Do you like coffee? Do you like tea? Well, here is a delightful combination of the two, Cascara, coffee cherry tea. Think about how we get coffee: farmers harvest the coffee cherries off the coffee shrub and pull the seed out of the middle. So what happens the to rest of the cherry? Some ends up in compost piles to become fertilizer for other plants or discarded, but some gets dried and sold to tea lovers.
This coffee byproduct is frequently called cascara, which means “husk” or “skin” in Spanish. Once the beans are harvested, the cherries are washed, removing more of the pulp from the skin, and the skins are dried in the sun. These skins are then packaged and sold as tea. Being from the coffee plant, this tea will give you a little caffeine boost, albeit about 1/4 of what you would get from the beans.
Recently I did an interview with Ashley Williams at Legacy Farms Coffee who was kind enough to send me some of his Honduran beans and cascara tea. This was a first for me, so here is my experience:
- Sight – although frequently called coffee cherry tea, the cascara does not look like tea at all. What you get is a dried up fruit that looks a lot like a raisin and is sized between a raisin and prune.
- Smell – the smell that came through to me was dried apricot.
- Feel – the cascara is very dry and mostly crunchy. There is not much pulp or meat left on the cherry, so it is not much like a prune or raisin other than in sight.
- Taste – I did not try the dried skin before adding water, but after making the tea I did chew on the cascara, which tasted like it smelled – dried apricot. The tea on the other hand tasted quite a bit differently. My first thought was that the tea tasted a lot like Earl Grey with strong fruity, tangy overtones. So, while it comes from a coffee plant, cascara does not taste like coffee at all.
If you are interested in trying some cascara/coffee cherry tea, grab a bag from Legacy Farms Coffee! Also take a look around my website, and check out my coffee gear page if you are looking for cool coffee products for yourself or the coffee aficionado in your family!