Costa Rica Cascara
After coffee cherries are picked, the skin and fruit residue is removed using depulpers. This fruit skin has always been used as the base of fertilizer on coffee farms, but in the last few years some producers have started drying a portion of these skins to be used for tea (or tisane) preparations.
This organically produced cascara comes from the AFAORCA group in the Terrazu region of Costa Rica. It’s a really nice batch. We’ve had “chipped” cascara prepared for us before that ended up being a little too dried out, vegetal and tobacco-like, but this stuff is plump and dense, the color of Luxardo cherries. The fruit tea that it produces is exceptionally sweet, with a surprising acidity, and flavors that I’d compare to orange juice, prunes and Juicy Fruit gum. (It tastes quite a bit better than that combination might suggest!)
It can be prepared to different strengths, but we suggest starting with 20 grams of cascara steeped in 300 grams of water (about 30 seconds off the boil) four four minutes. A longer steep will increase viscosity and intensity. There is no “correct” brew time or ratio, as far as we can tell. It mostly depends upon your own preference.
Brewed cascara contains about 1/4 of the caffeine of brewed coffee, but I wouldn’t call it a low-caffeine alternative. Perhaps the sugar content of the liquor makes it seem like it has more caffeine than it actually does. In any case, it’s a caffeinated beverage, and you need to experiment to see how your body responds to it.
Sold in a 12 oz bag