That it could be a local source for coffee or coffee-like drinks seems really promising to me.
There's alot of discrepancy with the quality of this product. Google kentucky coffee trees and you'll get tons of sources that tells you how far you would have to stretch your imagination to make it taste like coffee and that the settlers only tried it once and never again because they were high one day.. I feel like people just want to say whatever they can so they feel they are above wild foods. The USDA even says its super poisonous (its obviously not).
People with I'm sure no first hand experience of trying Kentucky Coffee tree coffee who put down the drink as barbaric, archaric, nasty, or what have you... I think are just really biased. So I wasn't satisfied with a first look. I wanted to see if it could be a viable source for a coffee like drink.
So I found a blog with a person who says she went with Wildman Steve Brill on walk and picked up some Kentucky Coffee seeds to make what she calls a "Nutella like paste" http://habeasbrulee.com . That led me to looking up Steve Brill's opinion on the seeds, and he says "The pod of the Kentucky coffee tree makes the world's best tasting caffeine-free coffee". http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/aug3/wildman.htm Quite a huge difference in opinion! I'd really like to believe that Steve's opinion is more accurate, because other sources say I'd be wasting my time.
Anyone have any experience with the Kentucky Coffee Tree?
No, it didn't taste like coffee, but was decent as a hot tea type drink.
I do recommend roasting the beans and not using them raw.
For most plants, that seems to be the function that caffeine serves: they protect edible parts of themselves by adding something that suppresses appetite, causes some discomfort if more is consumed, and kills if the animal in question consumes too much.
Tastes just like coffee, Carl Mehling told me. Carl is a paleontologist and educator at the American Museum of Natural History, and he enjoys collecting and eating edible wild plants. I've served it to friends, and nobody ever suspected it was anything other than coffee. Even when I tell them, people have a hard time accepting that it's not the real thing