Meet Cascara


If 2015 is the year you start to really explore coffee, then step this way. We’ve got something to show you.

Cascara has been quietly gaining awareness amongst the coffee community for some time but its production is still very small and variable in quality. At its best, this liquid rose-gold concoction offers great taste, high antioxidants levels, and low caffeine content. So what is Cascara?

Cascara Cherry Fruit


Surrounding every coffee bean is the coffee cherry fruit’s exterior skin and pulp. This covering is a dense, wonderful concentration of natural sugars, oils, vitamins and antioxidants, known as Cascara. When it’s introduced into hot water, the resulting infusion is called Coffee Cherry Tea. 

Our Cascara comes from Graciano Cruz’s Los Lajones farm in Panama, where volcanic soils which are rich in minerals and organic material provide perfect conditions for cultivating coffee.

At Los Lajones, perfectly ripe cherries are dried naturally on raised beds, then during the milling process, the coffee beans are separated from the rich, aromatic husk. The gentle processing and sun-drying of the Cascara is what produces the delicious syrupy sweetness that you find in coffee cherry tea.

Intriguingly, the flavours of the infusion are very different to roasted coffee, with flavour notes of cherry and dried cranberry.

We have two different Cascaras for you to try.

The Los Lajones Geisha Cascara has baked apple and tamarind notes, with a liquorice root finish and a hint of fresh oak wood on the aftertaste. Rounded creamy body with green grape acidity and a tart finish.

The Los Lajones Catuai Cascara has green apple and tamarind with fresh oak and camomile tea notes. When brewed it creates a soft, sweet, less acid coffee cherry tea.

How to infuse


  • Measure 30g of cascara for every 500ml of water
  • Water temperature of 92-94C
  • Experiment with infusion times, we suggest starting with  5-6 minutes, or up to 10 minutes to yield a deeper toned, syrupy aftertaste from the pale red brew.
  • When done, always  filter the liquid to remove the Cascara and enjoy your Coffee Cherry Tea.

Try it warm, or you can refrigerate it overnight before reheating the following day.
It’s a great drink to try in a Chemex.

Now you know how to make it, pop over to our website and try some for yourself.



Perfect coffee pairs with traditional Christmas treats

Ahead of the holidays, Steven who is responsible for coffee sourcing, proposes his coffee and food matches for the traditional festive favourites. Steven is a vegetarian with lots of interest in desserts, and no interest in roast turkey.


The Pudding

“The deep, rich, spicy notes of Christmas pudding are lightened with the sweet fruit elements and cleansed by the citrus notes in Los Lajones Geisha.

Cheese Board

“If you’re serving cheese, Colston Bassett Stilton’s buttery texture and mineral tang combines deliciously with Santuario, Colombia. The Santuario counters with sweet stone fruit acidity, yet offers a comforting fudge-like finish.”

Traditional Trifle

Guatemala Liberación pairs perfectly with the fruit in a classic English trifle. With a jammy sweetness and creamy finish, it’s the perfect complement to the layers of boozy sponge, jelly and custard.”

A pile of Mince Pies

“With mince pies, try a cafetiere brew of Sumatra Gajah Mountain or an espresso shot produced from Revelation to give depth of flavour and dark chocolate, treacly notes that meld sumptuously with those rich, sticky, sweet fruits wrapped in pastry.”

Sweet treats

“For something a little different, fresh white chocolate ganache truffles with Konga Yirgacheffe, washed, is a great way to round off a delicious festive dinner. Konga Yirgacheffe has delicate flavours of floral jasmine and bergamot that pairs with the creaminess of white chocolate to create a great eating experience.”

Thanks Steven! If you’re trying some different matches this year, we’d love to hear what you’ve found that works well. And once you’ve done with dinner and you’r ready to settle in for the afternoon, check out Dave, our coffee cocktail expert’s sumptuous Black Forest Gateau Recipe (apparently it makes 5 hour monopoly games infinitely more bearable).

The Union Barista Championships 2014

We welcomed a lovely crowd of talented baristas to the roastery in east London last week, for the 2014 Barista Championships. There’s a full round up here, but we wanted to say congratulations again to all our competitors and to our worthy winners!

Best Espresso went to Luke from Harris + Hoole in Cannon Street. He also scooped Best Signature drink, which incorporated tea from Ceylon One in Borough Market.














Best Cappuccinos was awarded to Annagh from Gather and Gather.

Jeremy Torz and Annagh Butler








And on to our overall winners…

In third place was Ellenor Auld from Espresso Bar Mozzino in Soho.

JT and Ellenor








Second place, in a very close contest, went to Eduardo Donegal Teixeira from Gail’s Bakery.

Jeremy Torz and Eduardo











And the overall winner, with a stunning presentation, was Annagh Butler from Gather and Gather.

Jeremy Torz and Annagh Butler













We had a brilliant day, thank you to every one for coming, and we look forward to welcoming another talented crop of baristas to the roastery again next year.

If you’re getting ready for UKBC and WBC competitions, come and talk to us. Our trainers and roastmasters can help you choose coffees and our experienced sensory and technical judges are always ready to give pointers too.


Coffee Cocktails: Black Forest Gateau

We asked Dave Jameson, the 2014 UK Coffee in Good Spirits Champion and our in-house drinks guru, to come up with something special for us. This wonderfully warming tipple is a great drink to make for friends over the holidays, as you perfect your cocktail layering skills.

Black Forest Gateau - Coffee Cocktail

Black Forest Gateau Coffee Cocktail


  • 8ml simple syrup
  • 10ml Chambord
  • 10ml Disaronno
  • 5ml Grand Marnier
  • 13g Equinox, freshly ground to a fine consistency

 For the cream:

  • 2ml sugar
  • 2ml Chambord
  • 2ml Disaronno
  • 100ml double cream


  • Fresh Cherry
  • Best quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids


  • Hario V60 and filter paper
  • Metal spoon
  • Kilner jar
  • Scales
  • Wide rimmed 240ml/8oz cocktail glass, suitable for hot liquids


  1. For the cream, add 2ml sugar, 2ml Chambord, 2ml Disaronno and 100ml double cream to a Kilner bottle. Seal, shake until thickened and set aside.
  2. Place a glass containing 8ml sugar solution, 10ml Chambord, 10ml Disaronno and 5ml Grand Marnier on your scales.
  3. Wet paper in the Hario V60, then place it on top of the glass.
  4. Add 13g ground coffee to the paper, followed by 30ml hot water and bloom for 30 seconds. Top up with short doses in concentric circles until you have 180ml, then remove the V60 and take the glass off the scales.
  5. Carefully pour the prepared cream into the glass, over the back of a spoon to create a cream layer on top.
  6. Garnish with a cherry and a shaving of dark chocolate.

The garnish gives you the only chocolate or cherry in the recipe but the balance of flavours would lead you to believe otherwise!