Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Dandelion coffee

At the end of my first summer with half an allotment, I was lucky to be offered the other half of the plot.

Someone had taken it on about the same time I did, but soon packed it in. Shoulder high weeds took over and there were regular mutterings amongst the other plot-holders about "One year's seeds is seven year's weeds".

The allotment officer tried to find someone who wanted it, but no one lasted 3 days after that. This half is right next to the entrance gate, and a portion of it is allocated for the council's compostable waste bins, so it wasn't the most attractive plot. But now it is under my care :-)

My first job was to clear all the weeds and that job gave me my first harvest. Once the tall weeds had been cut back, I found the ground covered with Dandelions. Digging the roots up whole was quite a job, but some of the roots looked quite substantial. I don't like wasting anything, so I ended up bringing a sackful home.

Several got discarded on close inspection - half the dandelions suffered from insect damage, so what hope will my veg have! After a lot of scrubbing, they were chopped and dried and shrank down to just this......

And so they have sat on a shelf for a few months until I decided to try roasting a few for some dandelion coffee. One of my secondhand bargains over the summer was a hand-cranked coffee grinder. Of course now I had something to grind it wasn't going to work!

Undeterred I took it apart and realised it just needed tightening. So within minutes I had some freshly ground dandelion.

It did have a vague coffee-likeness, but was not so bitter and more like Barley cup. Very comforting on such a cold day. "Hedgerow Medicine" by J Bruton-Seal and M Seal suggests grinding a few pods of cardamom with it, or even cinnamon or fennel seeds. It is also good for you as it cleanses the liver and skin.

So if you are looking for a free, healthy, locally-grown, caffeine-free alternative, that you can harvest from virtually any garden, playing field or road verge..... then try dandelion :-)


  1. Gosh you are adventurous! Kudos to you for taking on the monster allotment AND making coffee out of weeds. By the sounds of it you could go the whole hog and add a bunch of chai spices for a real treat..
    That coffee grinder is fabulous. I would love to find a secondhand one this year.

    1. Thanks Jo. It was a shock how good it tasted. I will definitely be trying more wild and weedy adventures ;-)