What is Cascara (Coffee Cherry) Tea?
Cascara is the Spanish word for “husk” or “skin”. Cascara tea gets its name because it’s brewed from the skin of the coffee cherry, the fruit that coffee bean grows in. However, it tastes almost nothing like coffee!
The coffee bean that we know, and love grows on a small tree, and is actually the seed of that tree. When the coffee beans are harvested the fruit that the coffee bean grows in is typically discarded as a by-product of the coffee harvesting process.
However, the skin can be removed from the fruit and dried to produce a delicious drink. Not only do we get a wonderful product, we also get to use part of the coffee plant that would otherwise be wasted.
Image by Vandelino dias Junior from Pixabay
History of Cascara Tea
While this might be the first time you’re hearing of Cascara tea, countries like Ethiopia (birthplace of coffee) and Yemen have been brewing the dried coffee cherry for centuries to produce a beverage called Qishr which steeps the Cascara with spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. In Yemen Cascara tea is drunk more than coffee because it’s less expensive.
As coffee trees from Africa were carried by Europeans and eventually planted in Central and South America the dried coffee cherries became commonly referred to by the Spanish name Cascara.
Does it taste like coffee?
Surprisingly, no! Because the coffee cherry is a fruit the flavour is more closely related to herbal tea or a tisane.
Is it good for me?
It is high in potassium, fatty acids, and certain polyphenols while being low in both sugar and caffeine.
How is it brewed?
While Cascara can be brewed like a regular hot tea it can also be cold dripped which results in a beautiful iced tea.
We cold drip our Cascara over 14 hours, yielding a delicious drink that’s naturally sweet (we don’t add any sugar or other additives) and yet contains only 2.2% total sugar, making it a great alternative to sugar and additive-laden iced teas. Perfect for that mid-afternoon break.
Additionally, it’s low in caffeine so you can drink it later in the day without the caffeine keeping you awake.
Cold dripping Cascara Tea over such a long period of time means we can extract some complex flavours like white tea, honey, caramel plus yellow & white florals like jasmine & chamomile. That's the reason we don’t need to add any flavour enhancers like sugar, nor any preservatives or additives.
How should I drink it?
We recommend drinking Cascara Tea chilled over ice or adding some muddled mint and lime or even blueberries to give it even more of a fruity flavour.
Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous try our cocktail recipe below.
- 90ml Cascara Tea
- 30ml Frangelico
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
Pour the Cascara Tea, Frangelico and fresh lime juice into a shaker and shake with ice. Serves one.
The Cascara we make our tea from is not to be confused with Cascara Sagrada, the dried tree bark of the California Buckthorn tree, which is used for its laxative properties.
So, while the word ‘Cascara’ is used in both, ours refers to the Spanish word for ‘skin’ or ‘husk’ while the other version is the Latin botanical name.