Introduction: ACORN Coffee

Picture of ACORN Coffee

Acorn Coffee...?!?

Well, I've heard about this for years and being into bushcrafting I've always fancied trying it out for myself.

Earlier this year when I noticed a good acorn crop from several mighty oaks, I thought I'd give it a go.

* Just a note though: Thanks to some great responses by my viewers I would like to add Acorns contain a lot of tannin and need to be prepared to remove the excess before using.

On the good side though tannin gives them a tea and coffee-like quality and they were much used to make drinks in the past. Traditionally the acorns would have been shelled and soaked in a river for several days to leach out the tannins before being roasted.

Here's a wiki link to tell you more about it ""

Now, this acorn coffee doesn't actually dissolve like normal instant coffee so it does need to either go through a cafetiere or a coffee machine. Or even put it in a cut off section of tights, wrap a string round the top and use that as an infuser.



It's best to wait for the acorns to drop from the tree when they're brown, but you have to be quick as the cheeky squirrels are ready to gobble them up. Also if they've been lying on the ground too long you get little holes and maggots in them.

Gather them up and pop them in a bowl when you get back home. Clear away any cups or leaves etc and just have a closer look to see if they're ok. Any split, soft damaged or holy ones just discard, we threw them back in the woods for the squirrels.

Put a large pan on the stove, put the acorns in and fill it with water so it covers them. * Bring to boil and boil for 15mins, topping up the water if you need to. This will kill any maggots in them that you've missed and also soften the shell for easier shelling. Also this will remove the tannin in the acorns making them good to go.



Tip into colander and allow to cool then make a cuppa as the next bits gonna take a while.

Although the boiling would have softened the shells somewhat, they are little tinkers to peel. I ended up with using a big knife to cut them in half and pop the nuts out. I started with myself and my 2 kids and a while later ended up just myself. It's a pain, but gotta be done.



Time passed and before long I ended up with a decent sized oven tray of just nuts and loads of discarded shells.

Again, this is a good chance to visually inspect your acorns as you may have missed the odd hole in some earlier. Softer ones, discard as there WILL BE a grub / maggot in there, or its been in there and left it bad.



Any ones that we are discarding we are taking back to the wood to give the squirrels a tasty treat.

Shells and all as they will all rot down and add nutrients to the soil. If you take, you have to give and thank the trees for sharing their bounty.

Then put the tray with nuts on in a preheated oven, about 180oC to roast. Keep checking them and moving them about so they roast evenly. You could leave the peeled nuts to dry for a couple of days before you do this, but we really couldn't be bothered to wait that long and so roasting took a little longer.

The time would all depend on your oven and quantity of nuts, its not rocket science, they're just nuts, keep an eye on them and pull them out when they look like dried nuts, slightly darker in colour and a lovely nutty smell.

Step 5: GRIND

Picture of GRIND

When they're ready, it's time to grind them down.

I don't have a posh coffee grinder thingy so I put a few handfuls in a jug, shoved a hand blender in with a cloth over the top.

And off we go. They make a right racket, sounds like your chopping stones, but really satisfying all the same.

Keep going through your stash and don't pull the cloth off whilst you're doing it as THEY FLY OUT EVERYWHERE :-)


Picture of ROAST AGAIN

When you've done your stash, tip them onto the oven tray again and pop them back into the oven.

This time, watch them more carefully as they will roast alot faster as they're smaller. Keep mixing them around to ensure even roasting.

The smell is really nice, roasting nuts kinda smell.


Picture of CAN YOU GUESS

I roasted mine until it was the same colour as a popular brand of coffee which we drink and then pulled the tray out of the oven and set it aside to cool.

Which one is the Acorn coffee do you think, left or right..?!?


Picture of DRINK TIME

It was the one on the left. But there really wasn't that much in it.

I used 1 1/2 tsp of Roasted Acorn Coffee and put it in my coffee maker once it had cooled.

It splurted out a deliciously smelling, dark looking coffee like hot drink.

