Coffee made from a type of pistachio nuts could provide a caffeine free and healthy alternative to the popular hot beverage, according to research by scientists.
They claim that carefully roasted, the fruit of the Pistacia terebinthus tree, which is much smaller than normal pistachios, could offer all the flavor of coffee, with none of the kick – as well as being significantly cheaper.
The researchers found that when they roasted the P. terebinthus nuts for 20 minutes at 200 degrees they started to show a volatile chemical profile similar to roasted coffee beans.
The roasting produced high amounts of chemicals that give the nuts a caramel and burnt sugar smell along with a slight citrus and pine flavor.
The raw nuts look and smell like normal pistachios. But when roasted they took on a rich, nutty coffee-like aroma.
The researchers hope to fine tune the roasting method while also reducing the oil content of the ground P. terebinthus nuts so they can be sold commercially.
Currently the nuts grow wild in parts of Turkey but the crop could be easily commercialized.
Dr Mustafa Ozel, of the University of York said work could now be done to perfect the coffee alternative – opening the way to passing the espresso test.
“The roasting process can be manipulated to bring out different flavors and minimize any deleterious compounds produced,” he said.
“While the overall chemical composition is not similar to coffee beans, the final roasted product has a similar volatile composition.”