Everyday there are new trendy drinks that pop up on menus. Over the last few years one of those drinks has been Cascara. But what is Cascara? After hearing about it, I had to go out and try it. The results were, it being one of the most interesting things I have tried in my coffee! Read down below to find more about Cascara.
What is Cascara? Where does it come from?
The coffee beans we all love come from a fruit called a coffee cherry. Coffee cherries go through a process that separates the skin from the seed(coffee beans). The beans get turned into our coffee that we drink, but what happens to the skins? When the skins are dried, we get Cascara. Translated, Cascara can mean “shell”, “rind”, or “husk” in Spanish.
Cascara has come into popularity within the last few years. Although it is not something that has been newly created. Cascara like coffee, originated in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia it’s called Geshar or Hashara when made into a drink. The drink is made by brewing the dried skins of the coffee cherry, ginger, and sometimes cinnamon. Since it’s so much cheaper to make than coffee, it also goes by the name “poor man’s coffee.”
What does it taste like?
Now you know where Cascara came from and how it’s made. But what does it taste like?
A lot of people assume Cascara tastes very similar to coffee since they come from the same fruit. Although not quite the same, the two do have some overlapping flavors. They both have floral and sugary notes. Cascara can be described as having flavors of: honey, cherry, rose hips, and even tobacco. The flavor of Cascara does change depending on the region it is grown in.
Uses for Cascara
As mentioned above in the origin section, Cascara can be made into a tea-like drink. Cascara tea is made through steeping Cascara in hot water for a few minutes. After that you can enjoy your tea as is. You could add ginger and cinnamon to the drink if you wanted something more traditional.
Here’s an easy to follow video on how to make hot cascara tea:
Cascara can also be turned into a sweetener for drinks in the form of syrup. The syrup is a great addition to tea, coffee, or cocktails. When I add cascara to light roast coffee, I feel as though it enhances the similar notes in the coffee. Which makes for a great cup of coffee to me.
If you want to make cascara syrup yourself thelittleblackcoffeecup.com has a simple recipe that you can follow. They have links to different cocktail recipes that make use of the cascara syrup as well!
Caffeine and Health Benefits
Cascara does contain caffeine like coffee. The caffeine levels are a lot lower though. About 25% of what coffee has. An 8oz cup of Cascara tea has roughly 25mg of caffeine. Where an 8oz cup of coffee could have 75-100mg of caffeine. If you wanted a boost in energy from the caffeine I would recommend drinking coffee instead of the tea.
Cascara is rich in antioxidants. It is the fourth highest antioxidant rich superfood in the world. Cascara has 78 times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates. “It has also been clinically proven to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor.” Meaning it helps with health, focus, memory, and repairing of the brain.
Now you know what Cascara is and where it comes from. You know the different flavors and uses it has. So all that’s left is for you to go out and try it. Comeback and let us know what you think of it!