The sun is rising over the horizon, fresh morning dew covers the grass, the birds are singing, and I'm wishing dawn was further away. Like that irascible fat cat Garfield I'm not a morning person. I hate mornings and the only thing that makes them even slightly bearable is good strong coffee. (And busting a few zombie heads while drinking it.)
The only problem with my morning routine is where to get the coffee. Since the dead rose I can't exactly take a stroll down to the local Starbucks and have the Zombified barista whip me up a cup of Joe. (Unless he's recently been on the menu, so to speak. But I'm thinking hot caffeinated drink, not liquefied zombie chow previously named Joseph.) And since electricity is hard to come by my coffee maker is retired, even if the supermarket were Zombie free and stocked with Maxwell House. So it comes down to just a few options: stock up early and often, grow your own, or find a substitute.
In this article we'll examine the three choices for post rising coffee. And yes, I am aware that there are alternative breakfast beverage options I'm simply ignoring them right now. Though if you're good I might touch base with them at the end.
Firstly let's consider coffee after the dead rise. It's a rich, slightly bitter drink made with hot water and ground coffee beans. (if you really need the explanation of what it is then you're either an idiot or a Mormon (Mormons don't drink coffee, heathens!). Anyway, the smell is distinctive and many people currently using automatic drip coffee makers wake up to the scent in the morning. Post Z-day there won't be traditional coffee makers but a good old fashioned camp percolator would work as a substitute.
As for the coffee itself the first thing to do is when you see the dead beginning to rise and the world starting to go to hell...get your ass to the store and grab as much coffee as you can. The instant kind would be ideal but any coffee is a good start. If later on while you are scavenging you run across coffee cans stock up on them. Ground coffee lasts nearly forever with minimal loss of flavor over time. So always keep a weathered eye out for it when scavenging coffee houses, Starbucks, Caribou Coffee stores and the like.
If you find that others have beaten you to the coffee and your personal store is running low you could always think about growing coffee. It's time consuming but not as difficult as you might think. First, did you know that the coffee bean is actually the seed of the Arabica cherry? The cherries are picked, allowed to rot, and the seed left over is what we'd call 'the coffee bean'. Awesome.
So once you have the beans (an Arabica cherry takes about a year to grow and begin producing so you might want to start now.) you allow them to sprout by placing them on a sand covered area and covering them with moist burlap. Once the sprouts are about 20cm high you can plant them in soil that has been enriched with rotting cow manure. (For some people I imagine knowing this has cured their coffee issue.)
You harvest the coffee when the cherries on the plant are bright red, glossy, and firm. Then you force the cherries through a screen with holes large enough for a coffee bean but not for the entire cherry. Then you let the remains of the cherry and beans ferment in a vat of water for 36 hours. Lastly, you remove the beans from the mixture and set them to dry in the sun. This may take quite some time depending on the weather. Once dried they can be ground up or used whole to make coffee. This coffee is not going to be exactly the same as what we get in stores but it'll be fairly close.
If all this sounds waaaay too time consuming for you then there are a few other options. Some people make a kind of coffee substitute out of chicory. I'm given to understand that it tastes very much like dirt though.
Other options, not all of which taste very much like coffee but are sometimes used are, almond, acorn, asparagus, malted barley, beechnut, beetroot, carrot, corn, cottonseed, fig, boiled-down molasses, okra seed, pea, persimmon seed, rye, sassafras pits, sweet potato, and wheat bran.
Postum was an instant type of coffee substitute made from wheat bran, wheat, molasses, and maltodextrin from corn. It reached its height of popularity in the United States during World War II when coffee was sharply rationed. It remained popular for many years but is no longer made. In the wake of its discontinuance, a number of replica recipes for Postum have circulated across the Internet. (currently 8 ounces of Postum can be purchased online for about $80.00!!!)
Dandelion coffee is an infusion or herbal tea, and coffee substitute, made from the root of the dandelion plant. The roasted dandelion root pieces and the beverage have some resemblance to coffee in appearance and taste.
Another good option is potato coffee. It's made from clean potato peelings dried and roasted then ground up and boiled. It's taste is actually very similar to real coffee too. Some people even use roasted chocolate beans in lieu of roasted coffee beans. This yields a richer blend with a similar bitter and sweet flavors to a dark French roast. Of course if you have time and available ingredients you could try different combinations of the ingredients listed earlier and see what tastes closest to real coffee to you.
Okay, I know there is at least one caffeine addicted twenty something out there saying, what about energy drinks/soda. While this article is primarily about coffee and its substitutes, this does need to be said: DO NOT USE THEM. These are not substitutes for coffee, these are specially blended concoctions which are primarily used to render a person useless without them. The last thing you need post Z-day is to acquire a new addiction that has no real means of being fed. Other stimulants to be ignored are meth and cocaine, remember you’re trying to live, not pledge Alpha Beta.
As for all you non-coffee drinkers here's a sop to you. Other great choices for breakfast drinks include but are not limited to...tea (assorted), orange juice, apple juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, Clamato juice, milk, and hot chocolate. Also yak milk. Try it! Most of these will be a lot easier to find post zombie apocalypse than coffee and it's substitutes. I wonder if Zombies would drink coffee? (editors note: Yes, yes we do!) Good luck with your morning routines once the zombies start to walk.
Remember, you heard it here first now....SURVIVE THIS!
Editors Note: If you have any questions or comments about this article, or you have a suggestion for subject matter that you'd like to see the Twins write about, please use the comment section below