Cascara, also often referred to as "coffee cherry tea", is dried outer skins of coffee cherries. It has been considered a by-product of coffee making process, and often discarded in mass, if not used as a compost. Recently, however, cascara is gaining its popularity in specialty coffee scene as an exciting, new and tasty ingredients. After all, beautiful coffee comes from beautiful cherries- why waste?
This dark red, sun-dried fruit peel has a shell-like, leathery texture, and makes a tea-like infusion. The flavor is quite different from roasted coffee beans- sweet and a bit tart like rosehip or plum, and mellow as honey. Although it is caffeinated, the caffeine content is less than a brewed coffee for about 1/4 to 1/8.
You can explore quite a lot with it as well- you can make a syrup, or dried cascara can also be used as a "coffee flour", ground and mixed with wheat flour to be used in baking. Playing around with some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to make it warmer and more fragrant infusion is also a known way to enjoy it.
What Kurasu loves about introducing cascara at their cafés is not just because it is especially high quality, gorgeous cascara, but because they feel that it is a wonderful way of up-cycling. As mentioned, cascara has been discarded most of the time, sometimes even causing a water pollution. Consuming cascara means less waste, less pollution, pioneering a new revenue source for the coffee farmers, all while enjoying a wonderful and curious encounter with coffee cherries.
- Origin: Guatemala
- Process: “Dry bicycle” de-pulping
- Variety: Pache
- Tasting Notes: Rosehip, plum and honey
Brewing delicious cascara is really quite simple and doesn't require any techniques.
The only adjustments are ratios and duration of brew which you can adjust depending on your flavor palate. The exceptional quality of the does not give astringency or negativity even when steeped for a longer time.
Here's how Kurasu are doing it in their cafes:
- Prep 7.5g of cascara. We'll use 200g of hot water from our hot water dispenser which is usually set to 96C (204F). Around 1:30 (1:25~1:35) cascara to hot water ratio seems to work best.
- Directly pour in hot water into a glass server, stop at 200g.
- We'll give some agitation to the cascara, a few vigorous stirs with a spoon.
Strain cascara after 4 min. At home up to 5 min is totally fine. Play around with the recipes!Enjoy!