Now I'm not actually a coffee lover, I love the smell, but find the taste a little too bitter for my liking, I'm a TEA drinker and always have been. I'll have a coffee, but it has to have a lot of milk in it for me to enjoy it.

Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed my mug of Acorn coffee, it was pleasant and satisfying without any bitter taste, it had similarities to coffee, but being as its not coffee it didn't taste like coffee, but it was really nice.

We all tasted it black first and it was pleasant, but once we had added a little milk to it, it was yummy.



Try it and see for yourself.

Acorns are freely available now (October) and if you've got the patience to peel the little blighters, they really are enjoyable as a warming drink on a cool autumns eve.

Thanks for reading and hope you've enjoyed my Acorn coffee instructable.

Cheers ;-)

DISCLAIMER: It may not be for everyone, if you've never had acorns before, do the safe taste test by rubbing a bit on your lip and waiting to see if there's any reaction etc, then your tongue, if you're sure you're not allergic to it then its upto you. By making and consuming it you do so at your own risk.

I've made it, I've drank it. My families drank it and we're all A-ok. It's upto you.

I've also found this link "" which is REALLY INTERESTING and thought I'd share it with you too.

Thanks ;-)


RafałH (author)2016-07-28

I am very surprised by good taste of coffee from acorns. Recently did this myself how it tastes and it is quite good. I'll take inventory of her home. Interestingly there are several recipes for her but do not know what is the best, maybe preferable to try to do them all. Can someone already knows best?

sleepingbeauty667 (author)2016-01-09

You can also shell them slice them thinly, boil 4-5 times changing water each time and then roast the nuts. I use this method.

SherillinS (author)2015-10-13

I have a better easier way, fast! If you can pick only white oak acorns, (small, brown, squat, striped) these are low in tannin & sweet. Place two handfuls in a tray. Bake at 400* 40 min. Throw all in a 3 qt pot of simmering water. Boil 20 min & strain. Your done! Nice iced. Add honey if you like. Throw the acorns back to squirrels. Wheee

alexdavepage (author)2014-11-01

Thank you for sharing this. I've been wanting to make acorn coffee for some time. I do believe acorn coffee originated during the American Civil War. Confederates had no coffee and hardly had anything to feed themselves with. They'd gather acorns to boil over a fire, they'd smash the acorns with the butts of their rifles to "grind" them, then they brewed the grounds. They'd often throw in the hardtack into their acorn beverage to soften it up. They also used acorns to make acorn flour since conventional flour was very rare for them to have.

ponentesincausa (author)2013-10-06

OMG this is awesome! I've been going to a big local park and noticed these nuts for about YEARS. Nobody knows what they are (acorns are not popular here) and they just fall and rot. I've always wondered if they were eatable, also: I LOVE coffee, and this is perfect timing to do it. I'll definitely go and collect a bunch, THANKS!

ScottyGS (author)ponentesincausa2013-10-08

It is an awesome tutorial and I thoroughly enjoyed (and laughed at) blueangelical's humorous comments too and think I'm going to try this, but please make sure what you're gathering are acorns and haven't been sprayed with pesticide (you can ask the park keepers). There're also hazelnuts (filberts) which are also perfectly edible but I'm not sure if you can make a drink out of them?...although hazelnuts make a delicious nut butter. Just be absolutely sure to identify whatever it is you're making to ensure it isn't a 'toxic to humans' nut. I don't know where you live but I'm a bit surprised you have so many left untouched. Where I live (in New York), the squirrels scoff 'em up nearly as fast as they can hit the ground. :) The exception is when they land in the pool...and leave little tan stains all over which are almost impossible to get out.
Btw you can also use your abundance of acorns in their little cups as part of a fall wreath decoration. :)

jodi8727 (author)ScottyGS2013-10-18

I love hazelnut flavored coffee so I don't see why you can't use them this same way. Though I have heard someone adding the whole nut to their coffee maker for a fresh hazelnut flavor. I have my young uns collecting the neighbors acorns, both red and white oaks, so we can try this.

