The best cascara I have ever tasted

(Thumbnail photo credit: Lucia Solis)

I like cascara. It’s not the most “interesting” beverage, as it often lacks nuance and liveliness. However, there is something comforting and (energetically) warm about cascara that makes me want to drink it every morning.

My partner Paolo at Regalia often includes a bag of cascara as a treat when he mails me roasted coffee samples. The cascara he sent me last week is like no other I have ever tasted. This cascara is the first one I have ever found to be interesting, with some zingy acidity and crispness reminiscent of some African coffees.

Here is Paolo’s description of the cascara and a link to Regalia’s website. Enjoy.

Region: Sabanilla del Poas
Altitude: 1500 MASL
Process: Red Honey
Varietal: Villa Sarchi, Caturra, Catuai

Perhaps one of the finest cascaras on the market: the Chacon's cascara is incredibly clean, with a honey-like sweetness, and a fruit quality that resembles peach and kumquat.

Dona Francisca and her husband Oscar Chacon of the Cumbres del Poas micro mill are 3rd generation coffee producers. The Cumbres del Poas micro mill is located in the Sabanillia de Alajuela in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. Both Francisca and Oscar believe in preservation of the environment. They were some of the first pioneers of high-quality honey and natural-process coffees in Central America back in 2009 when they started experimenting with special processes. Water use at the mill is minimal, since their coffees do not undergo the washed process. During the harvest of their coffees they will measure the Brix content in the coffee cherries to determine the best time to pick their coffees to obtain the sweetest and most fruit forward profiles.

Rather than processing their cascara like they would their normal parchment, the Chacons treat theirs like one would approach dried fruits.  These are lightly washed and quickly dried on parabolic driers. 


If you're new to brewing cascara, note that you are easily able to do so like one would steep tea in a satchel:

20g Cascara

360ml boiling water

8:00 steep time

Pro Tip: If you filter the final product through a paper filter, it will enhance the cascara's fruit-quality.

(Note from Scott: I use a little lower ratio of cascara:water but steep it longer than Paolo does. Cascara doesn’t “overextract” so don’t be afraid to leave it in a thermal mug all day.)

Scott Rao