MCG has recently started experimenting with the production of cascara, an increasingly popular coffee product.
What is coffee cherry tea, or “cascara”?
Cascara (pronounced “kahs-kah-rah”) is the Spanish word for pulp, or the skin of the fruit that surrounds the coffee seed. The coffee plant’s seed is dried, roasted, and ground to make brewed coffee, but the fruit containing the seed can also be used to make a tasty beverage. In the wet mill process, this chewy, tart/sweet flesh is removed from the parchment before the coffee seed is dried. This fruit is approximately 60% of the cherry’s weight upon harvest. While we send most of it back to the farms to make organic fertilizer, we keep some of the best lots and dry them in the sun on raised beds to create this product.
How to prepare cascara?
HOT: Make a tangy infusion (reminiscent of cranberry and roselle, or Te de Jamaica). Use a French press or tea infuser and brew as you would with tea. Use a ratio between 1:10 and 1:20 of cascara to boiling water (i.e. 20g of cascara to 300g of boiling water) and steep the cascara for about 4 minutes before straining.
COLD: Using the same ratio as above, add sugar to taste and simmer gently on a stove top until liquid reduces to a thicker texture. Then chill and use as a syrup in your favorite cocktail, or make a refreshing soft drink with soda water (MCG’s favorite use!).
Read more here:
Why try cascara?
ENVIRONMENTALISM & INCREASED FARMER INCOMES: While cascara makes perfectly good material for compost, it can also be reclaimed into delicious products like this one. Coffee is an amazing plant and we want to utilize every part to its utmost potential. Read more here:
CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT: Cascara infusions have been consumed in Ethiopia (as “buno”) and Yemen (as “qishr”) for centuries. Read more here:
DELICIOUS & VERSATILE: Tasting notes include rosehips, tamarind, roselle calyx, and cranberry. It can be used hot or cold, with emphasis on sour or sweet. Cascara is increasingly popular with competitive baristas and everyday coffee shops like Starbucks.
HEALTHY: Cascara has a far higher antioxidant count than brewed coffee. It has been suggested that cascara has eight times the antioxidants of blueberries with immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. While both cascara and coffee husk have a much lower caffeine content than coffee, they still have an energizing effect when consumed. Read more here: