please”. I needed no more persuasion and by the time I was off to work it was sitting on the kitchen worktop awaiting my attention.
The jug in the picture is just my preparation of peppermint tea, I take a flask to work daily. So, according to the SAS Survival guide that I’m slowly reading the root should not be peeled but simply washed and scrubbed to get rid of the mud, trim the green bits off and that’s it. Ready to bake.
I popped this onto an oven proof dish and baked it in the oven at 150C for an hour. The SAS Survival Guide says it should be cooked until brittle and after and hour this is what I got. I tested it by pressing against the hot baked root with the back of a spoon, it cracked and crunched with relative ease, I was happy. Left to cool I then transferred it all into a bowl and began slowly crushing with the spoon. I did not want to use anything more sophisticated because in a wild camping situation you are very unlikely to have a blender with you.
The result was more pleasant than I was expecting, the more I crushed the root the smell of coffee began to emerge and once I was done it both smelled like and had the look and feel of coffee. This is completely caffeine free. I don’t drink coffee but I was willing to give this a go. I would say it could be improved with a drop of honey but that really is a personal taste, although very palatable in my opinion it had a slightly bitter edge but nothing I couldn’t put up with.
Making the coffee is simple, make it just as you would an ordinary cup of coffee with just the same amount you would have on your spoon but keep it black for now. Once made it then needs straining into another mug because the bits do not dissolve. That’s it, just add whatever sweetener or milk you want and enjoy. I have put mine in a small airtight container for next time i want it but next spring I intend to make more.