Coffee cherry tea
Coffee cherry tea is a herbal tea made from the dried skins 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, and, as the variant qishr, in Yemen. Outside of these traditional uses, the coffee fruit is usually considered a wasted byproduct of the coffee production process. 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.
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". It is believed that cáscara tea was consumed in Yemen even before the form of coffee we know today.
Coffee cherries contain caffeine, as does the tea, though while the tea is popularly understood to have a high level of caffeine, it actually only has about a quarter the caffeine levels of coffee. Cascara is often used as a laxative and is known to be high in antioxidants. The taste of coffee cherry tea is different from coffee, and has been described as somewhat sweet and cherry flavored, surprisingly pleasant.
Brewing guidelines are not standardized, but 20 grams per liter of water, or approximately 5 grams per cup (8 oz, 240 ml) 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.
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