Cascara Coffee: A Refreshing Spin on Classic Coffee

Mihai Voinea
Medically reviewed by Mihai Voinea Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) — Research analysis by Alex Eriksson

The coffee scene has introduced another drink derived from the coffee cherry fruit. This drink is cascara coffee.

Although new in coffee shops, it has been drank traditionally in various coffee farming communities all over the world. Read on and find out if you might drink this as your daily caffeine beverage.



What Is Cascara Coffee?

Cascara coffee, also known as cascara cherry tea, is a beverage derived from the same fruit that coffee beans come from. The beverage is usually served hot and has a warm and nutty tone closely similar to that of caramel. It contains about a quarter of the average caffeine levels found in coffee beans.

The term “cascara” literally means husk or peel in Spanish. This is due to cascara being considered as a by-product of taking out coffee beans from the fruit of coffee plants.

Coffee farmers originally threw it away or used it as compost. The movement of environmentalism influenced some coffee farmers and processors to find a use for it and this started the use for it in making cascara coffee.

It is red or purple in color when picked from ripe coffee cherries and has a dark brown color when dried for brewing.

Do not confuse cascara with cascara sagrada. Cascara sagrada is a species of the buckhorn tree. Native Americans used its bark as a laxative in their traditional medicine.


Cascara Coffee Benefits

Contains a Good Amount of Antioxidants

The pulp of coffee cherry contains the polyphenols chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, rutin, and protocatechuic acid.

Naturally Promotes Your Energy

Cascara coffee provides a middle ground in terms of caffeine content compared to coffee and tea. It has a similar caffeine structure to coffee since the two comes from the same coffee cherry. But, the one from the plant’s husk provides a significantly lower caffeine content.

It also provides a fruity and sweeter taste for those who do not prefer the acidic profile of coffee. But, unlike most teas, it has a higher caffeine content which would give them the energy boost they need.

Because of these, cascara coffee can be an option for those needing their caffeine but would rather not crash after a sugar high or be kept up all night.

Boosts Mental Clarity and Health

Cascara coffee increases the levels of BNDF in the blood by a significant amount. BNDF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is a protein that promotes the survival of existing neurons, and the growth and differentiation of new synapses and neurons. BNDF is highly active in the parts of the brain responsible for learning, higher thinking, and memory.

Does Not Need Sugar (It’s already sweet!)

Cascara coffee has a sweet and fruity taste profile. Because of this, you can skip the sugar and still enjoy the drink. This means diabetics and others who would rather not use added sugar (or sugar alternatives) can use cascara as an alternative to coffee. This can be useful if you are looking to eliminate added sugar but cannot drink your coffee without sugar and must have your daily caffeine fix.


How to Brew Cascara Coffee

Coffee beans require roasting and grinding before brewing. Cascara is not any different. However, you can brew cascara without grinding and just steeping the pulp straight into water.

In brewing, the coffee brewing community is split on how it is best done. Some state that it should be prepared hot while others say that it should be done cold. So, we’ll just give you the instructions for both and you can decide for yourself.

Hot Cascara Coffee

The general recommendation for brewing cascara coffee is two tablespoons of cascara (5 to 7 grams) for every 8-oz. of water. It is recommended that you use freshly boiled water.

Place the appropriate amount of cascara coffee in your French press and add the boiling water. Stir and let it steep for four minutes. Stir it again and steep for another four minutes. Plunge the filter and pour the brew into your cup.

Cold Cascara Coffee

To cold brew cascara, you would have to use six tablespoons for every 10-oz. of cold water. Just place it in the water and refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain the pulp and drink when done.


Traditional Ways to Brew Cascara

Using cascara to make a beverage is not something new. It is not surprising that different cultures have found a use for the by-product of coffee cherry processing. Here are some of the traditional ways you can brew cascara.

Qishr

This is how Yemeni brewed the fruit of the coffee cherry. You would need the following:

  • ½ cup cascara
  • 1 ¼ cup (10 oz.) hot water
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (or ¼ tsp. ground dried ginger)

Mix all the ingredients in your French press and stir. Let it steep for four minutes. Stir again and let it steep for another four minutes. Strain and pour it into your cup.

You can pour the brew over ice and add ¼ to ½ cup of cream. You can replace ginger with half a teaspoon of caraway.

Sultana

This is the traditional Bolivian cascara “tea”. You would need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup ground cascara
  • 1 ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. clove
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

This beverage requires ground cascara so it is recommended to use a French press in making it. It is prepared in the same way as Qishr.

Cascara coffee is just one way coffee shops and brewers have made use of this coffee plant’s fruit. Some are also making beers and syrups out of it. If you are a coffee enthusiast, cascara coffee is something you should definitely try.


author
Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

author
Mihai Voinea (Editor)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.





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