ScottyGS (author)jodi87272013-10-26

Hi Jodi: of course, you're right. Don't know what I was thinking, lol. I LOVE everything hazelnut. I suspect my brain was on the 'raw' compared to 'roasted' track, and thinking wild hazelnuts might possibly not be 'as' good, but it's a feeble excuse. I'm a huge Nutella fan too as BlueAngelical has mentioned, but I just discovered (at the local Odd Lots during my very first visit there last week)(who knew they carried all these European goodies--yum!?), an Italian version of Nutella spread called Nutkao. 13oz for $2.50 so very affordable and scrumptious for the small amount I use. Don't know if it's totally comparable ingredient-wise, but just mentioning it for those hazelnut lovers among us. :) I DO love your idea of tossing a couple of whole hazelnuts into a coffee grinder and will now try that for my next mix. Haven't yet collected enough Acorns to give this coffee a go--one of my elderly kitties has been ill so has been taking up all of my time but he seems to be on the mend so 'a-hunting acorns we will go' although no kids here to help with the peeling, I'm afraid. :(

ScottyGS (author)ScottyGS2013-10-26

oops, that's BIG Lots, not Odd Lots. Mea culpa.

blueangelical (author)jodi87272013-10-18

That sounds yummy. Nutella is hazelnuts isn't it.

My kids loved the drink, kept them busy for hours peeling the little blighters too, I'm sure yours will enjoy the peeling too ;-)

Thanks for the comments.

blueangelical (author)2013-10-25

Nice. Why don't you do one of these about gathering and eating those with LOTS of pictures.

I'm sure it would make interesting reading.... good day to you too ;-)

chiefredelk (author)2013-10-24

Years ago when I lived in the woods for weeks at a time with no provisions I found the white worms in Acorns are a good source of food...Just pop them in your mouth and swallow..In fact there were times I sat on the ground under an acorn tree and gathered the bad ones just for the worms inside. They are NOT maggots and they ARE edible..NEVER chew them just swallow them whole as they are and your stomach will do the job for you. I never washed them off either. just pop them in your mouth like a bird would do... A couple of black carpenter ant's are good tasting too. Eat only a few or they make your stomach acidly... Bit their heads off first so they con't bit you, chew a couple times and swallow..The way to get the tannic acid out of acorns is to use sand and fresh water....You make a shallow pond with a levee of sand all way around. Fill the pond with acorns and water. The water will seep out through the sand. Fill it again. use normal temp water no need to boil.. Keep this up for a few days and then test an acorn. When it's no longer bitter it's ready to eat or make coffee with..Good day, Chief..

blueangelical (author)2013-10-18

Bummer. Well thanks for trying it anyway, sorry to hear they didn't turn out nice for you after all that work. May have been the variety of oak you have, just the amount of times you had them boiling tells me they must have had loads of tannin in them.

Don't forget though, it shouldn't actually taste like coffee as it isn't coffee beans, its acorns, the coffee bit I believe is because after prepared it has the appearance and texture of coffee.

Couldn't fault my batch, been giving it to friends and family with great feedback. Anyway 10/10 for trying, thanks ;-)

solobo (author)2013-10-18

Awesome instructable. I enthusiastically tried it: I gathered about a gallon of acorns from my back yard (coast live oak), boiled them for about half an hour, shelled them (for about 5 hours), boiled them again (four times for about 15 minutes each), baked them, ground them (in a blender), and then roasted the grounds until dark brown. I ended up with about a pint of "coffee". I brewed a cup by soaking grounds in boiling water for 5 minutes, then pouring the "coffee" off the top.

The taste was terrible. Not like coffee at all: more like very, very strong Oolong tea. I made it through about half a cup before throwing it out (and, as my wife likes to say, I will usually eat anything). It may be that mine still had too much tannin, even after boiling 5 times total. I'm not sure.

