Welcome to the wonderful and unique taste of Texas Mesquite Coffee and Tea. Since there is now no information (that I could find) on Mesquite Coffee online, I have put together this information for those who might be interested. Some of you have asked how I first came up with the idea to make coffee from the Mesquite pod. In 2006 I found The Texas Almanac at an Abilene wholesale club. I was reading the information on the Mesquite tree, and it said that, during the Civil War, when coffee was not available, the Texas army made coffee out of the mesquite pod. Since we had mesquite pods everywhere, and I like coffee, I decided to roast some pods up and try it out. I was pleasantly shocked and surprised. It tasted like gourmet coffee. So here are some things you might want to know about Texas Mesquite Cofee. First, here is some information on the Mesquite pod that I found online:
Mesquite, the most common shrub or small tree in the Desert Southwest, forms fruit of bean-like pods in the fall that have long been a nutritious food source to humans, wildlife and livestock.
For Native Americans of the desert regions, mesquite was not only relied on as a dietary staple, but as the most important economic plant of their culture. The Papago, Pima, Yuman, Cocopa, Mohave and Cahuilla peoples of Arizona and California utilized all parts of the mesquite:
- Bark - basketry, pottery, fabrics and medicine
- Trunk & Branches - firewood, in the manufacture of bows, arrows, mortars and furniture
- Thorns - awls and for tattooing
- Leaves - making tea, used medicinally as an eyewash and for head and stomach aches
- Sap - as a snack, glue and dye.
But it was the mesquite pod, with its nutritious, bittersweet pulp, that provided the greatest benefit to indigenous desert peoples. They collected pods each fall, often eating many of them green from the trees. The rest they dried in the sun and stored in large baskets for future use.
Usually, the beans (pods and seeds) were ground into a coarse meal, then by adding water, were transformed into a gruel or a cake without cooking. Some cultures are said to have taken the seeds from the pods and ground them into a flour called pinole, from which a bread was actually baked.
But we're talking about coffee. Mesquite Coffee is quite a bit stronger than traditional imported Central American coffee. If one were to use an equal amount of Mesquite coffee (as compared to traditional coffee) Mesquite Coffee is said to have four times the amount of caffeine as regular industrial/commercial coffee. However, even for those of us who enjoy really strong coffee, only 1/3 as much Mesquite Coffee is necessary to create a superior strong coffee.
Mesquite Coffee and Tea is made from the roasted and ground seed pod of the Honey Mesquite tree. The entire pod, seed and all, is roasted and ground to make coffee or tea. Mesquite pods are a perennial food source and been used in Texas, the Southwest, and Mexico as food for hundreds of years. The mesquite pod has been ground for flour and meal by the American Indians and other indigenous peoples for centuries, and it has long been hailed for its nutritional and medicinal value. During the Civil War the mesquite pod was roasted and brewed into a delicious coffee substitute. The mesquite pod is high in natural and healthy sugars, and is often used to make jellies, jams, and even beer and alcohol.
Mesquite Coffee is not like regular/industrial/imported coffee and tea product, which are mass-produced using industrial methods for wide consumption around the world. Though fair-trade and organic coffees are now being made available, for the most part coffee is still grown by huge, industrial corporations on coffee plantations in Central America. Mesquite Coffee, as of this writing, is not available really anywhere. A quick perusal online this morning found no Mesquite Coffee available through online source. Our mesquite pods are gathered by hand and, since we live off-of-the-grid, our pods are roasted either in a solar oven, or in a propane oven.
Your coffee/tea will not be the uniformly ground crystals found in imported/industrial teas and coffees. Since the whole pod is used, the coffee/tea consists of numerous different consistencies. You will find from fine to course ground material, as well as seed hulls and un-ground pod portions. All of these parts go together to create a wonderful coffee tasting experience. Prepare your Mesquite Coffee just as you would prepare your normal coffee in the morning. You will find that the Mesquite Coffee will have a delightful cinnamon aroma, and will smell as if you had already added some sweet, flavored coffee creamer. It is also common and expected for the finer grounds material to make their way through whatever filter system you use and into the coffee. This is not only not a bad thing, but it is preferable. Remember, this is not your normal coffee. While industrial/commercial coffee is bitter and granular, and you really never want the grounds in your coffee, Mesquite Coffee is sweet and flavorful. The fine grounds that do make it into your coffee are quite tasty and consists primarily of roasted sugars. The sugars in Mesquite Coffee are extremely healthy and in some documents are recommended for diabetics who use the sugars to control their glucose levels. So do not worry about any fine "grounds" in your coffee - they are just a delicious additive to your Mesquite Coffee experience. Serve your Mesquite Coffee just as you would any industrial/commercial coffee. Try it black first, then, try it with your favorite creamers, honey, etc. One of my favorite ways to prepare coffee is with fresh cream and honey.
Iced Mesquite Tea
Iced Mesquite Tea is made in the exact same way as the Mesquite Coffee. In fact, you could (if you like) call it "iced coffee", except it really tastes like a premium iced tea. Here at the ranch, we brew a regular pot of Mesquite Coffee and then we "water it down" with water and lots of ice until it attains the coloring you would expect of iced tea. Remember that there is a natural sweetness to Mesquite tea, so you don't have to add much in the way of sweeteners to make sweet tea. We generally add just a teaspoon or two of honey, and a few drops of Stevia sweetener to make a delicious southern-style sweet tea. Mesquite Coffee/Tea is so efficient that we normally make a pot or two of coffee in the morning (we often have 6-8 people drinking coffee), and then we make Tea from whatever coffee is left in the pot! Often a large carafe of Iced Tea can be made from the few ounces of coffee left in the pot. This after using only 1/3 of the amount of ground coffee, compared to what we used to use when we drank industrial/commercial Central American coffee.
We will send a lb. of Central Texas Mesquite Coffee for ministry donations over $25 to those who specifically request it.