When the coffee cherry is processed to become the coffee bean that we know today, one of the key processes is the removal of the skin that surrounds the bean. 

Cascara is the dried skins of coffee cherries (cascara means “husk,” “peel” or “skin” in Spanish).Pulped skins are collected after the coffee beans have been removed from the cherries. They are then dried in the sun before they are packaged. Cascara is known like a coffee cherry tea.

But what exactly is cascara, coffee or tea? Cascara is not coffee, and it is not quite what some people imagine when they think of herbal tea, because it does not use the actual coffee bean found on the inside of coffee cherries, nor is it made from the Camellia sinensis plant like true teas (black, white, green, …). So perhaps the best category for cascara is as a herbal or fruit drink, although the name coffee cherry tea is most popular.

The flavor of a cascara is drastically different than that of coffee. But, just like with coffee, cascara can have different flavors depending on what kind it is and where it’s grown. This drink is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of fresh rose-hips, hibiscus, sweet cherry, red currant, mango or even tobacco. Not quite on the same side of the flavor spectrum as coffee and cascara’s caffeine content is probably closer to that of green tea, rather than coffee.

And to top it all off, Cascara is considered a superfood because it’s chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. The research is still inconclusive, but studies suggest that it’s as least as healthy as pomegranate juice. Also, it’s apparently great for the immune system.