Make your own free website on

The Flying Dutchman


I do not recall where I found these period clippings of coffee substitutes. In addition to the typical claims that substitute X tasted just like real Rio, a heady debate is found about the possible abortion like affects of using rye as a substitute.

ALBANY [GA.] PATRIOT, December 12, 1861, p. 2, c. 3

A Good Substitute for Coffee--At the present time, when coffee is selling at a dollar a pound the following suggestion from a correspondent of a Southern paper, is worth trying:

Many worthless substitutes for coffee have been named. The acorn need only be tried once to be discarded. Corn meal and grits can be easily detected by the taste. Rye is only tolerable. Oakra [sic] seed is excellent, but costs about a dollar a pound, which puts it entirely out of the question. What, then, can we use? We want something that tastes like coffee, smells like it, and looks like it. We have just the thing in the sweet potato. When properly prepared, I defy any one to detect the difference between it and a cup of pure Rio.

Preparation -- Peel your potatoes and slice them rather thin; dry them in the air or on a stove; then cut into pieces small enough to go into the coffee mil, then grind it. Two tablespoons full of ground coffee and three or four of ground potatoes will make eight or nine cups of coffee, clear, pure and well tasted.

The above is worthy of a trial. We have thoroughly tested its qualities, and can perceive no difference in taste from the genuine coffee. One table spoonful of ground coffee to two of the ground potatoe [sic] makes five cups full of a cheap, pleasant and healthy beverage. It is preferable to parch the potatoe [sic] in thin slices by the sun, as the parching or drying will be more regular, and not so apt to burn as when parched on a stove. We regard it as every way equal to Rio, Java, or the Mocha coffee.

ALBANY [GA.] PATRIOT, June 30, 1864, p. 1, c. 4

A Substitute for Coffee.--A friend sent us some days ago an article which had every appearance of the well roasted ground Java coffee, with the request that we would try it and give our opinion of its merits as a substitute. We did so, and found it incomparably superior to anything that we have seen in use, not excepting the more common varieties of coffee. The taste is slightly pungent and most palatable, and we would not turn on our heel to exchange it for the genuine article. The preparation consists simply of the common English garden pea, picked from the vine when dry and roasted to a dark cinnamon brown. Try it.--Savannah Republican.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], August 20, 1862, p. 3, c. 4

Substitute for Coffee. Chickory, at R. M. Smith's Drug Store, No. 10 Broad St. Aug.20.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], February 11, 1863, p. 3, c. 4

Okra--A Substitute for Coffee.

Mr. Archer Griffeth, of Ala., gives us the following directions for preparing okra seed as a substitute for coffee. He expresses himself as highly pleased with the beverage:

Parch over a good fire and stir well until it is dark brown; then take off the fire and before the seed gets cool put the white of one egg to two tea-cups full of okra, and mix well. Put the same quantity of seed in the coffee pot as you would coffee, boil well and settle as coffee.

Directions for Planting and Cultivating.--Prepare a rich spot as for cotton, by bedding 3 1/2 feet. About the 10th of April open the ridges and sow the seed, and when up, chop out to 12 inches in the drill and cultivate the same as cotton. It will grow 6 to 8 feet high and will yield abundantly--one acre of good land producing ten bushels of seed. The seed will be dry in July. Since writing the above, we have tried some of the okra coffee prepared by the above directions, and find it better than pure Rio and almost equal to old Java.--Try it.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], February 11, 1863, p. 3, c. 6

Okra for Coffee. [copy]

A Small lot of Okra Seed--the best substitute for coffee--for sale at James I. Colt's. Feb. 11.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], October 28, 1863, p. 2, c. 5

...--But another important item is, to save the seeds of the persimmons after they have boiled, and you let out the slop, for they are excellent for coffee, rather stronger or rougher than the genuine Rio; hence, I mix two parts of dried sweet potatoes to one of persimmon seed. Dr. Buck says this coffee is equal to Java coffee! By the boiling the seeds are rid of all musilaginous substances, and just right for coffee or buttons. If you use them for buttons, the washer woman will hardly break them with her battling stick. For coffee they should be parched twice as long as any other substitute, so as to make them tender to the centre.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], February 4, 1864, p. 3, c. 5

Barley, Barley.--An excellent substitue for coffee, for sale by

Feb. 3 I.M. Kenney.

THE SOUTHERN BANNER [ATHENS, GA], March 15, 1865, p. 1, c. 4

Substitutes for Coffee.

