On a jeep tour in the Sonoran desert recently, our guide lectured on the jojoba plant, saying the beans are high in caffeine, which is why Native Americans chewed them for an energy boost and cowboys used them to make coffee. What do you think?

ask-the-marshall.Roy McKay

Phoenix, Arizona

Your guide needs to take a refresher course on jojoba beans. They contain no caffeine. He’s right about the cowboys making a brew with the beans, but it was a poor substitute for coffee. When they couldn’t afford real coffee beans, the punchers would pluck the beans from the jojoba plant, roast them in a skillet and grind them up in a coffee grinder. It tasted raunchy and would peel the hide off a gila monster but then again, cowboys weren’t too particular about what they guzzled.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@sccmail.maricopa.edu

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