This is our third consecutive year offering Bolivian organic Cascara (AKA Sultana).
Cascara, or coffee cherry tea, is an herbal tea made from the dried skins and mucilage of the berries (also called cherries, or guindas) of the coffee plant. The Spanish word cáscara means "husk". In Bolivia, it is also known as Sultana, and is commonly consumed as a tea. It can be mixed with sticks of cinnamon for enhanced flavor and additional anti-oxidants. It has now become a highly appreciated specialty tea.
Coffee cascara contains caffeine, as does its tea, at about a quarter of the caffeine level of brewed coffee. The taste of coffee cherry tea is different from coffee, though: sweet and cherry flavored and very pleasant. Our Bolivian cascara tea has an effervescent, citric acidity. The taste of sweet lemon comes across throughout. It also has hints of chocolate and vanilla. The aroma is of tropical fruits, raisins, and is very intense.
Our cascara is un-roasted and un-ground. The coffee cherries, where our cascara comes from, are processed using the fully-washed method (de-pulped, fermented and washed) and both coffee beans and cascara are dried on separate, elevated drying beds, known as "camas africanas" ( African drying beds), not on the patio floor, which makes the cascara cleaner and tastier. We do not use Natural-process (dried whole bean on the patio like raisins), which, obviously do not produce cascara. Our cascara comes from specialty-grade coffee beans (only 20% of the world's coffee supply). We sourced it from one of our regular micro-lot coffee producers, Pablo Coromi, whose coffee trees are 70% Caturra, 30% Typica coffee varietals. His farm is located in the Llusta region, community of Nuevo Canal, part of the Caranavi Province, Department of La Paz. Altitude of his farm is 1,600 meters above sea level (5,000 feet). We ask Pablo to select the best skins and mucilage (un-dried cascara) and then dry them over a raised bed. To maintain its quality we pack the cascara at origin (in Bolivia) in hermetically sealed GrainPro® bags, which do not allow oxygen in and maintain constant water activity levels.
Brewing guidelines for cascara tea have not yet been standardized, but 22 grams per quart of water, or approximately 5.6 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. We simply put the cascara in the bottom of a coffee mug, fill it with boiling water and let it steep covered for 3-4 minutes. Some people strain the tea to remove the dried berries. Others enjoy it by just letting the steeped dried berries fall to the bottom of the cup. Proper brewing yields a dark red tea. Brew time guidelines range from 4 minutes to 7 or 8 minutes. Experiment and enjoy!
Retail sales are certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers. Wholesale orders (33 lbs. and more) are certified by Ceres, GmbH.