Coffee or tea? Gone are the days where you have to choose — this drink is both.
Before you declare your allegiance to one or the other, hear us out. The hybrid drink is called cascara, which is Spanish for “peel” or “skin” (yum!) because it’s made out the flesh of the coffee cherry, the fruit which produces the seeds we know and love as coffee beans.
(Photo: Instagram, Climpson and Sons)
Coffee grower Aida Battelle, who created the drink, told NPR in an interview that she stumbled upon it during a coffee tasting, when she detected a sweet aroma from the discarded pile of cherries.
“I just picked through it, cleaned it, and then put it in hot water, to see what it was like,” Battelle said. “Then I called my customers at the time, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, you have to try this. I’m going to send you a sample.’“
(Photo: John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In the coffee-making process, the flesh of the cherry is usually discarded or composted, so the drink provides a more useful alternative.
“We have been throwing away this perfectly good coffee fruit for a long time, and there’s no real reason for it, because it tastes delicious,” Peter Giuliano, of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, told NPR.
Though it stems from the coffee cherry, the fruit is dried and steeped in hot water. Fresh Cup Magazine describes its flavor as “a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry, red currant, mango or even tobacco.”
To add to the neither-coffee-nor-tea confusion, the jury is still out on how to properly make this drink because you can brew it with a French press or tea filters. Some prefer to drink it with the cherry, which is slightly larger than a tea leaf, floating loose in a glass.
You can also choose between hot or cold brew, so really we’re not helping your beverage decision anxiety by introducing you to this drink. But the Roasting Pack has a helpful tutorial to get you started if you’re interested in trying this coffee-tea liquid child.