Coffee trends: cascara coffee

Are you a tea or a coffee person? Do you drink coffee at certain times of day, and tea at others? Perhaps you’d like to try cascara coffee, a tea/coffee hybrid that combines some of the qualities of both of Britain’s favourite hot drinks.

It’s brewed much like tea, but is technically a type of coffee and is made from the outer husks of coffee cherries, which contain coffee beans. In fact, the name cascara means skin, husk or peel in Spanish. Previously, these husks have been discarded as waste. Now, once the coffee beans themselves have been removed, the husks are dried and steeping in hot water to make a sort of infusion. The resulting drink doesn’t taste anything like coffee – it’s more like a herbal tea, with notes of red fruit and rose hip. Even though the husks come from the same plant as coffee beans, their caffeine content is low.

Cascara coffee comes to Europe

In countries such as Yemen and Ethiopia, they’ve been using coffee berry husks like this for centuries, but it’s only recently become mainstream in other parts of the world. Now, several commercial producers are offering cascara alongside their more traditional products.

To make cascara, you simply steep the dried husks in hot water. There’s no cut-and-dried recipe for this, so you can add amounts and steeping times to suit your own taste. Cascara is already naturally quite sweet, so if you normally take sugar you may not have to add any. The drink also works well as an iced tea, and should be served chilled and garnished with ice and possibly a slice of lemon.

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