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Fabaceae, Lupinus pilosus, Altrei coffee, Tyrolian coffee

March 29, 2012

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

.Lupinus pilosus seed

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 10:08:51 am

    A soda scented nitrogenous plant eh? Might have to look into that one! No doubt it will attract bees (and if it smells like grape soda, most probably some of the local childlife in the district…). Cheers for another great post 🙂

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