Editor Southern Cultivator:--Nobody has had more occasion to mourn over the blockade than that numerous and highly respectable class, the coffee topers. Many an one would cheerfully munch his dry crusts at breakfast, if he could wash them down with the cheering beverage which used, in former times, to atone for the short-comings of cooks and fortify him against a day of vexations. For the stimulating property to which both tea and coffee owe their chief value, there is unfortunately no substitute; the best we can do is to dilute the little stocks which still remain, and cheat the palate, if we cannot deceive the nerves. The best substitute which we have yet found for either tea or coffee, is plenty of good, rich milk, which is at least nutritive, if not stimulating. But alas! the price of butter plainly tells that milk is almost as scarce as coffee, and many persons want something hot to drive off the fogs of the morning. After many unsatisfactory trials of rye, wheat, corn, potatoes, okra, acorns, and almost everything else that can be purchased, we have found in molasses, we will not say a *substitute* for, but an adulteration of coffee, which leaves but little to be desired, *but the stimulus.* Don't be alarmed, Mr. Editor, we are not about to propose "long sweetening." Molasses when boiled down until it scorches, is converted into an intensely bitter substance, called by chemists caramel. Our method is to put a quart or more of sorghum syrup into any convenient vessel, and stew it down over a slow fire, as if making candy, stirring constantly until the syrup is burnt black; then pour it out into a greased plate to cool. The blackish porous mass thus obtained is pounded, when quite cold, in an iron mortar. We mix it with twice its bulk of ground coffee, and use a teaspoonful of this mixture for each person; thus one teaspoonful of caramel and two of coffee will make six cups of a beverage which, as far as taste is concerned, is far preferable to pure Rio coffee. The burnt molasses or caramel, attracts moisture when exposed to the air, and must, therefore, be kept in a close vessel. It would be well, for the same reason, to prepare it in small quantities. If the molasses is burnt too much, it is reduced to charcoal and loses all taste. By the way, though a very simple matter, many housekeepers do not know that it is perfectly easy to clear coffee by adding a small quantity of cold water, just as it "comes to a boil."


THE DAILY INTELLIGENCER [ATLANTA, GA], November 8, 1863, p. 4, c. 2

But another important item is, to save the seeds of the persimmons after they have boiled, and you let out the slop, for they are excellent for coffee, rather stronger or rougher than the genuine Rio; hence I mix two parts of dried sweet potatoes to one of persimmon seed. Dr. Buck says this coffee is equal to Java coffee. By the boiling the seeds are rid of all mucilaginous substances, and are just right for coffee or button. If you use them for buttons the washer woman will hardly break them with her battling stick. For coffee they should be parched twice as long as any other substitute; so as to make them tender to the center.


SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], November 7, 1861, p. 3, c. 1

How to Get the Very Best Coffee at About Ten Cents a Pound.--In these war times it is quite an object to make economical investments in this article, but aside from this, the coffee that you can make from this recipe will be found far superior to the very best you can get anywhere, either North or South, and those who give it a fair trial will be unwilling to go back even to the best Java.

Take sweet potatoes and after peeling them, cut them up into small pieces about the size of the joint of your little finger, dry them either in the sun or by the fire, (sun dried probably the best,) and then parch and grind the same as coffee. Take two thirds of this to one third of coffee to a making.

Try it, not particularly for its economy but for its superiority over any coffee you ever tasted.

SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], January 18, 1862, p. 2, c. 3

--A soldier's food should be well cooked; (no tainted meat) his meals at regular hours; no violent exercise after eating; a hearty breakfast, and at least one meal of animal food a day, with plenty of vegetables, as carrots, onions, rice, etc., ripe fruit, and after exposure or fatigue, good hot soup, cleanliness observed, and the feet kept dry if possible. He should have coffee once or twice a day, but if not to be got, the substitutes are, acorns stripped and roasted, ground sassafras nuts [sic?], grated crust of bread, rye or wheat, parched with butter, beech root, horse beans, etc. The substitutes for tea are--the yopon [sic], rosemary, strawberry leaves. But the best home tea is made of good, well made meadow hay (infusion). While on the subject, I'll say that starch can be made of frosted potatoes, and the tops make good potash when burnt; and the myrtle, glycerine, etc., will furnish the other component of soap.

SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], April 10, 1863, p. 1, c.3-4

...Columbus is considered the Lowell of the South. It contains 8,000 inhabitants, and it is situated on the banks of the Chattahoochee, at the head of navigation.... . . Here chickory is used as a substitute for coffee. Rice is mixed up with flour and corn meal. It is put into biscuits, batter cakes, hominy, &c. Sweet potatoes are in great abundance, therefore they are eaten at all meals. . . . And the signs over the grog shops of this city are in good taste, viz: The Smile, The Pleasant House, &c. . . . Viator.

MEMPHIS DAILY APPEAL [ATLANTA, GA], June 11, 1864, p. 1, c. 2

The English garden pea, picked from the vine when dry and roasted to a dark cinnamon brown, is said to produce a decoction resembling pure Java coffee in color and flavor.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], August 25, 1861, p. 3, c. 2

Greensboro', Ga., August 23, 1861.

To the Editor of the Chronicle & Sentinel:

Having heard you were great coffee drinkers, and always relished a good cup, and knowing that you desired to run Lincoln's blockade into nonentity, to obtain a good cup, (such as you have no doubt often tasted at the French Market, New Orleans,) I enclose to you the receipt--the very latest--for making the very best domestic coffee. This coffee, when made by the receipt, is of excellent flavor, and very nutritious. It is of sufficient strength, and not excitable in its action. It is mild, healthy, persuasive, and sufficiently exhilarating for any epicure. When you smell it, you will say "I believe it's Java;" when you taste it, you will say, "I think it is Java;" when you drink it, you exclaim (foreignly,), "I'll pe tamn [sic??] if it isn't Java coffee!" It is true, it has not that foreign accent; but by adding a little rich milk or cream, it speaks almost the foreign tongue. Try it, as an antidote for the blockade.


Take the common garden beet, wash it clean, cut it up into small pieces, twice the size of a grain of coffee; put into the coffee toaster or oven, and roast as you do your coffee--perfectly brown. Take care not to burn while toasting it. When sufficiently dry and hard, grind it in a clean mill, and take half a common sized coffee cup of the grounds, and boil with one gallon water. Then settle with an egg, and send to the table, hot. Sweeten with very little sugar, and add good cream or milk. This coffee can be drank by children, with impunity, and will not (in my judgment,) either impair sight or nerves. Col. Wm. W. D. Weaver and myself have tried it, and find it almost equal, when properly made, to either the Java, Brazilian or Mocha coffee. I am indebted to the Colonel for this excellent substitute; and as every man has his beet orchard, so has he his coffee. And like Cuffee, we exclaim, "bress God for dis blockade. Nigger now get him plenty of kophphee, and Mr. Lincoln am no where." R. J. Dawson.

P.S. There is a percentage of water in the beet which is extracted as you toast the coffee particles to a nice brown.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], August 31, 1861, p. 3, c. 2

Greensboro, Ga., Aug. 28, 1861.

To the Editor of the Chronicle & Sentinel:

You will excuse me for taxing again your patient indulgence upon the subject of Beet Coffee, and add this note to my former, in order than no one may be deceived in making an article of this desirable beverage. For fear some of the more ignorant might not follow up (what common sense has heretofore usually supplied) making good coffee, I would state this coffee is regulated by taste, as all coffee is made. If you wish it high-toned, take one cupful of grounds to the gallon; if not, take less. Modify to suit your taste, and then little sugar and rich cream or milk, and your joy will have been complete. One half cupful of grounds for children, well boiled, and one full cup, for adults, and y you can make no mistake.

Your friend, R. J. Dawson.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], September 27, 1861, p. 2, c. 1

Coffee.--This luxury--esteemed the greater from its present scarcity--is retailing from 38 to 40 cents per pound for Rio in this city; (Java has about "gin out.") rye and barely [sic] are being adopted as substitutes in many families; and sweet potatoes, beets and ground peas are also brought into requisition. All these, people say, make a very palatable drink; and we have no doubt, if we try, we can bring ourselves to believe they each and all make a beverage equal to the best Java or Mocha.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], November 3, 1861, p. 1, c. 1

New Substitute for Coffee.--Dr. Poiterin, in the Mobile Tribune, recommends the acorn of our native oak, (Quercus Alba) as a substitute for coffee. It is pronounced an excellent remedial agent, as well as a source of economy.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], November 13, 1861, p. 3, c. 2


Mr. Editor: In reference to a paragraph in your paper on Acorn Coffee, allow me to remark that it has long been a substitute for coffee in foreign countries, and especially for children, it is considered more healthy and desirable.

