Roasted ipil-ipil seeds make good tasting coffee. It had been used as good coffee during the olden times which helped our forefathers grow strong and healthy.
Ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca L.) grows abundantly in the Philippines and in other parts of Asia. It is also known scientifically as Mimosa glauca L. and Acacia glauca W. It is called lead tree in English and is locally known as Sta. Elena, agho, ipel, kabahero, etc.
When I was a kid at a rural barrio in Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines, probably during the sixties, my grandfather always asked me to pick out fresh ipil-ipil leaves or ipil-ipil tops at our backyard to be used as valuable feed to his herd of turkeys, ducks, and chickens, in addition to rice bran and water lilies — for which his domestic animals looked healthy and robust.
Fresh ipil-ipil leaves and tops could be valuable ingredient in poultry feeds contributing to the desirable yellowness of the egg yolk. Based on research studies, however, livestock feed should not contain more than 20% of ipil-ipil as it contains mimosine, an amino acid known to be toxic, which can cause hair loss on horses’ manes and tails. Cattle and goats, fortunately, are not affected.
The seeds of ipil-ipil provide several beneficial uses. Based on traditional experiences, 1 teaspoon of powdered dried seeds mixed with condensed milk or followed by half-glass of drinking water, 2 hours after meal and repeated after a week, can heal intestinal parasites such as ascaris and trichinosis. Roasted ipil-ipil seeds can make alternative good tasting coffee, especially if mixed with barako or arabica.
As a kid, I had my first taste of ipil-ipil coffee. My uncle’s wife roasted dried ipil-ipil seeds in the frying pan the traditional way, then without grinding poured it into boiling water in the cooking pot — probably to have something new for a hot drink. We then always had hot coffee during breakfast made from roasted rice. The ipil-ipil coffee tasted wow!
The dried seeds are also used in making bags, necklaces, and other decorative items. The ipil-ipil tree is a good source of fertilizer, animal feeds, charcoal, timber, and firewood.
Published in: Rural Living