Cascara, superfood or just super good?
Cascara, the dried husk of the coffee cherry has long been rumored to be a superfood.
Now that more research is available, ironically, the healthiest part of the coffee, discarded for hundreds of years, has quite a nutritional story. Cascara contains vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, protein and bioactive compounds such as caffeine and polyphenols. Just 100 grams of cascara includes the same amount of potassium found in six bananas and the same amount of protein as one egg and contains Vitamin E, Vitamins B6, Omega 3 and 6, iron, calcium, magnesium, and natural sugars.
Cascara has less caffeine than roasted coffee, but levels vary between varieties. When steeped like a tea or cold-brewed, depending on the concentration of cascara used and the steeping or brewing time, a cascara beverage can provide a mild pick me to quite a kick. But cascara drinks won't give you the coffee jitters nor does cascara need the artificial ingredients of the leading energy drinks to be effective. The health benefits of cascara go beyond its energetic effects.
Research is just recently uncovering the benefits of the various plant polyphenols found in cascara. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds in plants that protect the plants from insects and disease. Polyphenols may reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease, and have brain cell-protective properties. It is just not one compound, but the unique combination of polyphenols that have food, health, and nutritional scientists taking a closer look.
Beyond nutrition, premium cascara also tastes excellent. Again, depending on the variety of cascara used, cascara beverages may exhibit hints of plum, cherries, tamarind, and pineapple, to name a few of the flavors discovered. Not all cascara tastes the same and, like any dried fruit, not all cascara tastes good. The variety, growing conditions, and how it is finally dried has a significant impact on the flavor.
More than a coffee or tea, without the jitters, the bitterness, and none of the artificial or overly processed ingredients of the leading energy drinks, this once wasted byproduct is coming into its own. Caskai upcycles cascara into functional beverages that taste great. Follow our blogs to learn more.