Cascara: Making Tea out of Coffee.

Coffee cherries by Larry Jacbosen, Flickr

Everyone knows coffee, right? It’s that much-beloved drink that either gets us ready to face real life when we’re having an early morning or that can also be enjoyed like a complex and delicious specialty with lots of wonderful aromas and tasting notes to discover. ( Maybe you can tell, I’m clearly a fan of the second option…)

But what if I told you that you can make tea out of coffee? Curious? Let me explain!

Coffee grows on little trees. Coffee trees, to be precise. ( Wow, what a revelation, I know.) The interesting part, and a fact that many people are not aware of, is that coffee is a fruit. It grows as a ‘coffee cherry’, and each coffee cherry will usually have two beans inside.

 

The coffee beans as you know them and are used to are the final product; the green bean depulped from the fruit, dried, processed, and roasted. But what happens to the rest of the coffee cherry, the dried fruit that sits around our delicious coffee beans?

It gets discarded and pollutes the environment.

And yes, that’s very sad… because like I said, it’s a fruit! And an edible one, too. So one wonderful thing you can make out of these dried coffee cherries is coffee cherry tea, or, how it is also called, ‘cascara’.  Now, of course, you will not find coffee growing in your vegetable patch or local garden… But you can buy cascara from a lot of coffee shops, or order online. If you’re interested, just go around your local ones and ask!

Cascara is steeped like normal tea and its flavor profile depends on the coffee variety. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even add different spices to your tea to make it even more interesting. So plenty of things to discover.

Of course, cascara also contains caffeine, but it is not as strong as a cup of coffee. Also, you won’t taste any bitterness or sour notes, as the cherry has a mild and pleasant taste. It always reminds me of fruit tea but without the fruity acidity! Cascara is perfect for a refreshing drink throughout the day, and you can also enjoy it as iced tea. This makes it a great alternative to coffee and, if served as iced tea, a good option to cool you down on warm days (yes, we’re looking at you summer!).

2016-02-28 11.57.16Dried coffee cherries.

I hope you enjoyed this short lesson on coffee and how it grows – personally, I can lose myself in this topic for days… but I tried to be as concise as possible, for the non-coffee-nerd-community’s sake.

Have you ever tried cascara before, or do you have any other creative advice for delicious refreshments? Share your secret recipes!

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