Sunday, 20 October 2013

Acorn Coffee

Acorn Coffee

          Yep thats right coffee made from acorns and this time of year is the perfect time to make this, at first to make acorn coffee seems like quite an involved process but it is actually relatively simple but it does take some effort if, like me, you only use manual methods, after all there`s not much electricity in the field. The methods I describe here aren`t original.  
          To start with you need to do is collect some acorns, obviously, but there are some things that you need to be careful of, 
          First of all ONLY collect acorns that have fallen from the tree, whilst collecting you need to check for for a number of things,
splits in the bottom of the acorn 

a small hole in the acorn (this usually means a grub is living inside)

a split in the shell 

          If these occur or you are just suspicious leave the acorn out of your bag, its better than becoming ill,  
once you have collected enough you need to move on to the next stage which is the float test (from this point on all the photos are taken at home but can be done just as easily in the field), this is a quick simple test that sounds like exactly what it is, putting all the acorns in a bowl of water, those that float need to be removed and discarded. I tend to leave this a few minutes just to be sure.
 floating acorns towards the top

once this has been done the acorns need to laid out to dry, this can be assisted by using the oven (set on the lowest temperature at home or with a warm dutch oven in the field.

for the next part you will need either a light hammer or more preferably a pair of nut crackers (safer) you then need to start cracking and de-shelling the acorns, discard the shells.


again at this stage any acorn that is rotting or you even have slight doubts about discard,

obviously this didnt make the grade

had doubts about this one so I left it out

          The next stage is perhaps the most laborious and if you do plan on making acorn coffee alot I really would recommend getting a grinder preferably hand cranked as there aren`t many power sockets in the field, you now need to grind and sift the acorns, this does take some time so be patient.


          Until you get something resembling flour in the bowl.

           next comes the roasting, for this I have a pan dedicated to tasks like this and it may be wise to have something along the same lines, when you roast the acorn "flour" its best done in a dry pan over a medium heat, the crucial thing here is that you DO NOT STOP STIRRING to prevent sticking, the flour needs to be fully roasted and slightly smoking before taking off the heat, as you will appreciate I didn`t take any photos during the roasting stage just a before and after shot.
before

 after

          from here the next stage, (although this is my preference), is to brew the coffee in a percolator as you would with normal coffee.
  

          Acorn coffee is naturally caffeine free and can be taken with milk and sugar as normal but I would suggest you try it on its own to begin with to gauge its flavour.

          It stands to reason that their are certain species of oak around the world that are not suitable for doing this so best to check before making this. I am also aware that many bushcraft companies will stick to the method of boiling acorns and changing the water constantly to eliminate the tannins within the acorn shells, this was the method that I first used but as I said at the beginning this method is not original and I am actually pleased with the results and have suffered no ill effects from using this method.

Follow the link below to go to the Lone Wolf Mobile Bushcraft website.
www.lwbcfs.com

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