What is Cascara and How To Make Coffee With it?
With the world’s obsession with coffee beans, from its flavor profile to its health benefits, have you ever stopped to wonder about the rest of the coffee plant? Introducing Cascara.
The coffee cherry fruit called Cascara is here to show you that the coffee bean is not the only delicious thing found in a coffee plant! We are here to answer all the questions you might have about it.
The word “cascara” means “husk” or “peel” in Spanish. Although this is a new beverage discovery in the United States, it has been a popular drink for a while in other countries around the world. For instance, countries like Ethiopia and Yemen have been producing, drying, and brewing Cascara for centuries. In many countries including those two, it has been a common drink and in some, even more popular than coffee.
What Is it?
Cascara is dried coffee fruit. It is a small cherry of the coffee fruit that holds and protects the coffee bean seeds until they mature and are ready to be harvested. It comes in different varieties, but most are yellow or red when they are ripe. Just like the coffee beans, they also contain caffeine. When coffee is harvested the coffee beans are separated from this part of the fruit, which originally was used as a fertilizer or compost. However, in many countries the Cascara is also dried and brewed, like tea, as a drink. This drink can be called Cascara or referred to as coffee cherry tea.
What’s The Buzz Around It?
Although Cascara is not new to other parts of the world, it has only emerged in the United States fairly recently. It’s introduction to the mainstream was mainly due to large coffee chains starting to include it to on their menus. Since it is a largely untouched market, the marketing done by these large coffee chains and their menu offerings of the Cascara drink is the first time consumers are hearing about it or tasting it.
Because of the newness, it is a rapidly growing industry and the drink has a lot of potential for growth and demand. Cascara not only allows for coffee farmers to use more parts of the coffee plant and make more money selling both the beans and fruit, but also gives baristas the opportunity to teach customers more about the coffee plant and the process behind their cup of coffee. As dried Cascara is not widely available to purchase, most drinks offered are presented in a grab-and-go type of beverage, which can increase its appeal to the masses.
Similarly to coffee, Cascara contains a large amount of antioxidants and can be seen as a healthy drink for the body. For example, a serving of the coffee cherry tea (Cascara) can have more antioxidant than blueberries, spinach, or other famous super foods.
How Is It Made?
In order to produce Cascara, the coffee cherry is kept as a whole after the coffee beans or seeds are removed. They are then washed to remove extra husks. These fruits are then dried, packaged, and shipped to their destination. The coffee cherry tea is made in the same fashion as tea is. It is brewed and steeped in a cup with warm or hot water. However, since it is still new to the United States, the perfect ratios of water to Cascara is still yet to be discovered...
Is There Caffeine In Cascara?
As mentioned above, the coffee cherry fruit contains caffeine, just as the coffee bean found inside of it does. However, it has less caffeine than coffee, containing only about a fourth of the caffeine found in the coffee bean. At its strongest brew, it has only about 111.4 mg/L of caffeine. Additionally, the caffeine amount can be depended on the ratio of water to cascara and how long it is steeped.
Is It Tea Or Coffee?
Now you must be thinking, if cascara is a coffee cherry fruit but brewed like a tea, then is it considered a coffee or tea? Well, there isn’t a straight answer to this, but it can be seen as an in between of coffee and tea.
Although it is a fruit from a coffee plant, it doesn’t taste like coffee at all. It also can’t be considered a tea since it originates from a coffee plant. Rather than coffee, it tastes more like an herbal tea with a sweet and fruity taste. This fruity taste can include cherry, mango, and hibiscus flavors. It can also have richer flavors like maple and brown sugar. The flavor profiles of the coffee cherry tea can be dependent on the variety of coffee cherry plant it comes from, the region it is grown in, when it is picked, and how it is brewed.
Instant Coffee And Cascara?
Since Cascara contains caffeine, it can be drank alone as your daily caffeine fix. However, for those who are used to or need to kick of with coffee, having only ¼ of the caffeine just doesn’t cut it. So how do you include both instant coffee and Cascara into your daily life? Well, although you can switch off drinks, by having a cup of coffee in the morning and cup of Cascara later in the day, why not have both together? As Cascara is more like a tea and has its own fruity or rich flavors, it can supplement your coffee.
By combining your cup of instant coffee with Cascara, it not only widens the flavor profile of your cup, but the added antioxidants cascara provides can be beneficial to your health. Choose to upgrade the best instant coffee with the benefits and flavors that can be found in coffee cherry tea.
Recipes With Cascara?
If you are interested in trying out Cascara after reading this article, here are a few simple recipes you can try at home!
Hot Instant Cascara Latte
This is a warm drink that combines the best of both worlds: instant coffee and Cascara
- 1 tablespoon of Waka Coffee’s instant coffee
- 1/2 cup of milk of choice
- 1/3 cup of coffee cherry tea
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of cascara
- Sweetener (optional)
- Add 1 teaspoon of Cascara to 1/3 cup of hot water and let it steep for 4 minutes.
- In a separate cup, mix in 1 tablespoon of Waka Coffee’s instant coffee with 1/3 cup of warm water.
- Add warm milk and mix together with the instant coffee.
- Strain the Cascara if you don’t like drinking loose leaf.
- Then add in coffee cherry tea and mix.
- (Optional) If you like your drink sweet, you can add your preferred sweetener to taste.
- (Optional) add milk foam on top or drink as is.
Iced Coffee Cherry Tea
This is a great drink to not only experience the taste of Cascara, but also cool down in the heat.
- 2 cups of hot water
- 4-5 teaspoons of Cascara
- Ice cubes
- Sweetener (optional)
- Heat up two cups of water.
- Then mix in 4-5 teaspoons of Cascara (can adjust amount according to taste preferences).
- Let it steep for about 4 minutes.
- Strain if you don’t like drinking loose leaf.
- Put into refrigerator to cool.
- Once cooled, add ice cubes and sweetener of choice (optional).