If you’ve never heard of cascara before then don’t worry—most coffee lovers haven’t! Cascara literally translates to “husk” in Spanish, and that is exactly what it is: the skin or the husk of the coffee cherry fruit. Cascara has two main uses at our family farms:
Use 1: Using specific varieties of coffee cherries from specific areas of the farm, we will process this coffee very strategically to collect the cascara, wash it, and then dry on our raised air beds. This must be done very intentionally as it requires constant monitoring to ensure the cascara is drying properly. The end result is deliciously floral and spice forward cascara that can be steeped like a loose-leaf tea and enjoyed as such. Cascara doesn’t taste anything like coffee and contains about 20% the amount of caffeine when compared to a coffee counterpart, but is a great option to have around the house for those that enjoy the tasting notes of lighter coffees or floral teas.
Use 2: Cascara that isn’t strategically separated to be exported goes through our normal coffee processing too; However, the husk is separated from the bean during wet washing and is then transported to a holding chamber. Throughout the season we’ll collect cascara in this chamber (which often looks like a mountain during harvest season) and spread it along the farm as organic fertilizer. Without a doubt, this is one of our favorite ways of using all parts of the coffee cherry on the farm in a sustainable and organic way.