What is Cascara you ask? It is more commonly known as Coffee Cherry Tea a.k.a. Coffee Tea.
A Coffee Cherry is the fruit which surrounds and protects the coffee beans. The Cherry appears approximately nine months after the Coffee plant blossoms. The Cherry then ripens over the course of several weeks.
Cascara is Spanish for “husk”, “skin”, or “peel”. The Coffee Cherry is usually considered a by-product of the Coffee Industry. However, for centuries in many parts of the world the Cherry has been collected after the harvest, sun-dried and brewed into a tea.
The Cherry contains most of the sugars found in coffee and is what gives the bean much of its flavor. When dried they have a leathery/woodsy appearance. The aroma is sweet and fruity. Some liken it to tobacco.
Cascara isn’t exactly a coffee, nor by definition is it a tea. Although when steeped in water it does make tea. That said, there is no exact recipe to extract the perfect cup. That distinction is best reserved for the individual. A good rule of thumb to start is 3 tablespoons of Cascara to 10 ounces of water. From there you can begin adjusting the ratio to suit your personal preference. Cascara can be brewed with hot or cold water, to further suit your taste. You can even add spices such as ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon (I prefer the unmolested, natural flavor).
Cascara does contain caffeine. However, the levels have been found to be fairly low. Certainly not on par with coffee. I am not a Tea drinker. I like the idea of Tea, but not really the Tea itself. I love Cascara though! I generally enjoy drinking a cup in the afternoon or evening when I want something hot, but am not in the mood for coffee.
So there you have it. Cascara provides a delicious alternative to Coffee or Tea. Or, for those who already enjoy both, a unique drink to explore that bridges the gap.
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