Cascara and caffeine

We’ve been selling Aida Batlle’s cascara for a few years now, the first time was back in 2008 when we wrote this blog post.

Cascara has been a huge hit among our customers, and many other roasters have since started offering it too. Whether enjoyed hot or iced, one of the questions we’re always asked is how much caffeine is in the hibiscus like tea that we brew from these dried coffee cherries.

We’ve never had a good answer other than the first hand experience of feeling pretty heavily caffeinated after consuming a few cups- often more so that if we were drinking regular coffee. So in order to shed some more light on the effects of this brew, we sent some cascara off to Germany, to be analyzed at the same factory that decaffeinates our decaf!

The results were in yesterday, and we thought we’d share it with you. We looked at both the dry cherry, whole and ground, as well as the brew, at 4 different recipes.

 

Cascara and Caffeine

 

As expected, ratio of cascara to water has an impact on the caffeine content of the final beverage, while steep time seems to make little difference.

Surprisingly, we found the caffeine content to be fairly low. Even at the strongest, longest brew, the caffeine content of cascara came in at 111.4 mg/L, compared to the broad range of about 400-800 mg/L in brewed coffee.

We’d love to hear from anyone who has done a similar test, or could help us explain why, if the caffeine content is fairly low, do we feel so energized after just a couple of cups! Is it sugar from the dried pulp? What else is in these magical cherries?

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Anette Moldvaer

Anette Moldvaer

Anette Moldvaer is the co-founder and green coffee buyer of Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Since starting as a barista in Norway 18 years ago she has worked in imports, education, training, cupping and roasting. She is a World Cup Tasting Champion, an international coffee judge and the author of "Coffee Obsession”.

Anette Moldvaer

Anette Moldvaer

Anette Moldvaer is the co-founder and green coffee buyer of Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Since starting as a barista in Norway 18 years ago she has worked in imports, education, training, cupping and roasting. She is a World Cup Tasting Champion, an international coffee judge and the author of "Coffee Obsession”.