Coffee cherry tea

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Coffee beans inside the coffee fruit.

Coffee cherry tea is a herbal tea made from the dried skins[1] of the coffee fruit. Often it is more than the skins that are used, and include the dried berries (or "cherries") of the coffee plant that remain after the coffee beans have been collected from within. It is also known as cascara, from the Spanish cáscara, meaning "husk". It is different from cáscara sagrada tea, a powerful plant-based laxative derived from Rhamnus purshiana, which is native to the Pacific Northwest.

Coffee cherry tea is a common drink in some coffee-growing nations, notably Bolivia, as well as in Yemen (where it is called qishr) and Somalia (where it is called bun). Outside of these traditional uses, the coffee fruit is usually considered a wasted byproduct of the coffee-production process.[2] However, increasing demand for cáscara from large U.S.-based coffee chains has, in some cases, led to the dried husks fetching higher prices than the coffee beans.[3]

It is commonly consumed in Bolivia, where it is referred to as sultana, and is made of sun-dried and lightly toasted coffee cherries. It may also be mixed with sticks of cinnamon. It is also called "the poor man's coffee", and "the coffee of the Army".[4] It is believed that cáscara tea was consumed in Yemen even before the form of coffee we know today.[5]

Coffee cherries contain caffeine, as does the tea, though while the tea is popularly understood to have a high level of caffeine,[6] it actually only has about a quarter the caffeine levels of coffee.[7][8] Cascara is known to be high in antioxidants.[9] The taste of coffee cherry tea is different from coffee, and has been described as somewhat sweet and cherry flavored, surprisingly pleasant.[10]


Brewing guidelines are not standardized, but 20 grams per liter of water,[11] or approximately 5 grams per cup (8 oz, 240 ml)[10] is suggested. When the coffee cherry tea is ground and classified to loose tea industry standard size, one teaspoon per 6 ounces of water, steeped for 5 minutes are the standard brewing instructions.

Proper brewing yields a dark red tea; brew time guidelines range from 4 minutes[11] to 7 or 8 minutes.[10]

Health Benefits[edit]

A study published in the Cambridge University Press showed evidence that extracts derived from coffee fruit increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in healthy subjects, likely due to its high polyphenol content, thought this was a small study involving 25 subjects and the authors note larger clinical studies are needed.[12] A systemic research review demonstrated that polyphenol consumption may increase cognition both acutely and chronically, though comparisons between studies are hampered by methodological inconsistencies.[13]

As noted above, coffee fruit contains caffeine.[7][8] Caffeine has possible neuro-protective properties, including a possible prevention or reduction in rate of progression of dementia.


After the coffee beans are collected, the remaining fruit is sundried and brewed into coffee cherry tea.

Starbucks Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee have both featured cascara-based drinks on their seasonal menus, including a "cascara latte" and a "cascara fizz", respectively.[3] In October 2019, Dashfire Bitters of Minnesota released a ready-to-drink Manhattan cocktail using fig and cascara.[14] All Bai Brands beverages contain a small amount of coffee fruit extract.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What is Cascara?, Fresh cup, 28. März 2017
  2. ^ "Welcome to Lazy Bear Tea!". Lazy Bear Tea. Archived from the original on 2018-02-19. Retrieved 2018-02-18.
  3. ^ a b "Coffee Waste Is Now Fetching a 480% Premium Over Coffee Itself". Bloomberg News. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  4. ^ " • View topic - Ever Eat A Coffee Cherry?".
  5. ^ Dave, Eggers (2018). The monk of Mokha (First ed.). New York. ISBN 978-1101947319. OCLC 987983540.
  6. ^ "Cascara.. How do you brew yours? | Mercanta - the Coffee Hunters". Archived from the original on 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  7. ^ a b "Cascara and caffeine". 30 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Beverage derived from the extract of coffee cherry husks and coffee cherry pulp". Kraft Foods R&D Inc (Munich). 16 November 2010.
  9. ^ "ORAC Values: 2018 Food Antioxidant Database | Superfoodly". 15 January 2015. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  10. ^ a b c Dane, Ana (13 November 2009). "Tea Spot NYC: Coffee, Tea ... or Both?". Tea Spot NYC.
  11. ^ a b Hoffman, James. "Video of Cascara brewing". Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010.
  12. ^ Reyes-Izquierdo, Tania; Nemzer, Boris; Shu, Cynthia; Huynh, Lan; Argumedo, Ruby; Keller, Robert; Pietrzkowski, Zb (August 2013). "Modulatory effect of coffee fruit extract on plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy subjects". British Journal of Nutrition. 110 (3): 420–425. doi:10.1017/S0007114512005338. ISSN 0007-1145. PMID 23312069. S2CID 15478630.
  13. ^ Lamport, Daniel J.; Dye, Louise; Wightman, JoLynne D.; Lawton, Clare L. (2012-01-01). "The effects of flavonoid and other polyphenol consumption on cognitive performance: A systematic research review of human experimental and epidemiological studies". Nutrition and Aging. 1 (1): 5–25. doi:10.3233/NUA-2012-0002. ISSN 1879-7717.
  14. ^ "Ready to Drink Cocktails". Dashfire.
  15. ^ "Bai FAQs". Retrieved 17 July 2022.

External links[edit]