About a year ago a good friend of mine with a fair-sized hippy streak brewed up some dandelion coffee, thrust a mug in my direction and said, “Drink this, it’s really good for you”. But from personal experience, things that are ‘good for you’ are often bad for your taste buds, so it was with trepidation I took the mug and said, “Thank you” whilst thinking the opposite.
On first inspection it was the right colour for coffee, the smell however was not coffee, it was somewhat earthy — but good earthy. So far so good. I then committed to trying it and was surprised. Dandelion coffee actually tastes good. It’s bitter like coffee, but has a kind of chocolatey/caramelly taste. OK it’s hard to explain, but it is a nice taste.
Fast forward to the present day and my garden, it is well and truly infested with dandelions. So I decided why not try and turn my own dandelions into coffee? 30 minutes of YouTube later and I reckoned I could do it.
I ended up following this guy’s method, but be warned if you follow an American video, make sure you convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius — I spent a good while trying to figure out whose oven went up to 330°C!
Making your dandelion coffee
Pull up your dandelions: it’s the roots you’re after. They can be much longer than you expect — my longest root was about 40cm.
Wash the roots: there are lots of methods suggested on YouTube (from scrubbing brushes to sponges to jet washers!), so I went for my own slightly improvised approach — shower the roots then scrub in the sink.
‘Brown rice’: this was a very useful phrase from my research. You want to put your roots in a food processor and whizz them until they have the consistency of brown rice. This is another stage I kind of improvised. I don’t have a food processor, so I used my wife’s smoothie maker.
She’s currently going through a ‘I love smoothies’ phase and I was kinda worried she would come home and I might have to say, “Your smoothie maker is broken, because I put weeds from our garden in it.” So I chopped the roots into smaller pieces first and whizzed them in small batches. Both the smoothie maker and my marriage survived.
Dry the roots out: spread them out evenly on a baking tray and put them in the oven at around 90°C for one to two hours. Keep checking the tray every 30 minutes or so, stirring the weeds each time so they dry nice and evenly.
Roast the roots: crank the heat up to around 220°C for a further 45 minutes or so. You should see the roots significantly darken during this process. When the roots start letting off little whisps of smoke, they’re ready!
Drink: brew up like coffee. I’m still experimenting to find the perfect ratio, but a good starting place is for two people add three teaspoons of powder and brew for four minutes. Enjoy!