linda villano, serendipitea, cascara, coffee, tea
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Cascara by Linda Villano, SerendipiTea

Monday, April 4th 2016 @ 1:36 PM

Coffee and Tea have never been more closely aligned. Tea menus are expanding in traditional coffee houses and many coffee-style beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos are being made with tea.


With the introduction of so many new ingredients to the specialty beverage arena it’s inevitable that cascara, also known as coffee cherry tea, will soon become a fixture in coffee and tea establishments. 


Cascara (Photo Credit: SerendipiTea)

Cascara, the Spanish word for the husk or skin of a fruit, in this case refers to the coffee cherry inside which two coffee beans are found.

Coffee Cherry with Beans (Photo Credit:

Cascara is a tasty by-product of the coffee manufacturing process which was usually discarded, used as livestock feed or composted then used as fertilizer.  More and more, however, these husks are sun-dried and sold as a type of tea. The fragrance is reminiscent of dried cherries or raisins and cascara from different origins and different coffee plant varieties offers a myriad of complex flavor notes which include cranberry and honey, chocolate-covered cherries and even watermelon if steeped lightly.  Caffeine content is reported to be about 25% less than what is found in coffee.

Recommended steeping ratios and times are as follows:

Hot: 18 grams of cascara per cup of 200° water (not boiling), steep for about 4 minutes. Varying the ratios and steep times will affect the intensity of flavor and color so adjust to taste.

Cold-brew: 35 grams of cascara to the same amount of water and let steep overnight in the fridge. Scale up proportionally for larger batches. Extraordinarily refreshing!

Interested in adding cascara to your offerings?  Speak with a local roaster about securing a batch with their next green bean delivery. Directly following crude oil, coffee is the second most traded global commodity but it’s harvestable only three months out of the year thus creating economic instability in many coffee growing regions and particularly for small, independent farmers. Demand for cascara would help coffee farmers, increase shipment volume for importers and create exciting new menu options for coffee and tea house operators. 

To read more about cascara see the article entitled Cascara in the July/Aug 2016 issue of The Tea House Times.

~ Linda Villano, SerendipiTea

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© All content and images are copyright of author.
LINDA VILLANO co-founded in 1995 with Tomislav Podreka. With a passion for all things Tea, she oversees all aspects of the business; including client consulting, concept and design, staff training, sourcing and product development (recipe creations). Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs and chefs, she considers her role as a purveyor of premium teas & tisanes a natural continuation of her family’s culinary tradition.   Linda is a published illustrator and writer. Her illustrations appear in Tomislav Podreka’s book, SerendipiTea: a guide to the varieties, origins and rituals of tea, and she writes articles about tea for trade publications.

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