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Cascara, also known as coffee cherry tea, is a beverage somewhere between coffee and tea: composed of dried coffee cherry skins, a by-product of coffee, it does not taste anything like coffee. Next to tea infusions, cascara can be at the basis of products, such as fruity energizing soda (about 25% of the caffeine compared to coffee), or just enjoyed by itself, hot or cold. The taste is more robust than any herbal tea since it is made from fruit.
Wilfredo Ule Vargas is a young man who runs Finca Alcatraz with his family, located in the municipality of Oparapa in Huila.
Wilfredo’s family has been producing coffee for approximately 15 years, of which the last seven years has been dedicated to the production of high-quality coffees. In the 7,5 Hectares around Finca Alcatraz, about 5 Hectares are intended only for coffee planting, where crops grow at an altitude rising towards 1850 m.asl.
His cascara is high-quality because of three main factors: firstly, it’s dark-colored due to the shade drying; secondly, extra care is taken during drying by using raised beds and a prolonged process; lastly, only high-quality coffee varieties and fully ripe cherries are chosen.
Wilfredo devoted himself to the cultivation and production of four coffee varieties: Typica, Red Bourbon, Geisha, and Caturra, typically chosen to deliver the highest quality of coffee beans.
He strictly selects only mature cherries during the harvest. Immature, dry, or green beans are avoided, both during the picking and wet milling process. Once the pulping process starts, the husk is immediately transferred to the raised beds. After a couple of days, the drying process is completed in the Marquesinas (mini-greenhouse), where the coffee is protected from the sun’s UV. Afterward, both the coffee and the cascara undergo a manual cleaning process using a sieve. Finally, Wilfredo cups the end-results and continues to adjust his post-harvest processing where needed.
This cascara is intense in the cup, with notes of hibiscus, dried fruits, cherry, and malic acidity.
Recipe to start with:
Hot infusion: 35g per liter of boiling water, steep for 5-7 mins
Cold infusion: 90g per liter of cold water, steep for 24h
This video is to give an idea of how to brew it. Other drippers can be used, like Clever Dripper or French Press, to name two of them. Adjust the recipe to your taste. Remember, you can also cold brew it!
|Finca Alcatraz - Wilfredo Ule Vargas|
|Typica, Red Bourbon, Geisha, Caturra|
|Coffee cherry skins dried on raised beds|
|This is not a coffee!!|
|Hibiscus, dried fruits, cherry, malic acidity|