The essence of that coffee taste is a roasted flavour. Acorns are a good choice – so is dandelion root.
1. Harvest and Wash
Dig up as many taproots as you can. The bigger the plant, the likely that the root is older. The older the root, the likely it is bigger.
Wash the roots as best as possible. There will still be dirt. My grandmother used to say “You’ll eat a pound of dirt before you die” and I live by those words.
3. Chop and roast in the oven
Roast for 30 minutes at 250C
4. Store the roasted roots and grind before use
Use a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or mince with a knife. Add boiling water to the ground, roasted roots.
- A Canadian colonist documented using dandelion roots for coffee in 1835. She mentions that the roots are best collected in the fall when the bitter juices are no longer concentrated in the stem and flower (we want the bitterness in the taproot so it mimics coffee). She also talks about preserving the brown skin in the cleaning process as this is where much of the bitter coffee-like flavour resides. (https://books.google.ca/books?id=2du9h4r9b2AC p. 168-169)
- As with all foraging, avoid any obvious or potentially toxic areas whether contaminated water runoff or pesticides/herbicides/fungicides
- I’ve seen recipes where the roots are ground and then roasted or roasted and then immediately ground. Like coffee, I figure that grinding hastens the loss of flavour by oxidisation, so I kept the roots relatively whole until use.