Imagine you wake up one day and find yourself in the middle of an apocalypse. Everything is in ruins around you, and you can’t remember anything. You fill a backpack with your essentials and start your journey to find answers. You gather some more people, and now you’re a bunch of hippies traveling on foot. Now for the food, you kill wild rabbits, and water is in abundance. Everything seems fine until you realize a problem of serious nature. There is no coffee! And without coffee, you can’t even function properly.
Just because coffee is scarce, you can’t give up on it, right? You need to have that power juice that keeps your eyes open in the morning. And since you are in the wild, you have plenty of natural produce at hand. So what can you use to brew a perfect beverage that does a similar job as coffee? Pour out your ancient knowledge of plants and find the answer within you:
The pretty flowers of dandelions hold more than just a beautiful sight. You will see them growing everywhere, and the whole plant is full of nutritional elements. Dandelion roots can be roasted and brewed to make a coffee-like drink. The resultant drink is less bitter and less acidic than coffee but does the same magic. With the pleasures of having coffee in the wild, you will also get the medicinal benefits of dandelion. The dandelion “coffee” is said to have probiotic properties.
Like dandelion, the chicory plant is also used as a substitute for coffee. In fact, it is a favorite among trekkers and campers. You can recognize a chicory plant by its bluish-purple flowers. A small plant looks like a dandelion plant because they are closely related. You can eat chicory’s leaves, and the flowers can be eaten as a snack.
The roots of chicory are pulled out, roasted, and ground. It is then used to make a delicious drink that, according to naturalists, tastes even better than actual coffee. The chicory has magical properties. It is suitable for treating inflammation, liver problems, and gut issues. It is also used to maintain glucose levels in the blood.
Who hasn’t enjoyed picking up fallen acorns and decorating them with funky paint colors? They’re also perfect for throwing at your friends in an acorn fight. A little lesser-known fact about acorns is that they make an excellent drink.
While acorns can be used in more than one way, you can use them to make yourself a strong cup of acorn drink in the wild. Take a handful of acorns and peel them. Since raw acorns are quite bitter, you need to “leach” them first. By leaching, we mean boiling or soaking them in hot water. This removes the harmful tannic acid, and the acorns are good to be consumed.
To make your acorn drink, you can start by roasting the acorns. You can roast them as light or as darker depending on your desired drink. For a strong drink, roast the acorns until they are of deep brown shade. Keep in mind that you must never let the acorn reach a black color. Anything that is burnt may cause cancer as it turns the valuable oils into harmful ones.
Grains like wheat and barley have been used in actual coffee to enhance its flavor. You can try experimenting with different grains to make drinks. Wild grass grains can also be used for this purpose. Keep logging your results so that you can know what grain you have found the closest to coffee.
Commonly known as “Sticky Willie,” this cleaver plant is a clingy one. It has tiny hooks on it that get stuck with everything it comes in contact with. You can find it sticking with itself or with other plants. And that is how you will identify it – if its sticks, it’s a cleaver plant.
Surprisingly, the cleaver plant is from the same plant family as coffee. No wonder cleaver seeds make a delicious cup of hot drink. Roast the seeds, brew a drink while eating its leaves, and your meal is ready for the day! Like coffee, the cleaver has laxative and diuretic properties. It will keep your gut happy on the road while freshening your day.
A distance cousin of dandelion, the sow thistle is a common plant all around the world. Its roots are tiny and more succulent compared to dandelions. You can roast and ground the roots and make a coffee-like drink. Since the plant is of the same family, it has similar properties as that of dandelion.
This plant produces its fruit in the fall. You will have to collect the fruits when they are nearly black. The fruit is very soft, and you can easily separate the seeds from the pulp. Use the pulp as compost and save the seeds for later. To brew a perfect cup of light drink, roast the seeds and use them how you use coffee beans.
With some additions of cream and milk, you will get a nice cup of chocolatey drink. Contrary to its name, the California coffeeberry is not related to the coffee plant. It will be less strong than actual coffee, but it can still be used as its substitute.
American Beech Nuts
The rewarding tree that does not produce fruit every year, the American Beech Tree, is a favorite among many wild animals. It produces nuts after it reaches the age of 40, and even then, it can skip several years in between. If you find yourself among a bunch of beech trees that have just shed their nuts, bend and pick as many as you can.
The beech nuts have an outer husk that can be easily removed. After that, roast them like any other seeds and enjoy their drinks. Beech nuts are super loaded with fat and protein. You will most likely skip a meal if you already had a cup. The young leaves and bark of this tree are also edible.
You can find large carob trees in Mediterranean regions. The carob pods are rich in calcium and vitamin B and can be eaten straight off the trees. The pods can also be used to brew coffee-like drinks. Break the pods and separate the hard seeds. Roast and ground the softer seeds to make drinks later.
The beverage won’t be anything like coffee, but it will still be pleasant and fulfilling. It is famous for its heavy aroma that many people like.
Trust the Nature
Since you are in a survival situation, you cannot expect your routine to be exactly like before. You will have to give up quite many luxuries to enjoy the true essence of nature. Although the items mentioned above prove good for making drinks, they cannot give you what coffee gives. You will have to learn that everything in nature has its own properties, and it will keep providing. What you can do is appreciate it with your whole heart and keep looking forward to new, exciting adventures.