Cascara means “skin” or “peel” in Spanish. This is probably not a word that you learned in your beginner Spanish classes, I know I did not, but it is now one to remember. Coffee fruit itself is somewhat the skin of the coffee bean, as it covers the bean as it grows and ripens. This means that cascara is another word to refer to coffee fruit. There is no need to start getting your daily intake of coffee fruit as you would apples or bananas, but it is worth your time to have it in your household in other forms.
Considering how popular coffee is, it is only fair that coffee fruit gets the same amount of attention. It is a unique substance that goes so much further than being the skin around coffee. We have the scoop on everything you need to know about coffee fruit, so keep on reading!
Its Other Half (Aka Coffee)
Coffee itself is originally a fruit. The fruit is either green or red depending on how ripe it is. It contains both the bean and the fruit, aka the cascara. This means that the term “coffee fruit” refers to both the complete fruit that grows with the bean inside and what remains once the bean is removed. It is almost completely unrecognizable as anything related to coffee while it is still in its original form.
Once ripe enough, the coffee beans are removed to be processed and roasted. In the dry method, for example, the entire coffee fruit is set out in the sun. 10-21 days later, the fruit skin will be shrivelled up. This is why no one is enjoying coffee fruit just by itself, pre-dried. Normally the rest of the fruit would be thrown out, which is a complete waste. The dry method may not be the way to go when trying to preserve the entire fruit for various reasons. Some places have always preserved both parts, such as in Ethiopia. Only recently has it become even slightly common practice to use it all up. Now, both the bean and the fruit can be dried and prepared to brew.
Caffeine Compared to Coffee
It was found by researchers that 1 gram of coffee fruit extract has 4.4 mg of caffeine. We can easily compare this to the 70-140 mg of caffeine that is in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. You are more than likely to use more than one gram of coffee fruit in one sitting, but it would take far more than your fair share to have it contain as much caffeine as a standard cup of coffee.
This is helpful for people who cannot handle the side effects of caffeine because no one likes jitters. Pregnant women, who should monitor their caffeine intake more closely, can enjoy coffee fruit products with less stress. Cascara is also an option to consume healthy amounts of natural caffeine for people who do not like coffee, rather than consuming processed energy drinks or sodas. If you are looking for something on the opposite end of the spectrum, that will seriously kick start your day, take a look at these high caffeine coffees.
The moderate amount of caffeine found in cascara, as compared to coffee, leads to more mindfulness instead of necessarily the type of alertness associated with coffee. Mindfulness allows you to be alert in the moment, both to be productive and calm. It could also be helpful to switch to coffee fruit products in the afternoon or later in the day!
Be sure to also check out our piece “How Much Caffeine Is In: Tea, Soda, Coffee & More” to see more info on caffeine and how it affects your body.
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With its emerging popularity, people are paying more attention to the health benefits of cascara. Although it is from the same plant as coffee, the benefits are not going to be the same—but similar. There is also the chance that more benefits will be found as more research is done as the popularity rises. The following health benefits have already been thoroughly looked in to, with promising findings!
Researchers have found that observed consumers had a “143% increase in their blood values of BDNF“. BDNF is short for a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It is a protein that is essential for cognitive functions and development. This is great for your brain overall as you age, but it naturally decreases in your body as you get older. Decreased levels are also shown to be related to certain serious diseases. More of it is bound to help you maintain your brain health long term, while also improving how you learn and remember things.
BDNF does more than help you maybe do better on tests or task reports. It also has a hand in your everyday mood. Higher levels of it are related to being in a better mood, and even helping improve mood disorders. More-so related to your mood than the BDNF specifically, coffee fruit can also reduce anxiety. Do not disregard any medications that you may take for anxiety, and talk to your doctor about BDNF in your own body, but rather incorporate into your life for the added ease.
Coffee alone is a great source of antioxidants, so it only makes sense that coffee fruit would have them too. Antioxidants are so important for how your body functions in everyday life, from cell repair to dealing with stress to when you are low on sleep. Coffee can actually loose some of its antioxidants during the roasting process, but cascara does not have that problem!
More specifically, it relieves constipation. No one likes to talk about this, but this is an important part of everyday living. Different coffee roasts are known for being a bit harder on your stomach, due to the acidity. Without that processing, coffee fruit relies more on its natural properties to help with the process.
