Cascara: Beneficial to Environment, Farmers, &You!

Coffee production has increased by over 20% in the last ten years. Market growth is also predicted to average 2.2% year over ten years. However, everything artificially put in the world has an impact. From contact lenses to coffee beans there are better ways of producing. The rise in temperatures is endangering cultivating lands and crop yields, and therefore need to reduce carbon impact is ever-growing. Coffee production generates CO2 emissions, but unused coffee by-products are a lesser-known environmental problem that the industry faces. There is an urgent need for sustainable solutions. Cascara, a sweet-tasting coffee by-product, may hold the key to assisting people, businesses, and the environment. While most coffee drinkers consider coffee grounds to be the main by-product of their morning cup of Joe, its it’s not.

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So, what is Cascara


Cascara is the dried skin of coffee cherries, a little-known by-product of coffee processing, and it can be brewed like any other loose-leaf tea. You can make it hot or cold, but we advise skipping the milk and substituting your preferred amount of sugar instead. This infusion is also referred to as Coffee Cherry Tea in addition to “Cascara”.

The coffee fruits are harvested when they are bright red and ripe to obtain cascara. They are then washed, processed, and put through a pulper to separate the beans. Coffee is then made by drying and roasting the beans, and cascara is made by drying the skin.

Caffeine is already present in the berry, which is how coffee gets its caffeine! And cascara contains lots of antioxidants. Cascara is usually thrown away — contributing to food waste — but it can instead be dried and brewed as a “tea,” served either hot or cold. Using it is one step towards protecting the environment. What’s even better is that it offers farmers the chance to increase crop yields, cut costs, and create new revenue streams.

How might cascara alter the course of events? Here are five methods it can:

  1. By preventing the loss of nutritious food, you can fight climate change.
  2. By enhancing the interests of independent smallholder farmers who require a stable income
  3. By preserving the coffee sector
  4. By offering consumers a healthy product
  5. By introducing innovation to the devoted customers of the coffee industry


Although cascara is made from the fruit of a coffee cherry, its flavor is more similar to that of a herbal tea than it is to coffee. The type of coffee, where it is grown, and how it is processed all affect how cascara tastes. It typically has a naturally slightly sweet flavour and may also have rose, hibiscus, or tart cherry undertones.



  • Steep 2 tablespoons of cascara in 220 ml of water at around 95 °C
  • After 3 minutes, remove the cherries and eat them hot
  • Tea can be made sweeter to your preference by adding sugar, or it can be made tarter by adding a slice of lemon
  • Use only ice-cold water.


  • Steep 4 tablespoons of cascara in 300ml (about 1.5 cups) of cold, filtered water
  • If you’d like to adjust the amount, use a 1:30 ratio of cascara to cold water
  • Cover for 14 to 18 hours
  • Serve with ice after straining and chilling
  • This can be consumed plain, with a slice of lemon, berries, or mint, or you can mix it into your preferred blended juice recipe.

The cascara movement has also been catching on with some well-known coffee companies in the US. Retail bags of dried cascara are available from specialty coffee roasters like Onyx Coffee Lab, Madcap, and Verve for consumers to steep or brew at home. To create new signature drinks, businesses have developed cascara syrups. Examples include Starbucks’ Cascara Latte, which tops the milk foam with the syrup, and Blue Bottle’s Cascara Fizz, which combines the syrup with sparkling water and lemon. Additionally, businesses like Slingshot and Lazy Bear Tea have packaged their cascara tea, which is available in stores across the nation.

There is a chance for the coffee industry to lead the way in zero-waste practices if best practices are widely adopted.

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