This month we shy away from coffee we have roasted to chat about the natural bi-product of the coffee plant once processed - it’s time to talk CASCARA.
What is cascara?
Simply put, cascara is the husk of the coffee cherry and is a by-product of getting to the green beans we roast. It is produced in large quantities when ripe coffee cherries are pulped before the beans are washed and dried. In most coffee producing countries this pulp is deemed worthless and broken down to use in fertilizer. BUT we love it as it is a unique way of recycling left over coffee pulp is left to dry and from it we can make a caffeinated but refreshing tea.
Cascara has an interesting history. Farmers in Yemen and Ethiopia have been drying and brewing cherries like this for centuries. In these countries the dried cherry is often added along with spices such as ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon to make a fragrant drink known as Hashara in Ethiopia or Qishr in Yemen.
Buena Vista Mill
This particular cascara is the dried cherry from various high grown sustainably farmed coffees processed at the Buena Vista mill in Caranavi, in the heart of one of Bolivia’s prime coffee-producing areas. All of these coffees are grown at over 1,500 metres by small producers in the Caranavi region - a lush, fertile area of steep valleys and mountains that provides habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. The town of Caranavi is located in Las Yungas, which is a transitional area between the highlands (La Paz) and the tropical lowlands of the Amazon basin. Caranavi’s small, traditional family farms average around 5 hectares each, and are often planted out with citrus trees as well as coffee. Most farms use no chemicals or pesticides.
We recommend 12g of cascara to 500ml of water (at an ideal temperature of 90 degrees). Brew for four minutes or to taste. The outcome is a tea like quality, revealing yet another taste dimension to the coffee cherry.