There are few different plants found in North America that can be used to make a coffee or tea substitute. However finding caffeine can be a challenge.

Cleaves are oddly enough (at least, it’s odd to me) in the same family as coffee. Yes, coffee. It’s seeds can be ground to make cleavers coffee.

It does have signification less caffeine than coffee and it doesn’t taste a whole lot like coffee, unlike dandelion or chicory tea. But, if you love that caffeine boost, it can get you there if you’re without your normal coffee drip.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a wild plant native to Europe and the Balkins and can be found in the North America. It’s both edible and medicinal.


Overview: A sprawling, annual herbs. No branching, but one continuous stem. Whorled Leaves. Velcro-like hairs cover the entire plant.

Leaves: Thin, wider at the end than in the middle or near the stem. The end of the leaf is rounded or rounded with a tiny point at the very end. Whorled.

Stems: Angular, square, tiny fibrous hairs.

Seeds: Round, tiny fibrous hairs that act like velcro.

Flowers: Cleaver blooms are small, white, and nestle-in with the leaves and not a large plume of blossoms off the end of the plant.


  • Cleavers are not safe to consume if the individual is on any blood-thinning medication, including aspirin.
  • Many people are allergic to cleavers so try only a small amount first.
  • Cleavers may stimulate contractions in pregnant women. Don’t consume during pregnancy except after your due date.
  • Touching the plant may cause dermatitis. Use caution.
  • For attempting to treat severe fevers, snake bites, or other medical emergencies, please seek professional medical help first.

Edible Uses

Cleaves once were picked and used as a potherb starting early in the spring until late summer. It can be harvested while the frost or snow is still on the ground and is very high in vitamin C, helping to keep scurvy away and keep the immune system and energy levels high.

Cleaver Coffee


  • 1 Tbsp Cleaver Seeds
  • 1 Cup Hot or Boiling Water


  • First, dry your seeds for 2 or more hours. Then roasted them on low in a skillet on your stovetop. Next, grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or cuisine art.
  • Finally add 1 Tbsp of ground seeds to your mug of water. You can pour it through cheese cloth to remove the grounds to improve the taste.


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  1. […] Wildcrafting Cleavers Coffee – Tracks and Roots […]

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