Getting the best out of Coffee Cherry Fruit (Cascara)

cascara-infusion-recipeJudging from the way our Coffee Cherry Fruit (Cascara) is disappearing out of the warehouse, you’re all embracing it as much as we have – hurrah! This is excellent news, as we’re determined to spread the word about how brilliant this stuff is and we’re thrilled at the response it’s getting. Now let’s start to have some fun with it.

We’ve been experimenting with this “Coffee Cherry Fruit” at the Roastery, and Oli has created some delicious and refreshing infusion recipes for you to try at home. After a lot of arduous testing and in-house debate, Oli’s selected the following combinations as a jumping off point for you. Try them and tweak them (brewing time, water temperatures and ingredients) to your taste.

One variable to note is the infusion time. We’re suggesting you try between 7-10 mins. The longer you allow each drink to infuse, the sweeter the resulting tea will be. We were interested to note what a vast difference those last three minutes made, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Try making it in a cafetiere, Chemex or a jug – anything that’s heatproof.

All the recipes below use 300g of freshly boiled water as a starting point.


Berried Treasure

Lots of spice in this one.Oli

  • 18g Coffee Cherry Fruit (Cascara)
  • 3g freeze dried raspberries
  • 2g lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2g fresh root ginger, finely sliced
  • 300g freshly boiled water


Thai Noon

A coffee cherry tea made with delicate Jasmine flowers and green tea tips – very special indeed.

  • 18g Coffee Cherry Fruit (Cascara)
  • 3g Jasmine Pearls
  • 2g lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 300g freshly boiled water


Hotscotch

And finally we’ve got a great Hot Toddy recipe to shake off the winter chills.

  • 18g Coffee Cherry Fruit (Cascara)
  • 2g cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 10 year old Jura Whisky, to your taste.
  • 300g freshly boiled water

 

It’s a deliciously light alternative to coffee that actually feels rather decadent, for drinking throughout the day. And that last one seems very apt for wintery nights right now. Let us know what Cascara concoctions you create at home, post your own favourite versions in the comments below for us to try too!

The Great Caffeine Debate

Last month we introduced you to our new coffee cherry fruit, Cascara that makes a rather delicious infusion tea. We stated it was lower in caffeine than traditional coffees. This all stemmed from tests that our good friend Graciano Cruz at Los Lajones farm in Panama had reported.

Cascara is gaining some traction on the coffee scene at the moment and it seemed some other roasters had a different view on caffeine levels. Many state that Cascara has higher caffeine than traditionally brewed beans. We suspected this view came from there being higher levels of sugar giving a bit more of a “buzz” than you might anticipate.

You may know that prior to his coffee roasting days, Steven (our Director & Coffee Buyer) is a PhD biologist, so although enjoying speculation, cold, hard facts are vital. Over the last week he has donned his lab jacket and got to work on testing. He even brought in a couple of tesla coils to add to the authenticity…we’d hazard a guess he misses his old lab days at times! *

Here’s the science bit:

Coffee Type Brew Type Serving Size Caffeine Levels
Arabica Bean Espresso Single shot 70mg
Arabica Bean Filter 250ml Cup 150mg
Coffee Cherry Fruit (Geisha) Infusion 250ml Cup 54mg
Coffee Cherry Fruit (Catuai) Infusion 250ml Cup 28mg

 

*(Actually he sent the samples to an accredited lab for testing)

Whilst we can’t talk about other Coffee Cherry Infusions, it’s quite clear that ours is significantly lower in caffeine than traditional coffee brews and so makes for a lighter alternative. And although we found a difference between the two varietals, Geisha and Catuai, we’ll look at how reproducible this is. It is likely that other varietals and different post-harvest processing techniques will have further influence on caffeine levels and may explain different findings from others. Our infusion is for 10 minutes, 72g/L.

Whether you need caffeine in large volumes or not, we would still heartily recommend you try the Cascara whilst stocks last (it’s selling fast) as it really is a delicious taste sensation.

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Meet Cascara

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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

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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

Method:

  • 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.

 

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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.

Pairings_Blog

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).