It may seem paradoxical, but in the world of coffee…, not everything is coffee. There are many infusions or drinks of a similar preparation, which are called “coffee” because of their similarity and the way they are made, but which do not come from the coffee plant but from other cereals or vegetables. This is the case of fig coffee, the subject of today’s article.
Fig coffee is just what it sounds like: an infusion similar to coffee but made from a fruit: the fig. Obviously not fresh figs, as we are used to seeing them in the shops, but roasted black figs, which are completely dried and retain most of the fruit’s properties.
It is a drink similar to other alternatives such as chicory coffee or barley coffee, among others, which we have already reviewed in our guide of coffee substitutes.
The truth is that roasted fig coffee is a very popular infusion in Argentina and other Latin American countries, although not so much in the rest of the world, as a natural (unprocessed) alternative to coffee. And with these lines, we intend to make it a little better known.
What is fig coffee for? Advantages and applications
This type of infusion is often taken as an alternative or substitute for coffee at breakfast and tea time, almost always due to intolerances or incompatibilities with caffeine. But the benefits of fig coffee go far beyond the absence of caffeine. We will summarise the most important ones in this section:
- The main advantage of fig coffee, compared to coffee obtained from the traditional coffee plant, is that it has no caffeine (or theine, as this molecule is called in tea). Therefore, it has no contraindications for people with hypertension, for people suffering from high blood pressure, for pregnant women or nursing mothers, it does not prevent you from falling asleep… nothing like that.
- In fact, as it contains numerous nutrients of natural origin, its consumption can be beneficial for pregnant women.
- It can be drunk either hot or cold.
Fig coffee and its properties
- It does not make you sleepy or disturb your nerves. It is not a stimulating product.
- The flavour of fig coffee is reminiscent of fresh figs, but it is tinged with the toasted notes of dried figs, which is exactly what makes it remind us so much of traditional coffee.
- It is a healthy drink, very aromatic, with a very pleasant taste due to its fruity origin.
- It has high antioxidant properties.
- It is a digestive infusion, so we can drink it after a large meal.
- It is high in fibre, vitamins and above all iron.
- It limits or controls cholesterol levels.
How to make homemade fig coffee
We can try to buy it packaged, but in many countries, it is not very popular, so let’s start by learning how to make artisan fig coffee. In this case, the recipe for fig coffee is similar to that of other coffee-like infusions, such as the chicory coffee we have seen before.
First of all, you need to buy black figs, which are left to dry in the sun. You can also dehydrate them if you want to speed up the process. The point is to have the dried figs as a starting point for our elaboration.
Once dried and “hard”, it is time to grind them to obtain a bean with a texture and appearance similar to coffee. In this case, it will be more black in colour and not as brown as coffee. The thickness of the grind will depend on how you are going to prepare it later, but we advise you to opt for a medium grind, neither too fine nor too coarse.
So, now you know how fig coffee is made. As you can see, it is a very natural and simple process that anyone can carry out at home (by preparing the drying facilities a little, especially if you plan to dry a large number of figs).
How is commercial fig coffee prepared?
Now let’s assume that you already have the grind or the product ready. If you choose to buy fig coffee instead of making it yourself, the method of preparation will depend largely on how the product you buy is ground.
The good thing is that it is a very flexible food: ground fig coffee can be prepared both hot and cold.
Hot fig coffee is the most coffee-like version we know. It can be prepared with some of the standard methods we use for a fine-medium grind coffee, such as a Moka pot, a french press or a manual drip cone. Filters, in general, work best for this type of coffee-like brew. Afterwards, you can add the usual condiments (milk, honey, sugar…) to taste.
But you can also make it in the style of instant coffee: that is, by adding the amount of product you want – normally two or three teaspoons per person – to a cup of very hot water. Keep in mind that when you go to buy fig coffee, or mixtures of fig coffee with other ingredients, the packaging will clearly indicate whether it is a grind to be prepared in a coffee machine or a soluble preparation.
On the other hand, cold fig coffee results in an infusion more similar to what we know as iced tea. It is usually served with a lot of ice, very liquefied, and with some sugar. It is more like a soft drink than anything else.
Where to buy fig coffee?
If you have reached the end of this article, it is because you have been very interested in what you have read (and therefore you are already interested in trying it) or because you already knew about it before and had a previous interest in it.
Unfortunately, we have to tell you that it is not easy to find places where they sell fig coffee wholesale, although you can ask herbalists and establishments specialised in natural/organic products.
There are some options to buy fig coffee on Amazon (we have included some on this page), but they are not always 100% pure fig. You can find mixtures of fig coffee with chicory or other cereals, almost always insoluble or instant format.