You’ve tried it all – siphon, pour-over, aero-press, cold drip – and you’re looking for that next coffee experience. So how about trying a coffee cherry? Pulped, dried and then brewed into a hot beverage.
“When they’re processing the coffee they normally pulp the flesh, the cherry, off the outside,” says Keith Reay, coffee man behind third wave cafe Bean Drinking in Crows Nest. “That and the water that they use to pulp it usually goes back onto the coffee plants as irrigation, with the wet cherry flesh going back around the coffee plants both like a fertiliser and also as a mulch.”
Typically it’s been treated as a by-product of the coffee making process. “But a lot of the farmers in the producing countries will retain some of the cascara and dry it on the raised beds like the coffee beans are dried. They dry a small amount and then use it within the local community as a tea beverage. It’s something that the locals have always done.”
When brewed up like tea, you get a clear, dark amber hued liquid, much like a berry infusion, with the clarity of mulled wine and the cherry notes of a tisane. It’s a lovely, warming experience and something a little bit different for the cooler months.
“It has been traditionally consumed as a beverage, but in Western society or in non-coffee-producing regions we’ve never had much of an opportunity to experience it.”
Well now is your chance. Just don’t expect the consistency of an espresso.
Cascara is available by the cup or by the bag to take home at Bean Drinking.