Cascara - The Sustainable Forbidden Coffee Fruit

What is cascara?

Cascara… What is it? The forbidden fruit? The solution to coffee farm sustainability? Perhaps you’ve heard it in the name of various Starbucks drinks or maybe you’ve never heard the name before. Well, today is your lucky day. Today, we’re here to celebrate and discuss cascara, which is the husk of the coffee cherry. 

Let’s back up a little bit. Where does coffee come from? The beans that you grind up to make your morning cup are the roasted “seeds” that comes from the center of a coffee cherry. When coffee is harvested, the coffee fruit is removed in a number of different ways (these different methods are referred to as processing methods) in order to make it to your bag of coffee beans. What happens to the rest of the coffee cherry?. Most classically, the skins of the coffee cherry are a waste product of harvesting coffee and are thrown out. But there is another way. These fruits have a lot of potential and need not have their fates decided so early. A lucky few are carefully separated and slowly turned until dry to become the product we enjoy as cascara.

What are the benefits of drinking cascara?

Fermented coffee cherry husks can prove to be a great fertilizer on coffee plantations. However, around 40% of the cherry husks are discarded, and 97% of that amount ends up in a landfill. Using these husks is a wonderful way to prevent wasted food. Not only that, using cascara is a way to strengthen the coffee trade economy, helping coffee farmers reduce waste and add income. 

Cascara has great benefits for the world around us, but it is also wonderful when used for any sort of drink. The coffee fruit is well-caffeinated which means that cascara can put some peps in your steps. Whichever way you use cascara, it holds your daily caffeine fix and can be a complement to your daily coffee or a nice refreshing summer beverage. The cascara fruit also holds plenty of antioxidants and vitamins. 

What does cascara taste like?

Cascara, like coffee, has a range of flavors, depending on its growing and processing conditions. For example, dry-processed cascara, which is removed from the bean after it has dried, produces a fruitier flavor profile in comparison to a honey-like wet-processed cascara, which is removed from the bean and then dried. As a whole, however, cascara is known for its sweetness, and also has tangy and floral flavors present.

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