What Is Cascara?
Cascara is the fruity flesh of the coffee cherry that is then dried and transformed into many alternative products. However, this wasn’t always the case. Originally, many farmers simply discarded the fruit as a byproduct of coffee production. Some would use it for compost but, that was about as useful as it seemed.
Now we know better. We have learned of the value of this small superfood and have already transformed how it is used. Even better, it is now a great way for farms to generate more income from their labor intensive coffee production efforts.
Cascara is usually found in “tea” form. Keep in mind that because it does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant it is not a true tea. It also is not considered an herbal tea as it is made from fruit vs. an herb. Therefore, the closest definition would be a fruit tisane but, since most people steep it and serve it in the same fashion as tea leaves, “tea” it is!
Keep in mind, we said superfruit. Cascara is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and has less than half the caffeine of coffee or tea. And that’s just when you brew it or use a concentrate! You can also get a fiber boost when you bake with it or add it into a granola mix.
Flavor is obviously a large factor. Most describe the fruit itself as having a mix of mango, berry and, most importantly, honey notes. When dried, the notes take on a slightly less sugary hint and gain a slight tangy and floral note.
Who Is Using It?
Many companies are becoming as inventive as they can with this new addition to the coffee family. The Coffee Cherry Co. created a flour that can be used in baking or as a boost for beverages. Caskai is a crowdfunded brand that saw the potential and benefit in upcycling cascara is delightful flavors such as Mint and Hibiscus. And then there is Nomad Energy who offers a plant based energy drink made from only six natural ingredients.
At the end of the day, Cascara is gaining notice and more people seek it out every day. With all of the benefits it offers; health, sustainability, and even economic growth for the farmers we love, it is no wonder Cascara is growing.
To learn more about coffee and tea, stop by and visit our Blog section for more information!