Sept. 18, 2015
In previous years, our Cascara reviews started out with "coffee, tea..or both!". Well, this year we’ve tagged onto this…”or a snack?”. That's right, we're sitting around eating the stuff, something we just wouldn’t do with previous lots. But this one’s crunchy, tart, sweet, and tastes a lot like dried cranberries...I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat it?! So what makes this cascara different from the sort of “traditional” cascara of years past? While this cascara looks similar at a glance, the work behind producing it is substantially different. This isn’t just a by-product of the coffee processing; it is a very intentional product, using different methods that belong more to a food processing facility than a rural coffee mill. But I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First, a little background is necessary in order to provide context.
What is “Cascara Tea?”
Cascara (or Qishr/Gesher as it's called in Yemen/Ethiopia) is the Spanish term for the dried coffee fruit skin. The fruit of the coffee cherry makes up over 50% of the total coffee cherry mass. During the pulping process, this fruit is removed from the seed and exhausts through a channel into an area separate from the beans. That’s quite a bit of potential waste. Traditionally, the cherry is mainly reused for fertilizing the farm, a nice way to complete and then begin a new life cycle, right? But somewhere along the way in Yemen, the potential to dry the cherry and use as a tea-like beverage was realized, and the production of Qishr tea was born. It tastes tart and sweet, a bit weightier in body than most teas, and considering that the...