Chlorogenic acid is found in coffee fruit. This directly interacts with your body, more specifically your cells. This protects them from damage that causes inflammation. Between the antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory help, more pre-workout drinks need to have coffee fruit in them! It would be a great, natural boost.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is also affected by chlorogenic acid. There has been a shown link between consuming products with chlorogenic acid and lower blood pressure. This acid is found in green coffee beans as well.
The exact benefits are going to depend on how concentrated the coffee fruit product is. Arabica and robusta beans are going to differ in their concentrations of certain acids and nutrients as well. It is still great to know what potential there is!
Ways to Consume Coffee Fruit
With all of these perks, you are probably itching to try coffee fruit. We do not blame you! It is a good time to hop on it considering its growing popularity. The following things are the way to consume coffee fruit, as some of them might be ways you had not considered or seen.
Extracts & Concentrates
Coffee fruit extract will not be as useful as saying vanilla extract or almond extract, as far as adding flavor to things or everyday usefulness. It does still add an element of ease to incorporating it into your daily life. Extracts are put into pill form most often, which makes it similar to a vitamin in how you can pop it on the go. Always check the contents of the extract to ensure that it is providing you with enough coffee fruit to make it worth taking.
BulletProof has an amazing supplement called NeuroMaster. The first ingredient is coffee fruit extract, even providing us with the information that it is from coffee arabica. That’s some quality coffee fruit. It has 200 mg of coffee fruit per capsule, so you know you are getting your money’s worth. Due to the more condensed nature of the capsules, they do run a bit pricier. They advertise it with the same benefits as we mentioned above, so you know it is the real deal!
This might be the most appealing way to consume coffee fruit. Once the fruit is dried, it looks just like any other loose teas on the market. It is just important to remember that it is still technically coffee. You may see it named “coffee cherry tea” or “cascara tea”, but they are all essentially the same. The tea will be sweet, like any fruitier tea, without being overwhelming.
Considering how amazing coffee fruit is, it’s great that it is not too pricey. You can get a pound of tea of $20 on Amazon! It can be enjoyed hot almost instantly, as the hot water allows a proper steep in about 10 minutes. Steep it overnight in room temperature or cold water and pour over ice for an iced tea. You can drink it in the morning to get that mindful caffeine boost without going overboard if that is up to your ally.
Syrups & Juices
A brand called KonaRed has successfully developed these products to be flavorful without being overpowering. They suggest using their syrup as a sweetener. Maybe we will even see coffee fruit lattes in the future? While they are currently reformulating their juice to make it better, it was already an easy drink to have with all of its benefits.
You may be more familiar with the brand Bai. They are found in almost any store that sells canned or bottled drinks, including some coffee shops. One of the base ingredients of all of their drinks is coffee fruit! They saw the potential of the “superfruit” and put it to use. It’s really cool that such a mainstream brand includes coffee fruit in their drinks. On top of that, they do not add any strange ingredients to their drinks. Bai is a great way to incorporate not just coffee fruit into your diet but tons of other vitamins as well!
Finally, we have a way that is nowhere near consuming coffee fruit but just making use of it. Coffee fruit can be used in face masks to help your skin. Those antioxidants are great for you both inside and out.
Can you think of any “undiscovered” ways that one may be able to use coffee fruit? Comment your ideas below!
What Does it Taste Like?
This might not be so important if you are consuming coffee fruit through extracts or concentrates, because you are essentially doing that for the benefits. What you need to pay close attention to is the flavor of the teas. As we mentioned, it will be on the sweeter side. On top of the fact that it a fruit, the fact that it is not roasted like the beans are is important now too. The fruit’s flavor would completely change if it were roasted or heated, so by simply being dried, it maintains more natural flavors.
Make sure you also check out our piece “7 Teas That Taste Just Like Coffee” for a list of teas you can try out today.
Coffee fruit really is the underappreciated sibling of coffee, but we are here to give it the attention that is deserved. There have yet to be any proven negative side effects of the coffee fruit, so it would be amazing to see it become more mainstream.
Thank you for reading up on everything you need to know about coffee fruit! There’s no reason for any part of the coffee plant to go to waste, and now you can enjoy all of it thoroughly.
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We’ll brew ya later! ☕️