DeeRilee (author)2013-10-17

Hmmmmm, we have huge pin oaks on our property, I'm pretty sure they are have higher levels of tannin.....but perhaps if I boiled them longer!

Great Instructible!

blueangelical (author)2013-10-17

Mmmmm, that'll be a no, ain't got one of those, sounds good though. After boiling, they don't exactly crack as the shells are soft, hence the peeling and not cracking ;-)

skeptikool (author)2013-10-10

Have never tried it but know it was quite popular during WW11 where coffee was rarely available. Acorns are abundant locally (Delta BC) Must give it a try. Very nicely explained. Thanks. I wonder how it compares nutritionally.

PhantomOfHeat (author)skeptikool2013-10-17

I did not know I slept so long that I missed 9 World Wars ;)

As for nutrition check out

PhantomOfHeat (author)2013-10-17

I know some one that roasts coffee and they use a hot air popcorn popper since they found it gave more consistent results than the oven you could give that a try if you have one.

PhantomOfHeat (author)2013-10-17

You could use a press to crack them or alternatively use a set of C-clamps and place the acorns between two boards tightening the clamps till the shells crack.

blueangelical (author)2013-10-10

Thanks for the comments, by the time you've finished picking, sorting, shelling and preparing them I reckon you'd have burnt off any calories they would have had ;-) try them.

Search in google for recipes, there's tons of them using acorn mash and acorn flour. Loads of nice old ones too.

blueangelical (author)2013-10-10

;-) thanks guys, I love the old style things, cheers.

Off to the woods, great.., check those Blackthorn trees for their Sloes along the way as they're ripe now (UK), great for making Sloe Gin :-)

rickharris (author)2013-10-09

Applause really well presented and a great idea Off to the woods today.

Many thanks.

usMudack1998 (author)2013-10-09

I had to laugh at the old style border around your picture there, great instructable!

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

Definitely worth the bother, give it a try, you may like it and its FREE ;-)

Thanks and glad you like the pictures too. X

nwlaurie (author)2013-10-09

Nice one - I've often wondered if it'd be worth the bother! Sounds like it might be...

haruspex (author)2013-10-09

This is wonderful, I must do this now. Thank you for the lovely write-up and pictures.

haruspex (author)2013-10-09

"If you take, you have to give and thank the trees for sharing their bounty." I agree, although you're not really giving as much as return part of what you took ;) Plant a tree as thanks ^_^

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

Hiya, The woods near us is all white Oak, yes they have less tannin. Might be worthwhile boiling red oak ones longer then, eh.

Oak flour, fantastic. The cookies sound delicious. All this free food around us and the shops keep putting their prices up, crazy world. That acorn beer sounds brilliant, making myself some Sloe Gin this year. You'll have to ible the acorn beer when he's done it to let us know how delicious it was. Cheers ;-)

bhaworth1 (author)2013-10-09

This is so cool, thanks for posting! I have the acorn cookies to go with the coffee. I started making acorn flour about 4 years ago. It does take time to tone down the tannin. I use it for short bread cookies and mix with other flours for bread. They are really good with home made syrup or honey. When I first started, it made me realize how much we depend on sweetners. My brother is currently working on acorns for his beer instead of hopps.

mrdovie (author)2013-10-09

Do you know if you have White Oak or red? White Oak is said to have less tannin.

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

Pleasure, thanks for taking the time to write a comment.

They also make excellent catapult ammo, well its what my kids say, honest ;-)

Kweek (author)2013-10-09

Awesum, I have been stomping around on the acorns in my yard for a week now thinking "I really should try to do something with those". First I considered bread, but coffee is a better place to start. Thanks for the inspiration!

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

Mmmm, after boiling the shell were soft, before I decided to cut them in half, the round bit at the base of the acorn (not the cup) which is a different colour is really easy to pull off and then you get your nails in the gap and peel.

