Cleavers coffee.

Botanical name: 

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Roasting Cleavers seed
From: (Sylverre Polhemus)
Date: 2 Aug 1995 00:13:01 GMT

> Does anyone know how to roast cleavers seed to make the "coffee substitute" supposedly drunk in England and elsewhere?

I have used a combination method with some success: first dry them, using a food dryer (solar, electric, oven, whatever), then put them in a bag with a few smooth stones or marbles and shake them for a while. This will knock off most of the spines. Rinse them off, drain them, and roast them in a dry kettle over low to medium heat. Cool and grind. Use as coffee or mix with equal parts roasted ground Dandelion root.

IMHO, it doesn't taste a whole lot like coffee, but it smells a bit like Columbian coffee, and it doesn't taste nearly as bad as it should. Actually, it tastes rather like Mate.

Hope this helps.

And by the way, does anyone know if galium aparine (cleavers) can be used as vegetable rennet? I know that galium verum works. . .


Traditionally, (among the traditional and cash-strapped) roasting of coffee beans, seeds and other botannicals was done in the omniprescient black iron skillet; dry and over a medium flame. You must stir constantly however to avoid scorching. Modern folk however have been known to try those air-pump popcorn machines with similar success. Given their relative density, I should think this would work for goosefoot as well, but eww, the prickery outer skin! Never leave such a project unmanned, or for a minute stop stirring or shaking the pan if you're working with that. Best of luck, let us know how this turns out if you attempt it and if indeed it really smells like coffee. I have lived in England for quite some time in the company of herbalists without ever running across this particular custom. I should like to know how your experiments turn out.