Back in January, I wrote about coffee substitutes. We bought Altrei “coffee” seeds from Richters. There were 10 seeds in the package which is not surprising considering that this isn’t exactly a mainstream plant. Culturally, it seems that Altrei coffee nearly died out. We had 100% germination. Growth was so vigorous that we had to pot them up into 6 1/2″ pots.
After potting up, two of of the plants wilted and died. The eight remaining plants were planted out on June 5 and had to be staked because they were a bit leggy from growing inside with insufficient light. Three weeks later, we had the first flower bud and the first flower on June 27.
The flowers are spectacular. The photos don’t do them justice. By July 9, we were seeing the first seed pod. I really didn’t know what to expect. The wild lupins (lupinus perennis) that we grow have as many as 8 seeds in a pod but those seeds are tiny by comparison. If this lupin had as many seeds, the pods would be huge. As it turned out, the largest pod contained three seeds. As the pods ripened, they turned from green to beige.
The first harvest of seeds on August 14 gave us more that twice as many seeds as we started with! We harvested the last of the seeds today for a total of 216 seeds.
Needless to say, we are quite pleased with this result.
Now it’s time for coffee. This will take some experimenting and we don’t have a lot of seeds to experiment with. Assuming that this year’s germination rate and seed production are repeated next year, we’ll put aside 30 seeds hoping for 650 seeds next year and process the rest. We have barley that we grew for sprouting but we’ll probably use it with the Altrei lupins. So far so good although we’ll wait until after the first snow when the outdoor garden activity is over for the year and we have more time.