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Cascara - The Illegal Beverage

When I started out on my coffee journey I heard different accounts about cascara and unfortunately when my curiosity led me to go online and buy it, I was unable to, due to EU regulations and possible time in prison. Not exactly.

For those who do not know cascara is the pulped skin removed from the seeds of a coffee cherry. They can be processed in two ways very familiar to actual coffee.

You have wet process where the skins are submerged in fermentation tanks and then gathered afterwards. As with the actual washed process of coffee, by washing the skin you will have a more perceived acidity and balanced flavour.

If you use the dry method where you leave them out in the sun on raised beds to dry, you will more likely encounter the same funkiness you'd get from natural processed coffee.

I was fortunate enough last week to stumble across a seller in Japan whom I was purchasing coffee equipment from and jumped at the chance to try it myself. As I mentioned above people had said to me that the pulp was disgusting and it should be avoided but I've experienced only positives since I started drinking it.

The flavour that I've brewed from it would be cherry (I know right l!), it honestly has the aroma of cocktail cherries and then I taste a bit of plum in the drink, it's a very pleasurable taste and quite sweet.


Cascara - 5g

Water - 180g

Temp - 96*c

Time - 4 mins

Having researched online I've concluded that this would be classed as a fruit tisane (herbal). Not to be classed as coffee or tea, so to answer the question earlier in the week, it is essentially herbal tea, which makes it extra special in the world of coffee.

If I could serve it in my cafe I would do so but for now I'll stick to importing it for home use and not going to prison.

Jon wouldn't do well in prison 😊

Have you tried Cascara?

Where did you get it from?

Would you now like to try it?

Jon Townsend


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