Cascara Fruit Tea
Dried skin off the coffee cherry has been used for centuries to make a hot beverage in parts of Ethiopia and the Middle East. This is some of the finest we have ever tried from perhaps the most dedicated cascara producers in the world, Beneficio Helsar de Zarcero mico mill in Costa Rica.
Cascara comes from the Spanish word for skin or husk and is the fruit skin of the coffee cherry that makes up over 50% of the total cherry mass. During the pulping process the fruit is removed from the seed and is separated from the beans. This particular lot is crunchy, tart, sweet and tastes like dried cranberries.
Before the cherry is pulped from the seed, they are soaked in filtered water, a first stage of cleaning the fruit. Then the cherries are run through a machine used to both separate out any over and under ripe coffee that were missed, as well as perform a three-stage hydro-wash to remove any dirt that remains post-soaking.
At this point the cleaned cherry is pulped using a pulping machine solely dedicated to this project. Next, they move it to a steaming chamber in order to kill any mycotoxins that could potentially lead to molding. And finally, the cherry is spread out on racks and put into a large dehydrator where nearly 100% of the water is removed.
We recommend a fairly long steep time for 'tea' but you won't get the nasty tannic bitterness of an over extracted black tea. Have a play around with what strength and mouthfeel you enjoy. For us we like the following recipe:
8g of cascara, 220mls of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and sip away!