Weedgeek: dandelion

I’ll start this weedgeek post by saying that I know hardly anyone can pick dandelions the way I do. For most people with uniform yards of Kentucky blue-grass, extracting the yellow flower with an intact tap-root is a futile task. I’ve seen those screwdriver-like weed pickers that are sold in hardware stores described as ‘weed-breeders’ because they always break the root and any dandelion root fragment will just grow another dandelion.

Because I have no grass, I pick my dandelions with a pitch-fork.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the dandelion. People eat the greens and crowns. Make wine and fritters from the blossoms. But for me, dandelion-root coffee is the real prize. Because organic, fair trade coffee is pricey, it’s easy to quantify the value every scoop of dandelion coffee that I brew.

Here’s the how-to:

Pick dandelion-root by whatever means you prefer. I’ve used those ‘weed-breeder’ type pickers and gathered the top inch and a half of lawn-bound dandelion roots, but picking them from my garden with a pitch-fork has far more satisfying results.

Trim and clean the roots like any other root vegetable, and cut into matchstick sized pieces.

Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast/bake at 300 degrees for about 27 minutes – until the pieces are crisp like crisp-bacon. The aroma of roasting dandelion root will be like mocha.

Grind the roasted pieces in an ordinary coffee bean grinder and brew as a hot beverage in the same proportions that you brew your coffee, or blend it 50-50 with coffee as a value extender.


This section is where I’m supposed to write about why coffee is bad. It’s grown far away so it’s a carbon-intensive product. Unless it’s shade-grown (expensive), it destroys bird habitat. Unless it’s fair-trade coffee, it exploits local labour in under developed countries. Reducing your coffee consumption is a good thing.

Maybe I’ve been a weedgeek for so long now that for me, those reasons just don’t enter into it any more. For me, being a part of the productivity of that overgrown patch of ground behind my house is so gratifying that I rarely think beyond it anymore. These plants that just grow without any effort or input from me, this value that they provide, it just makes me feel … grounded.


(cross-posted at suite-mck.livejournal.com)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Sounds neat... but what does it taste like??

It's pretty good. coffee, vanilla, and some kind of bitter that's hard to explain. I liked it enough that I'm making my own.

Sounds interesting. I'm glad that I found your blog. There are a variety of "weeds" that grow on our property and I just finished reading "In Defense of Food" and the author, Michael Pollan recommends eating weeds. Just discover purslane and now you have something about lambs quarters. We definitely have purslane growing and I think there we might have the lambs quarter, too. I'll have to check with my local, naturalist nursery.

THANK YOUUU! I was looking for instructions on how to make coffee out these roots, and found you. I'm so glad to found you.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.