Cascara is illegal in the United Kingdom? I know, it was news to me too. All of the coolest applications of the dried coffee cherry—cascara chocolate, cascara soda, etc—have come from the UK. Specifically, they have come from the man in the video, co-owner of London’s Square Mile Coffee, author, and World Barista Champion James Hoffmann, who gives an update on the status of the legality of selling cascara in Europe. Turns out, it ain’t.
In the video, Hoffmann gives a brief history of cascara in the UK. In short, it was considered legal when no one really knew what it was. But now that folks are trying to sell it as its own thing, cascara is no longer being protected under the provisions it once was (which are only in place to allow for the occasional coffee cherry sneaking its way into lower grade commodity coffee).
Hoffmann is just one of a few folks working to get the sale of cascara legalized, including Klaus Thomsen of The Coffee Collective in Denmark and Joel Jelderks of Panama Varietals. But as it currently stands, it is “not illegal, it’s just not legal yet” for sale, which has lead to “raids” of cafes and roasteries where their cascara was reportedly confiscated by authorities.
There is some concern that the questionable legality of cascara will lead to a back alley black market trade. Oli Bradshaw, Operations Manager at Roundhill Roastery, offers a peek into what that grim future might look like.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.