The world of coffee is full of exotic trends. From the infamous Kopi Luwak coffee to premium mushroom coffee, a coffee lover in today's age is never short on options. One particular trend has gained traction recently and it's called Cascara Coffee which is also known as Coffee Fruit Tea.
What is Cascara coffee?
To answer this question, we need to take a quick look at the physiology of a coffee bean. Don't worry this won't get technical. A coffee bean is actually the seed of a fruit. This fruit is often referred to as a coffee cherry. The cherry itself serves as a protective layer over the coffee bean and also infuses the bean with caffeine during its growth period. Once the seeds are removed from their cherries, these coffee beans (seeds) are then roasted and used to make the magical brew that keeps society functioning. Meanwhile, the cherry / fruit is most often discarded or used for compost. But what many don't realize is that the husk is just as valuable as the seed.
Ok, now that we've covered that we can now better understand what Cascara Coffee is. “Cascara” is a Spanish word that means skin or husk. In short, Cascara coffee is made from the dried skin of the coffee fruit (aka coffee cherry). More specifically, the dried peel of a coffee fruit is gathered, processed, and brewed.
The idea of Cascara coffee is somewhat deceiving because it actually doesn't taste like coffee at all and more closely resembles herbal tea. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise since it's not made from coffee beans but from the peels of coffee fruits.
Cascara Coffee or coffee fruit tea has a pleasant taste that's uniquely different from other common coffee varieties. The taste is fruity, sweet, and mild notes of cherry, hibiscus, mango, and other fruits.
Like regular coffee, the climate in which it's grown plays a big part in influencing the flavor. Cascara will generally have a refined floral and tangy taste with woody or earthen accents. Although Cascara doesn't taste like coffee, it does go well with it. Many coffee lovers will drink both together or even add cascara to their morning brew.
Cascara Sagrada is Different from Cascara Coffee
In answering the question of “what is cascara coffee” it's important to note the difference between cascara sagrada and cascara coffee. The former is a dried bark of a North American tree. The tree is common around the Pacific coast, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. Other names of Cascara Sagrada are Sagrada bark and buckthorn. Also, Cascara Sagrada is used as a dietary supplement and not a coffee drink.
How to prepare Cascara Coffee
Preparing this coffee is very easy. You can have your cascara coffee drink either cold or hot, depending on your personal preferences. When preparing a hot cascara, add your dried cherry husk (3 tablespoons) in a cup of hot water. Let the dried leaves soak for about seven (7) minutes. Use the infuser to filter out the dried husks and enjoy your hot cascara coffee drink. To prepare cold cascara, add your dried cascara husks in cold water and leave it for around 16 – 20 hours. Strain out the cascara husks and enjoy a refreshingly cold brew made of Cascara.
Health Benefits of Cascara Coffee
Cascara with its naturally high levels of antioxidants is considered an effective therapy for reducing stress, similar to tea. The cascara husk has several antioxidants, notably polyphenols. These antioxidants also help in fighting free radicals that may build up in the body after strenuous work or physical exercise.
Although Cascara coffee provides many health benefits, it also contains high amounts of caffeine. This may be a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for. As mentioned at the start of this article, the coffee bean gets much of its caffeine from the coffee cherry. Consequently, this “coffee” typically contains higher amounts of caffeine than regular coffee. If you're not looking to stay caffeinated for long periods of time, you may want to consider drinking Cascara coffee moderately at first.
Recommended Cascara Coffee
There are two brands that stand out when it comes to the best Cascara Coffee. We'd recommend going with Heirloom Coffee and Twin Engine Coffee for their take on the Cascara Coffee / Coffee Fruit Tea.