We are happy to state that an enterprising citizen, Mr. F. C. Ludekens, has given some attention to the manufacture of this article, and has employed many poor children during the fall in gathering the soundest and best acorns.

We have not been initiated in the different processes of his manufacture, for which we hear Mr. L. has erected costly machinery, but can only speak of the coffee itself as a most excellent beverage.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], March 11, 1862, p. 2, c. 2

Rye Coffee.--We find the following in the LaGrange Reporter:

Many of our people are daily in the habit of using rye as a substitute for coffee, without being aware of the fact, that the grain when burnt contains upwards of fifty per cent of phosphoric acid, which acts injuriously upon the whole stony structure. In the young it effectually prevents the full development of the osseous tissues, and in the old, it lays the foundation for dry gangrene. It possesses the power of dissolving the phosphate of lime, which constitutes upwards of fifty per cent of the bone in man. The same power it exerts over utero gestation, and thereby brings about all the concomitant evils of abortion. Cases of this kind have come under my professional observation during a few months past, and I think the facts ought to be spread before the people. L. J. Robert, M. D. LaGrange, Ga.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], March 15, 1862, p. 2, c. 2

Rye Coffee.

To the editors of the Chronicle & Sentinel:

An extract in your daily of Tuesday, signed L. J. Roberts, M. D., taken from the LaGrange Reporter, contains two such grave errors, that we cannot refrain from correcting them, particularly as many persons who use rye as a substitute for coffee, might be frightened out of an innocent beverage.

The extract says: "The grain when burnt, contains fifty per cen. of phosphoric acid." Now, unscientific people would suppose this to mean when parched. We suppose the Doctor intended the ash of the grain. What is the true analysis of rye according to the best authorities? 1,000 pounds produces only 10 1/2 pounds of ash; and of this 10 1/2 pounds only 0.46 of a pound of phosphoric acid; not quite half a pound to 1,000 pounds of the grain, and not quite 5 per cent of the ash instead of upwards of 50 per cent; being not quite the one fifth of one per cent of the solid grain. Besides, the Doctor forgets that not one particle of the earthy salts is probably held in solution by a common weak decoction of the rye; and if the whole grain was swallowed there would only be the medium amount of phosphoric acid contained in wheat and other cereals, just about enough to make bone instead of destroying it.

The effects of rye, or the phosphoric acid in it, on utero-gestation, is equally fallacious, and quite as grave an error. It is the ergot of rye that produces abortion, not the common, healthy grain used for coffee. It is a long, black, stinking grain, easily distinguished from the other, and only occurring under certain unfavorable circumstances. The common rye is quite as innocent as wheat or coffee in this respect.

Will the papers (we have seen it in several,) which published the extract, give this an insertion?

E. M. Pendleton, M. D.

Sparta, Ga., March 12th, 1862.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], March 27, 1862, p. 3, c. 2

Rye Coffee.

"Who shall decide when doctors disagree."

Mr. Editor:--My short article on rye coffee, which appeared in your paper two weeks since, seems to have excited a considerable interest, not only on the part of editors, but also among some of our medical fraternity. In the Augusta Chronicle & Sentinel of the 15th inst., Dr. E. M. Pendleton, of Sparta, Ga., has denounced the said article as containing "two grave errors." The first in my quantitative analysis, and the second in "the effect of the rye, or the phosphoric acid in it, or the utero-gestation."

Now, I having asserted, and the Doctor denying, throws the onus probandi upon him, and not upon myself. However, as I am not desirous of controversy, being pressed by professional duties, I will simply refer the Doctor to "Booth's Encyclopaedia of Chemistry," page 861, (the best authority extant, and as this book is not accessible to all, I copy thefrom [sic] verbatim et literatim Fresentus' and Will's analysis of the grain of the rye when burnt or reduced to ashes, viz:




Lime..................................... 7.65 [?]

Phosphoric Acid..................51.81

Sulphuric Acid......................0.51


The above, then, proves conclusively the correctness of my quantitative analysis. Now as regards the effects as of phosphoric acid, which I have described, not only upon utero-gestation but also upon the whole osseous structure, I presume Dr. Pendleton himself, will not deny.

Although the editor of the Chronicle & Sentinel may "stick to his beverage," the so called "startling revelation of the LaGrange physician" is literally true.

With reference to "Ergot," I will only add that I never once mentioned this article. I have no time to write further. With this I dismiss the subject.

L. J. Robert, M. D.


To the Editors of the Delta:

I notice in the morning a paragraph extracted from the LaGrange Reporter, which, allowed to go uncontradicted, may produce much mischief. In it a Dr. Robert states that "the habit of using rye as a substitute for coffee, acts injuriously upon the bony structures, from the amount of phosphoric acid it contains." In the young he says "it effectually prevents the full development of the osseous tissues, and in the old, it lays the foundation for dry gangrene." It also possesses the power of dissolving the phosphate of lime in the bones, and produces abortions, &c. Now the whole of this is one tissue of absurdity and error. Rye in common with all the cereal grains, contains a large proportion of phosphoric acid, this however never being in the free state, but always combined with lime, and its proportion is somewhat less than that of wheat, which the sapient Dr. Robert does not seem to condemn.

The great value of the cereals as food, consists in this very amount of phosphate of lime, which is absolutely necessary for human nutrition, the body containing upwards of eight pounds of this compound. None contain free phosphoric acid, which, however, contrary to the dictum of Dr. Robert, (unless in a very concentrated form,) does not dissolve phosphate of lime, never produces dry gangrene, and cannot cause abortion. It is true that rye, under certain conditions, is subject to a disease resembling the smut in wheat, and if made into bread and eaten in this condition, might produce serious effects; but even if the spurred rye were used for coffee, the process of roasting would effectually destroy this noxious tendency. The public may rest assured the rye coffee is perfectly innocent, and may be used with as much safety as the finest Mocha. Dr. Robert must have drawn largely upon his imagination for his facts, and is only another illustration that a little learning is a dangerous thing.

I. L. Crawcour, M. D.

Prof. of Chemistry, N. O. School of Medicine.

DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL [AUGUSTA, GA], April 12, 1862, p. 3, c. 2

For the Chronicle & Sentinel.

Rye Coffee - Review of Prof. Crawcour's Article.

"I notice in the morning papers," says Prof. Crawcour," a paragraph extracted from the LaGrange Reporter, which if allowed to go uncontradicted may produce mischief."

Were the Prof. has evidently conceived the wind, and brought forth the whirlwind, is the shape of a monstrous nullity! What mischief can possibly result from spreading before the people, a well authenticated fact with reference to Rye as a substitute for Coffee? When I give the analysis of the grain of Rye, reduced to ashes, to be upwards of fifty per cent. of Phosphoric acid, I do it upon the very best authority, and to which every man is at liberty to refer. See Booth's Encyclopaedia of Chemistry (Large London Edition) page 861 and Liebig's Agricultural Chemistry (from the fourth London Edition) page 249. Is there any mischief in this? When I say that Phosphoric acid is a solvent of the phosphate of Lime (one of the essential elements of bone, and constituting upwards of fifty per cent. of the bone in man) and refer to the "United States Dispensatory," page 817 in proof of this fact; can there be any mischief in this? When I assert that Phosphorus (which by uniting with Oxygen, forms Phosphoric Acid) is a violent and irritant poison, so much so that the manufacturers of Lucifer matches are liable to [?]osis of the jaw-bone, and refer as proof on this point to the same book (U.S.D.) pages 554 and 556, can there be any mischief in this? Or when I say that from my own personal observation I am inducted to believe that Rye Coffee is injurious in consequence of the large amount of Phosphoric acid it contains; can there be any mischief in this?

O tempora! O mores! The immortal Professor has denounced all this, as "One tissue of absurdity and error," and seems to predicate the whole of his denunciation, upon the simple fact that I said nothing about the analysis of Wheat!!

Now the self styled Professor of Chemistry must remember that my article was written under the caption "Rye Coffee;" not "Wheat," potatoes, okra, burnt syrup, or any other substitute for coffee; and hence I was no more responsible for the analysis of "Wheat," than for the analysis of any of these other substitutes. Rye was the only subject under consideration, and as far as I could learn, the only substitute for coffee, within the precincts of the circulation of the LaGrange Reporter. Again, my second article which appeared in the Chronicle & Sentinel of the 27th ultimo, immediately over the Professor's reply, contained the full analysis of Rye (grain) and from this, no many of ordinary intelligence would for one moment presume that I ever intended to be understood as saying, that the Phosphoric acid in the ashes of the grain of Rye, was not in a state of combination.

