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The Secrets of Cascara: History, Benefits, and Easy Brewing Guide

Cascara: The Coffee Cherry's Hidden Gem

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In recent years, the word "cascara" has been buzzing within coffee circles,  it's bound to become a household term for coffee enthusiasts and casual cafe-goers alike. So, what exactly is cascara, and why should you consider giving it a sip? In this blog post, we'll delve into the history and benefits of this beverage and provide you with an easy guide to making it using a French Press. Plus, we'll throw in three delightful cascara recipes to tantalize your taste buds.

The Coffee Cherry's Hidden Gem

Cascara, the Spanish word for "peel" or "fruit skin," is the dried outer skin of a coffee cherry. It's harvested during the coffee pulping process, primarily from producers who use the wet method of coffee production.  These dried skins are then used to create a tea-like beverage.

It's worth noting that cascara isn't technically a tea, as tea originates from the camellia sinensis plant. Nonetheless, it is increasingly being brewed as a tea or tisane, offering a delightful flavor profile with fruity notes reminiscent of cranberries and honey. The versatility of this beverage shines through as it can be enjoyed both hot and iced.

Brewing Guide

Now that you're eager to give cascara a try, let's walk through the process of making a pot of this usual tea using a 34-ounce French Press. If you don't have a French Press, a mason jar can be a suitable alternative, although the French Press simplifies the filtering process.

The Ratios

Recipes vary widely in terms of strength. Some recommend ratios as strong as 10 parts water to 1 part tea, while others prefer milder brews at 20:1. For our tutorial, we'll use a 15:1 ratio, a balanced starting point. Adjust the ratio to your taste preference in subsequent brews.

1. Begin by adding 10 tablespoons or 60 grams of cascara tea to your large French Press.

2. Heat water to boiling and pour it into the French Press. Unlike traditional tea brewing, you can use boiling water since it's not made from camellia sinensis leaves. ( similar to other tisanes)

3. Steep for 4 Minutes and Stir Start a 4-minute steeping timer. During this time, gently stir a few times with a chopstick to ensure even extraction.

4. Slowly press down the French Press filter. Cascara won't resist as much as coffee grounds. You can enjoy this beverage hot or over ice. Any unused portion can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for later use.

Second Steep

Similar to many teas or tisanes , you can steep it a second time. The second steep won't be as sweet as the first but will still offer a rich taste. Follow the same instructions as above, extending the brew time to 6 minutes for the second steep.

Making a Concentrate

Did you know you can create concentrates for beverages requiring a stronger flavor, such as cascara lattes, homemade sodas, or cocktails. To do this, increase the ratio to 10 parts water to 1 part cascara (90 grams for a 34-ounce French Press) and extend the brew time to 15 minutes.

Alternatively, you can brew it like cold brew coffee by adding cascara to the French Press, pouring cold water over it, and letting it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours. However, the concentrated method mentioned earlier is a quicker option. Adjust the concentration to suit your taste.

Caffeine Content

While the exact caffeine content is debated, it's generally estimated to be around 25% of brewed coffee on an ounce-by-ounce basis. Due to its sweeter nature, some people might feel a noticeable energy boost from cascara.

Time to Start Brewing!

This is a hidden gem in the world of beverages, and we encourage you to explore its unique flavors and potential. Whether you enjoy it hot, iced, as a concentrate, or in one of the recipes we'll share below, cascara is sure to captivate your taste buds and elevate your coffee experience.

Just remember, if you're using the same French Press for both coffee and cascara, be thorough when cleaning the filter to prevent any lingering coffee flavors from affecting your cascara's taste.

Three Delicious Cascara Recipes

Cascara Latte: Steep cascara using the concentrated method mentioned earlier. Froth milk of your choice, mix it with the cascara concentrate, and sweeten to taste for a delightful latte.

Cascara Soda: Mix cascara concentrate with sparkling water, add a squeeze of fresh citrus (like lemon or lime), and a dash of simple syrup for a refreshing soda.

Cascara Cocktail: Create a unique cocktail by mixing cascara concentrate with your favorite spirits (like rum or bourbon), adding a touch of bitters, and garnishing with a citrus twist.

Unleash your creativity and enjoy this versatile beverage as you embark on this flavorful journey.

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