Dear Kid,

The other day I told you about the coffees we tried at La Terza. What I didn’t tell you about was the cascara we drank there.

“The what?” you say. So glad you asked.

Cascara (which David taught me to remember because it sounds like mascara—although why he thinks about mascara is not something he and I discussed) is the husk of the dried coffee cherry.

Basically what happens is the (highly valued) seeds (and by “seeds” I mean coffee beans) are removed from the cherries. What’s left is then dried in the sun (like a raisin except without the raisin-ness). If you can get cascara (which is not easy—thank you La Terza for sharing!), you’d likely brew the cherries like a tea.

And it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Because you’ve never tasted coffeetea. Or teacoffee. (Or cofftea?) But you’ve tasted toffee and this is nothing like that.

It’s delicious. Sort of fruity coffee with the consistency of tea. In a word: Yum.

Often, in coffee producing areas, people drink cascara rather than coffee, because coffee beans can be sold for cash money and cascara is generally just used as compost (at best) or landfill (at worse). With cascara becoming more popular, the entire cherry is being used.

You can also just chomp cascara. I tried that. It was ok, but never going to replace raisins in my world.

A word of caution. When (as and if) you purchase cascara, make sure you purchase from a (highly) reputable source and that you’re buying cascara not cascara sagrada which is the dried bark of the California buckthorn tree and is often used as a laxative. Who knew? Stick with the real cascara.

Love, Mom