Even in my original article I left not the slightest room for such an absurd conjecture! I simply stated that "the ashes of the grain of Rye, contained upwards of fifty per cent of Phosphoric acid." The remaining fifty per cent. evidently was in combination with it. Surely, Professor, "much learning doth make thee mad." Lastly (though not least,) the Professor asserts that the process of roasting effectually destroys this noxious tendency of Spurred Rye," and therefore argues that "Rye Coffee may be used with as much safety as the finest Mocha." This is most superlatively absurd! The chemical analysis of the grain when burnt even to ashes, discovers, as I have already stated, the existence of the poisonous compound. How, then, can "roasting destroy its noxious tendency." Well may the immortal Professor exclaim that, which by sad experience he has learned. "A little learning is a dangerous thing."

In conclusion, with all sincerity of soul the "sapient Dr. Robert" exhorts the immortal Professor to drink deep of books not the Pierian spring.

L. J. Robert, M. D.

P.S.--All papers that have published Prof. Crawcour's article, will please copy the above.

LaGrange, Ga., April 8, 1862.

AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE [TEX.], Nov. 9, 1861, p. 4, c. 2

Save your okra seeds. Okra is the best substitute for coffee that is known. Besides this, the okra plant will kill out noxious weeds, even coco, better than any other known means. The okra plant makes a shade so dense, that nothing will grow in it. Gardens that have been allowed to go to the weeds have in this way been cleared of them. Fields may be in the same way. An acre of okra will produce seen enough to furnish a plantation of fifty negroes with coffee in every way equal to that imported from Rio. The green pods taken from an acre of okra and dried, would furnish the best thickening for soup in the winter, that could be made. Okra is the most valuable plant that is raised. Save your okra seeds.--Telegraph.

CHARLESTON MERCURY [SC], October 5, 1861, p. 1, c. 6

An Excellent Substitute for Coffee.--For a family of seven or eight persons, take a pint of well toasted corn meal, and add to it as much water as an ordinary sized coffee pot will hold, and then boil it well. We have tried this toasted meal _coffee_, and prefer it to Java or Rio, in as much as genuine coffee does not suit our digestive organs, and we have not used it for years. Many persons cannot drink coffee with impunity, and we advise all such to try our receipt. They will find it more nutritious than coffee and quite as palatable.--Raleigh Register.

MEMPHIS DAILY APPEAL [JACKSON, MS], January 20, 1863, p. 1, c. 2

One of our exchanges publishes a new recipe for making coffee, which we recommend to the steward of our boarding house. Take coffee grains and pop corn of each an equal quantity. Roast the same together. The corn will hop out, and what remains will be unadulterated coffee.

MOBILE REGISTER AND ADVERTISER [AL], October 9, 1861, p. 2, c. 3

An Excellent Substitute for Coffee.--For a family of seven or eight persons, take a pint of well toasted corn meal, and add to it as much water as an ordinary sized coffee-pot will hold, and then boil it well. We have tried this toasted meal _coffee_, and prefer it to Java or Rio, inasmuch as genuine coffee does not suit our digestive organs, and we have not used it for years. Many persons cannot drink coffee with impunity, and we advise all such to try our receipt. They will find it more nutritious than coffee and quite as palatable.--[Raleigh Register.

NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER [MS], Sept. 21, 1861, p. 1, c. 3

Asparagus for Coffee.

[From the Annual of Scientific Discovery]

'Liebig states that Asparagus, contains, in common with Tea and Coffee, a principle which he calls Taurine, and which he considers essential to the health of those who do not take strong exercise. By this, a writer in the London _Gardener's Chronicle_ was led to test Asparagus as a substitute for Coffee. He says: The young shoots were not agreeable, having an alkaline taste. I then tried ripe seeds, and they, roasted and ground, made a full flavored Coffee, not easily distinguished from fine Mocha. The seeds are easily freed from the berries by drying them in a cool [warm, I suppose he means,] oven, and then rubbing them on a sieve.'

'There is in Berlin, Prussia, a large establishment for the manufacture of coffee from acorns and Chicory, the articles being made separately. The Chicory is mixed with an equal weight of turnips, to render it sweeter. The Acorn Coffee, which is made from roasted and ground Acorns, is sold in large quantities, and frequently with rather a medicinal than an economical view, as it is thought to have a wholesome effect upon the blood. Acorn Coffee is, however, made and used in many parts of Germany for sole purpose of adulterating genuine Coffee.

NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER [MS], October 18, 1861, p. 1, c. 5

A Light Matter. The days get shorter, daylight is becoming scarcer, and candles dearer. Coal oil is said to be where coffee is--out of sight. The substitute for coffee is rye, the substitute for coal oil is a black cat, which when rubbed strongly on a frosty night will shine.

NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER [MS], October 30, 1861, p. 1, c. 5

Substitute for Coffee. We are requested to recommend Field Peas, dried, parched, and ground, as an excellent substitute for Coffee, said to be better than wheat or rye.--Fayetteville Observer.

NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER [MS], November 5, 1861, p. 1, c. 2

The Best Coffee - From the Mobile Daily Tribune.

In times of famine, occasioned by the total loss of a crop, by scarcity, the protracted operation of a siege, or by a blockade such as now prevails, while food is diminished and dear, efforts are usually made to substitute for articles of prime necessity others that approximate most nearly to them in their taste and general sanitary effects. Under circumstances it pertains to all enlightened and practical hygienic systems to select for the purpose of such experiments, those substances which are most wholesome. At the South, several substitutes for coffee have been resorted to. Neither of them is unwholesome; but, at the same time, neither is designed to produce salutary results. By roasting corn, wheat, oats, or potatoes a considerable consumption of genuine coffee is certainly economised, the latter being used by in such quantity as is necessary to flavor. Now, if in adhering to the small quantity employed for imparting taste to the decoction, the roasted acorn shall be adopted, the problem is solved.

The acorn of our native oak (Quercus Alba) is found in great abundance from Canada to Florida. This species approaches nearest to the fruit bearing oak (Quercus Hispanica) which is palatable, raw or cooked and which constitutes an important element of traffic in Old Castile. If the reader will carefully note the analysis given of it by Lorvig, the chemist, he will be convinced that it contains such substances as are, at once, most nutricious [sic] and medicinal; Greasy oil, rosin, gum, tannin, or bitter extract, starch and the remainder potash and calcium salts.

Acorns supplied the food of man before wheat was discovered. In France, during the scarcity of 1709, the indigent were compelled to have recourse to this resource for them, the only one. Pulverised into flour, they made use of it for bread; and, under the first consulate, upon the establishment of the continental system, some industrial economists conceived the idea of substituting the roasted acorn for coffee, and styled it "indigenous coffee."

In 1840, while I was stationed in the Grecian Archipelago, I visited from time to time the principal islands--Samos, Scio, Imbros, etc. The Greeks who inhabit those countries have recourse to acorn coffee in the slightest affections of the stomach or intestines; and I have seen subjects suffering from chronic dyspepsis, or diarrhoea, cured in less than four or five days.

The reader may assure himself of the correctness of my statement by opening any standard work on materia medica; and he will learn that acorn coffee is a tonic proscribed in scrofula, debility of the digestive organs, and recommended as a substitute for coffee to nervous persons. If, therefore, the blockade should continue, and the importation of coffee is rendered impracticable, it would be very natural that the use of acorn coffee, mixed with the genuine should become universal. The poor would find it equally a source of economy and a valuable remedy; and soldiers in camp would be less exposed to diarrhoea, one of the most terrible evils that can exist in an army.

In order to prepare this coffee, the acorns must be first roasted in an oven. The hard outer shell is removed, and the kernal is preserved, which, after being roasted, is ground with ordinary coffee. A. Poiteven, M. D.

NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER [MS], February 7, 1862, p. 1, c. 5

Cotton Seed Coffee. We have been favored by a friend, with a sample of Cotton Seed Coffee prepared by Dr. H. Ravenel, of Poosilee, St. John's Berkley, which we had served up at breakfast yesterday morning, and found very palatable. The Cotton Seed is parched, and ground or powdered, as if it were the Coffee bean, and prepared for use accordingly. The aroma is very like that of Coffee, but rather more like that of Brom [?]. We have little doubt that a mixture of one-third or one-half Coffee, and the rest of ground or powdered Cotton Seed, would easily pass for good, if not pure, Coffee.

We have also tried Rye alone, and in mixture with one-third Coffee, and found both preparations good substitutes for the aromatic bean.--Charleston Courier.

Return to the Flying Dutchman

Last updated 18 December 1999 at 1700 hrs.

This page hosted by The Law Offices of Mark B. Tackitt and

background by Glyph Web Graphics