Cascara – the pulp of the coffee cherry – is now also permitted on the German market under the Novel Food Regulation. Cascara can thus be sold in the EU, for example as a ready-to-use caffeinated infusion drink.
Cascara: The European Union recently approved Cascara as a novel (traditional, third-country) food in the EU. Dried coffee cherry (cascara) pulp and its infusion have been available on the EU and German markets since 4 February 2022. What is Cascara? Have you tried it?
What does the Cascara approval in Germany mean?
The approval, the specifications, and the conditions of use are set out in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/47 of January 13, 2022, authorizing the placing on the market of the dried coffee cherry pulp of the species Coffea arabica L. and/or Coffea canephora Pierre ex A. Froehner and the infusion from it as a traditional food from a third country.
What is Cascara?
Cascara is the dried pulped skins of coffee cherries collected after the seeds (aka coffee beans) have been removed from the cherries.
Now, these cherries can be reused to produce a unique drink of their own instead of being considered a by-product of the coffee-making process and being discarded as waste or used as compost.
► The pulp of the coffee cherry, Cascara, has been approved as a novel food since the beginning of 2022.
► It can be sold in the EU as a ready-made infusion drink or in dried form for the preparation of infusion drinks.
► Beverages made from the coffee cherry contain caffeine and may therefore be unsuitable for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
What is behind the advertising?
In 2015 and 2016, they were already available on the German food market for a short time: caffeinated soft drinks made from an infusion of coffee cherry pulp. Since the pulp, i.e. the flesh of the fruit, was classified as a novel food in the EU, these drinks were no longer allowed to be sold afterward. Since January 2022, the coffee cherry pulp has been approved as a traditional food from third countries by the Novel Food Regulation.
Foodstuffs with the following ingredients are permitted in the beverage and tea shelf:
- “Pulp of the Coffee Cherry”
- “Cascara (coffee cherry pulp)”
- “Infusion from the pulp of the coffee cherry”
- “dried infusion from the pulp of the coffee cherry”
The dried coffee cherry is often offered in organic quality. For coffee farmers, selling the pulp alongside the bean can mean an additional source of income. Buying a fair trade product is also a big plus for coffee farmers. Both Fairtrade practices and better living and working conditions for workers and smallholder families are hereby supported.
Cascara is often offered in organic quality. The retail price is 6.50 euros per 100 grams. Fairtrade is usually a little higher.
What should I pay attention to when using it?
Not only finished drinks can now be sold, but also dried pulp. You can then use it to prepare an infusion drink yourself. It is not suitable for direct consumption because of the very bitter skin and is also not permitted.
Since the preparation is still relatively unknown to us, according to the Novel Food Regulation, manufacturers should put instructions on the packaging. Usually, up to 6 grams of coffee cherry pulp are infused with 100 milliliters of hot water. The whole thing should sit for a few minutes before the pulp is removed through a sieve. Then the infusion can be drunk hot or cold.
In many countries outside the EU, this infusion has been drunk for a very long time. In Yemen, it is used for Quishr. This is a type of chai tea made from the coffee peel, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, milk, and sugar. It is popular in Central America with ginger and honey.
What is the pulp of the coffee cherry?
Coffee cherries are the drupes of the coffee plant. They owe their name to their appearance. They are usually red when ripe and thus resemble cherries. The pulp is called the pulp. The coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee cherry, which are inside the fruit. The pulp remains as a “waste product” when the coffee beans are extracted. This can also be called cascara – after the Spanish “cáscara” for shell, although the pulp is meant.
In terms of taste, Cascara is more reminiscent of a fruit tea than a coffee drink. The taste nuances from sweet to fruity and tart depend on the type of coffee and the growing area.
Why is Cascara special?
Is Cascara sustainable?
Yes! Coffee manufacturers do justice to this sustainable idea in the production of Cascara because everything from the coffee cherry is used. In addition, a lot of waste and fermentation processes that release climate-damaging methane are avoided.
Is Cascara economically valuable?
Since the manufacturers produce another product in addition to the coffee bean with Cascara, the profitability of a coffee plant is increased. The manufacturers of the Associación Miguel Grau , for example, have around 25% more income as a result, confirms Walter Knauer. That was also one of the reasons why he initiated the “Coffee Cherry Tea” project together with Thomas Eckel from the Murnau coffee roastery, with which they support the manufacturers in the Associación Miguel Grau in the production of Cascara.
Does Cascara have no added sugar?
Cascara is a natural pick-me-up with no added sugar. The caffeine in the pulp of the coffee cherry acts as a protection for the bean inside. That is why there is significantly more caffeine in the pulp than in the bean itself. In addition, 14kg of pulp must be dried for 1kg of coffee cherry tea. “There is significantly more caffeine in a glass of Cascara than in a cup of coffee,” says Walter Knauer. With the natural content of fructose, Cascara also does not require any additional sugar
What ingredients are in it?
Like the coffee bean, the pulp also contains caffeine. The information about the exact salary is very different. However, it should be higher in the infusion than in coffee. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume any beverages that contain more than 150 milligrams of caffeine per liter. If the drink made from the pulp exceeds this value, it must be labeled accordingly: “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women”.
How do you drink Cascara?
You can take the Cascara as a normal hot drink.
The preparation is very easy. Depending on the variety, you pour about five tablespoons of the crushed shells with a liter of hot water and let them steep for at least four minutes.
The tea is also great as a refreshing spritzer: just let it cool down, mix with your favorite juice and soda and enjoy ice-cold. Tasty and invigorating!
How does Cascara taste?
It all depends on the type of coffee here. They give the bowls and thus the tea different flavors. From honey to orange flavor, super sweet or rather tart, almost everything is included. The following applies: the longer you let the tea steep, the stronger it tastes.
Is it a good alternative to coffee?
Yes! There is six to eight times more caffeine in a glass of Cascara than in a cup of coffee. So Cascara is a real wake-up hero. Caution: We shouldn’t eat too much cascara for this reason. Otherwise, there is an acute risk of caffeine shock.