If recent caffeine-related trends (coffee! Japanese iced coffee!) are any clue (coffee! Japanese iced coffee! Caffeinated gummy bears! ), one thing is certain: Americans enjoy their caffeine in any form they can get it. That’s why we’re pleased to present you to coffee cherry tea, a somewhat different type of java.
The product, also known as cascara, is manufactured from the dried skins of the coffee berry and is mostly consumed in coffee-growing countries such as Bolivia, Ethiopia, and Yemen, among others. However, the combination has gained popularity in the United States in recent years, with Starbucks, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Shake Shack all featuring seasonal cascara-based beverages on their menus at one point or another.
To be clear, the coffee cherry tea we’re discussing isn’t brewed from cascara sagrada, which is a nutritional supplement that is occasionally taken as a tea. The latter product is linked to a host of undesirable side effects, none of which are present in the cascara we’re discussing.
Find out all you need to know about coffee cherry tea, from what it is to how to drink it properly and, of course, how it compares to more typical coffees and teas, right here.
What is cascara, exactly?
Let’s start at the beginning: You may be surprised to learn that a coffee bean is actually the seed of a coffee cherry. A coffee cherry, which is generally red but can be yellow or orange in colour, usually contains two seeds, which we call coffee beans. “A layer of slimy mucilage covers the two beans side by side in the heart of the coffee cherry, which is protected by the outer skin,” stated Tom Saxon, the founder and head of coffee at Batch Coffee. Cascara is made up of the outer skin.
The coffee cherries shown here have two seeds, which we call coffee beans.
The cascara is made from the dried outer peel that protects the coffee beans.
Although the peeling husk is commonly composted, many farmers gather it, dry it in the sun, and package it into cascara, which takes several months to develop and appears dark red when ripe, according to coffee expert Jen Stone.