Santa Lucia - Transcend Special Reserve - Cascara
Rose hip + Strawberry + Peach + Jasmine
75g of Dried Coffee Cherry Tea
- Country: Costa Rica
- Region: Naranjo
- Farmer: Ricardo Perez Barrantes
- Elevation: 1,750 meters above sea level
Because the coffee we drink doesn’t look anything like fruit juice, we can forgive anyone who doesn’t realize that what we’re drinking is an extract from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee cherry. Typically the flesh of the fruit is composted and used as fertilizer for the next crop. In some cases, however, the cascara (Spanish for skin or husk) is dried and used to make a tea. Cascara tea has actually been made in Yemen and Ethiopia (where it is called Qishr) for centuries!
The forward-thinking team led by Ricardo at the Helsar de Zarcero mill in Costa Rica wanted to find a suitable use for the leftover cherry skins, so they sought the help of the University of Costa Rica. Initially, they thought to simply isolate the red pigment in the cherries to create a red dye, but they brilliantly found that the best use of the leftover cascara was as a consumable dried fruit product. High in antioxidants, the cascara would work equally great as a tea or even as a snack.
Cascara has been typically made by taking the by-products of coffee milling and drying them in the sun. This process can be dangerous since it can take a long time for the cascara to dry, and therefore creates a high risk of mold growth. The UCR and Helsar team came up with a process where the freshly picked cherries are placed in sanitized containers, rinsed three times, and depulped in a separate facility. The coffee seeds (beans) are taken to be dried on the patios and raised beds of the Helsar mill, while the cascara is steam-treated to eliminate any microorganisms, then dried in specially designed ovens.
We have procured a small amount of this delicious cascara and we believe it makes an amazing tea. What’s even more exciting is that our Santa Lucia coffee is derived from the exact same cherries that our cascara. It’s a really unique opportunity to taste the fruit that our coffee and cascara comes from side by side!
Ricardo Perez and his daughter Mariana at the Helsar micro-mill, 2014 sourcing trip.
Josh tries his hand at harvesting coffee cherries, 2014 sourcing trip.
Ricardo inspects coffee leaf rust damage on the Santa Lucia farm, 2014 sourcing trip.
Poul interviews Canadian National Barista Champion Josh Hockin about his win as well as Ricardo Perez from Santa Lucia coffee farm in Costa Rica, who grew and processed the winning coffee.
National-Champ...Poul interviews Canadian National Barista Champion Josh Hockin...