coffee: a beverage made by percolation, infusion, or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant

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I wondered, "If coffee is made from, well, coffee beans, why not make it from peanuts? Or pistachios, or lentils, or peppercorn?" If coffee is made from roasting the pit of a specific type of cherry to the desired level, grinding it to a desired level of coarseness, and then running hot water over it, it seems to me that most other seeds, legumes, nuts, etc. can undergo the same magical operation.

Lo and behold: peanut coffee. However, this is the only coffee alternative I found. I have found the existence of drinks infused with flavors such as pistachio-infused coffee, or the infamous pumpkin spice latte, but I have yet to find a drink brewed from anything other than roasted coffee pits or roasted peanuts.


Is it possible to use the coffee brewing method on other foods and yet preserve/enhance the food's flavor, creating a drink?

I don't need to know whether we can roast similar foods to open up a new world of coffee since I already know we can.

But what about foods other than the before mention types? To specify, any food that isn't a seed, pit, nut, legume, or anything similar to those. Can we roast, grind, and brew other foods to concoct a previously unforeseen beverage?

With something like banana chips, I believe the natural coating of sugar would prevent the water from effectively absorbing flavor. What about vegetables?

What about meat? It should be known to many that charring food actually enhances its flavor. But, as I have learned in researching this, there is a cancer risk in charred meat. So, are there other ways we can extract the flavor from meat to make some kind of weird meat coffee? And of course, do this abiding by the traditional process of brewing coffee, or else this question wouldn't belong here.


I believe my question is more of a chemistry question, however, it doesn't belong on the Chem Stack (to my knowledge, although I'm likely wrong here).

To show what I mean by this here is an overly shortened example of the kind of answer I would expect:

No, you cannot. Due to [insert chemical reaction], the food would effectively turn into poison.

  • I'm not sure if this is better suited for Seasoned Advice (the SE site about cooking), but it's an interesting question nonetheless. As for a 'meat drink', wouldn't a a stock or a pan sauce fit that description? It's very different from the coffee process though. ;)
    – JJJ
    Aug 25, 2021 at 2:11
  • Speaking as a contributor to Seasoned Advice, this question would be closed as "opinion-based" there.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:37
  • David: you appear to be trying to start an open-ended discussion. While your topic is interesting, the StackExchange format is ill-suited to discussions. It's a Q&A site.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:39
  • As explained below, all the food groups mentioned in your post are indeed used for coffee substitutes, except for the meat. As a cook, I would assume that something like a meat coffee would be possible, whether it would be worth the effort however is questionable.
    – Stephie
    Aug 26, 2021 at 8:00
  • Btw., I have to remove the “worth the labor” part - that’s per definition opinion-based and hence off-topic.
    – Stephie
    Aug 26, 2021 at 21:34

2 Answers 2


Your thoughts are neither new nor unheard of. Coffee as a product has always been a luxury item in most parts of the world, so consumers have been creative in finding substitutes for the real deal from the start. They were and still are prepared both at home and sold as commercial products. There are also coffee-and-substitutes mixes, stretching the yield of the coveted real coffee.

In the last few decades especially cereal coffee made a bit of a comeback in organic food stores in Europe (can’t speak for the US), with multiple major brands throwing one or even multiple blends on the market, and successfully so. Btw., all that started when kale was still considered a winter vegetable meant to be cooked to a mush and served with bacon or sausages, not a “superfood” to be thrown in a blender raw.

Common ingredients for coffee substitutes include grains (barley, spelt, rice), roots (chicory, dandelion), nuts and seeds (acorns), fruit (dates) and a bunch of others (molasses). As they typically don’t contain caffeine, they are still used by some consumers that want a coffee-like drink but can’t or don’t want to drink real coffee.

So in short, the answer to your main question is: Yes, it’s quite possible (and in a way even “traditional”) to roast other food items beyond coffee to make a drink appreciated by some consumers. Whether it would be truly unheard of remains questionable, especially as lots of others have experimented on the topic for centuries - and likely found many raw materials unsuitable for the desired goal.

I recommend you start reading here and here.

The scope of this post remains limited to what this site’s scope is - if that’s not sufficient for you, I’m afraid that the question is too broad and more of an invitation for a discussion and less of a clear question in the SE sense.


The question is really a linguistic one I think and interesting in that regard. I answer from that perspective. There was a brand of "coffee", begging the question, used in the UK post war and I think during WWII. It contained chicory, roasted in some way I think, I am not sure in what proportion to Coffea beans. However it did contain those beans and the Chicory was considered an extender or filler of some kind. It was popular but an acquired taste. The bottle it came in contained a thick liquer which you mixed with hot water. It was called "Camp Coffee", I think you can still get it or could up to a few years ago.

Unlike "Tea", I don't think common usage really accepts plants other than Coffea spp. as coffee. And the use of 'coffee substitute' when discussing other plant preparations is telling; unlike say "Camomile Tea", which is never referred to as a 'tea substitute. "Tea" as a term can cover in usage any plant infusion, including composted leaves, nicotine pesticides etc.. "Coffee" for unknown reasons, probably contingent and unlike 'tea', is very different linguistically; in English and Welsh and I think other European languages.

  • Yeah, so as you described, tea refers somewhat to a process but coffee to a single beverage, and that is what makes me wonder why tea drinkers use every kind of leaf out there but (most) coffee drinkers use only the pic of a specific type of cherry. I can only assume it is because of the caffeine content. Also, I wonder if chicory was used in camp coffee as a filler because it was cheaper, or because soldiers were generally tougher ;D Feb 1, 2022 at 2:25

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