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A Guide To Brewing Cascara (Coffee Cherry Tea)

Cascara (the spanish word for husk, peal or skin) is a type of tea brewed using the dried skins of the coffee fruit which are collected after the seeds have been pulped during the processing of ripe coffee cherries.

Usually this would be discarded but some farmers collect and sell this to locals who brew it as a tea. This is especially common in countries like Yemen where Qishr is drunk – a mix of cascara, sugar, cinnamon and ginger – Ethiopia where it is made into a drink called Hashara and Bolivia, where it’s referred to as Sultana.

Brewing is simple as with many types of tea. You add boiling water to the dried Cascara, let it steep for 4 minutes and strain and serve. You can use a lose-leaf type tea strainer or a french press or even a Chemex (without the filter) to brew it in.

To brew, simply…

  1. Add 20g or cascara to the vessel you will be brewing into;

  2. Add 400g of boiling water making sure everything is submerged;

  3. Allow to steep for at least 4 minutes, strain and serve.

To experiment with how the tea is consumed in other countries, try adding cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar or honey.

Although this is a drink made using the coffee fruit, don’t expect a coffee flavour. These are the skins of the fruit, dried and unprocessed, whereas coffee beans are roasted to highlight the desired characteristics of that coffee.

Cascara does, however, contain caffeine as this is a natural occurring substance in the coffee plant but research shows that it contains less caffeine than brewed coffee and about double the caffeine or black tea.

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