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How To Make A Magic, Sparkling Soda From Coffee Ch...

How To Make A Magic, Sparkling Soda From Coffee Cherries

cascara

Cascara–coffee cherry tea, or qishr as it’s called in Yemen–is an herbal tisane made from the dried cherry skins (or husks) of coffee. These skins are a byproduct of the milling process that turns coffee cherries into the evenly dried green beans ready for roasting, and they usually get sent to the compost pile. Which is a shame, because cascara can have a uniquely sweet, floral, fruity flavor.

Drying the skins without spoiling is a difficult process that few coffee producers try, but some of the best in the world succeed in creating this unique and delightful product. Cascara has a cult following among speciality coffee aficionados around the world, and the list of devotees is growing as cascara becomes more widely available, thanks to work of enterprising and detail-oriented coffee growers.

Some say that cascara contains more caffeine than coffee, though this is based purely on anecdotal evidence (London’s Square Mile Coffee had their cascara tisane tested in 2013 at a German decaf factory and turned up very low levels of caffeine.) That being said, there is the possibility that there are other psychoactive alkaloids being extracted beyond the usual caffeine, which could explain reports of a noticeably different “high” from cascara.

Everyman Espresso's Amanda Whitt at the soda bar.

Everyman Espresso’s Amanda Whitt at the soda bar.

The folks at Everyman Espresso in New York City source their cascara from Aida Batlle’s Finca Mauritania by way of Counter Culture Coffee. They brew the tisane and do one better – they make it into a light, refreshing soda served alongside their rotating menu of espressos.

“I liked the cascara, but I wanted to lift and separate the flavors in the tea and taste them in a more refreshing way,” says barista Amanda Whitt, who introduced cascara to the soda program at Everyman. “It makes the cascara come alive.

cascara-soda

Make this delicious drink at home!

Brew the tisane/make the syrup:

45 grams cascara tea (Verve Coffee sells it online)
400 milliliters water

Steep for five minutes, stirring frequently

Add 2 tbsp of sweetener (Everyman uses Demerara sugar)

Let cool.

Bottle the syrup and store in the refrigerator. (Discard after about a week)

At Everyman Espresso, they use 1 part syrup to 8 parts soda water. You can add as much or as little to taste – but their ratio makes for a perfect balance of fizz and flavor.

Those who’ve experimented with cascara have made lovely kombucha, beer, liquor infusions, and cocktails. What’s your favorite cascara experiment? Let us know on Twitter, or share your favorite recipe in the comments section below.

 


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  1. Glenn

    2 February

    In Hawai’iwe have a coffee cherry beverage been out for awhile. “Mona Red”! Been there done that! ;-)

    Hawaii on the cutting edge . Hawai’No Ka Oi!!

  2. muthari mbage

    29 August

    Interesting as we have been using coffee cherry as materials for making compost while it can still earn us some money

  3. siebrand

    1 July

    Great stuff to make a refreshing drink for a hot summer’s day. Not to sure about adding sugar or another sweetener. Why would you, it is already quitte sweet as it’s a fruit?

  4. Denny Robert

    12 May

    This is interesting. I’m going to have to get my hands on some cascara. We’ve been making tea out of the coffee flowers, and it is a really unique and delicious tea.

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