Fabaceae, Lupinus pilosus, Altrei coffee, Tyrolian coffee
Lupinus pilosus also known as ‘Altreier Kaffee’, or Altrei Coffee, used to be widely cultivated as a caffeine coffee substitute around the village of Altrei, in the Tyrolian Alps, Northern Italy. Interestingly, not only from a cultural and historical but also from a botanical standpoint, since 2006 a local initiative is re-establishing L. pilosus cultivation in the Altrei region to revive this culinary specialty.
Initially I collected seed growing from plants outside a UC Berkeley plant science facility, the large seedpods drew my attention. Now I’ve been growing the species for years. This year I have hundreds of seed due to a productive harvest in early summer. One remarkable characteristic of the flower is that is smells exactly like grape soda. Here is a PDF of an article on the use of this species as a coffee substitute. ‘Altreier Kaffee’- Lupinus pilosus L. cultivated as coffee substitute in Northern Italy