By all means try the nut cracker as we didn't have on to try with, but may be a bit soft for it. Thanks for your comment.

porcupinemamma (author)2013-10-09

I was wondering if a nut cracker (the kind that people use at Christmas time when they have bowls of nuts out on tables) would work for cracking the acorn shells???

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

"snoopindaweb" your avatar picture is brilliant ;-)

blueangelical (author)2013-10-09

Hi folks, nope didn't consider a solar dryer, good idea though..

Mmmmm, pretty sure but I don't think this ible has anything to do with animals so there's no need telling us about the really....

Lol - left was the acorn granuals, but there really wasn't that much in it, colour was nearly bang on and size was ever so close too ;-)

We collected thousands of acorns from the woods to make the coffee, loads had their cap on. Most of the maggots were in ones without caps on. So there may not be any truth in that one and apparently the tannin is in the skin/shell of the acorn and not the nut..

snoopindaweb (author)2013-10-08

180c X 1.8 + 32 = 350 degrees plus 6 if You count them too.

inert1492 (author)2013-10-08

Story I heard lately about acorns, if cap is still on acorn on ground it contains a maggot/worm. if cap is off most of the acorns on ground are free of worms. Relates to deer feeding on the ;mast, they dont eat the ones with worms as the worms make the acorn bitter..

midsummermuse (author)2013-10-08

Darn it I guessed wrong (just read the next step haha). Looks like coffee!

midsummermuse (author)2013-10-08

I'm guessing.. the stuff on the right is acorn coffee! Just because the grinds are larger. Am I right? ^_^

Winter Run (author)2013-10-08

This is just to let others be aware that acorns are toxic to horses, cows, goats, donkeys, dogs and there might be more. It's really interesting that there are a lot of things we can eat or drink and others including animals that can't. Many don't realize what effects it could have on your dog, for example. I don't know how much would have to be consumed for it to be life threatening.

lbrewer42 (author)2013-10-08

1/3 part cold coffee, 1/3 part milk, 1/3 part Pepsi - males coffee palatable for me :)

nevils-station (author)2013-10-08

Fascinating ... will have to try this.

Did you consider using a solar dryer?

blueangelical (author)2013-10-08

;-) nice, just don't boil the squishy one, the hard one'll have the acorns in - lol.

tn. (author)2013-10-08

omg, i live in the middle of Oak Central (aka, major bush country south of algonquin park) and i'm constantly twisting my ankle stepping on these little buggers.

i knew it was possible to make a drink out of them but i did not know about the roasting and i always understood the drink was bitter/acidic.

guess i know different now - taking a plastic bag with me next time i walk the dog! (well.... *another* plastic bag).

(one that is a VERY different colour from the other)

srilyk (author)2013-10-08

Who cares about toxic? Tannic acid is extremely nasty, blech! I learned that the hard way when I thought maybe an acorn would be a delicious nut (hint: it's not. At least not when it's raw)

blueangelical (author)2013-10-08

Hiya, yeah people have been eating them forever, as long as they're cooked to remove the tannin, they're good to go. There's loads of acorn recipes out there.

You're right about the white oak by the way.., wiki says " Species of acorn that contain large amounts of tannins are very bitter, astringent, and potentially irritating if eaten raw. This is particularly true of the
acorns of red oaks. The acorns of white oaks, being much lower in tannins, are nutty in flavor; this
characteristic is enhanced if the acorns are given a
light roast before grinding."

sconner1 (author)2013-10-08

Gotta try.
I know they're edible but Sooooo many people think they're poisonous.
Is it the bitter tannin that fools people?
I hear White Oak (rounded leaves) is better than Red Oak (pointy leaves) but I have no personal experience to offer an opinion.

blueangelical (author)2013-10-08

Just made some with double cream and honey in and frothed it up... OMG !!! Amazing. Just a thought though, wish I made more now as everyone I know is popping round to try it.

Back to the woods this weekend I think, now my fingers have got better from all the peeling last weekend ;-)

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Bio: "Any fool can make things complicated, it requires a genius to make things simple"
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