Listed on the Starbucks menu with the Crème Brule Latte, White Chocolate Mocha, and the Café Misto is a drink that you might be intrigued by – the Cascara Latte. This unusual and delicious drink was first introduced by Starbucks back in 2018, but perhaps you haven’t had the chance to try it yet with so many other great options to choose from. If you’ve noticed this on the menu but aren’t sure what it is or whether you should give it a go next time you order, keep reading to find out more about what a cascara is exactly and how it tastes as a latte.
Learn more about the cascara latte and find out more if it’s worth ordering on your next Starbucks visit, or if you should try making it at home.
What is Cascara?
In Spanish, ‘cascara’ means ‘shell’ or ‘skin’. In this case, it refers to the shell or skin of the coffee cherry. This Spanish latte Starbucks is made with the cascara cherry from processed coffee beans. Cascara refers to dried coffee cherries, which are a by-product of the coffee process that has been historically discarded by coffee producers and roasters. Coffee beans are seeds that are found inside of the coffee fruit. When processed, these cherries are removed when the beans are dried. Instead of discarding the coffee cherries, they are saved and dried to produce cascara. It is often consumed as a tea; however, it can be made into a syrup too. To make the cascara syrup, cherry skin is boiled with water and sugar. This can then be used in various ways including in baking, added to cocktails, or added to a latte.
What Does Cascara Taste Like?
In terms of flavor, cascara is somewhere in between coffee and tea. While it is not as rich or as strong as coffee, it does have some floral, earthy, and fruity notes. When you order a cascara latte, you may get hints of these notes but the cascara flavor itself is unlikely to be overpowering due to the other flavors in the cascara coffee drink like sugar, espresso, and milk.
When brewed alone, cascara tea tends to be slightly sweet while a little bit tart at the same time. It is nothing like the strong taste that you would associate with coffee beans, making a fruity, pleasant tea-like drink similar to redcurrant tea or cherry tea. Putting a lot of milk into this light tea will overwhelm the gentle flavors, which is why when making it into a latte, you should add at least one shot of espresso and sugar, along with adding flavor using more concentrated cascara syrup. Starbucks adds cane sugars to their syrup in the cascara latte recipe to give it a sweet, dark brown sugary flavor that is similar to maple. The final addition of a cascara topping adds a gentle aroma of coffee fruit.
What’s a Cascara Latte?
The cascara latte ingredients are quite simple. To make the Starbucks cascara drink, your barista will use espresso, steamed milk, and cascara syrup, which is basically coffee cherry syrup. You can also ask for the cascara topping at Starbucks, which is an optional part of this drink. The cascara topping is a creamy topping made with sugar and coffee cherry extract. This results in a latte that is slightly floral and sweet with lots of espresso flavor and earthy undertones.
When it comes to the cascara latte caffeine content, this will depend on the type of coffee that is used. You can always ask for a decaf cascara Starbucks drink if you want to cut down on caffeine. According to Starbucks, the Tall or 12oz version of the cascara latte contains 75mg of caffeine.
How to Make Cascara Latte
Since the Starbucks cascara latte 2018 was added to the menu, it has become a trendy coffee option. Cascara was once discarded during the processing period; however, it has quickly become a product that has a lot of uses for coffee lovers. It is sometimes sold in a fine powder, which can be added to your coffee, made into a syrup, and more.
To produce the cascara, the coffee fruit is fermented and left to dry. There are many ways to use cascara in your coffee drinks at home. You can use it as a dusting for your beverage or make cascara syrup, which you can use to sweeten lattes and other coffee drinks.
To make a cascara latte at home, you should gather some cascara latte ingredients including medium roast Arabica coffee, milk, and cascara syrup.
Cascara Latte Recipe for at Home
If you want to make your own cascara latte at home, you will need the following:
- 2oz espresso
- 1oz cascara syrup
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon cascara to garnish
Once you have all the ingredients, follow these steps:
- Make the cascara syrup by boiling one and a quarter cup of water in a pot. Once the water is boiling, remove from the heat and add a tablespoon of cascara.
- Stir well and steep for five minutes to allow the cascara to infuse the water. Strain, then add a cup of granulated sugar to the hot water. Mix this well until it has all dissolved to make a syrup. Place into a bottle and allow to cool.
- Then, make your cascara latte by brewing the espresso and pouring into a cup. Use a milk frother or heat the milk in a microwave and whisk until frothy.
- Fill the cup with one part hot milk and top with one part milk foam.
- Add the cascara syrup as desired to sweeten, and finish with a dusting of extra cascara.
Surprising Health Benefits of Cascara
If you are looking for a surprisingly healthy way to sweeten your favorite latte drink or a new tea drink to try, cascara could be the way forward. Some surprising health benefits of cascara that you may not have been aware of include:
Ideal Caffeine Content
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant, making it a great choice for waking you up and giving you the energy that you need in the morning. However, many people struggle if they drink coffee later in the day since this overstimulates them and keeps them up all night. Since cascara contains around 75% less caffeine in comparison with coffee, it is an ideal drink to brew later in the day if you want a bit of an energy boost without losing sleep.
Whether you are adding cascara to your coffee or brewing it as a tea, it’s a great way to get more antioxidants in your diet. Every time we eat, oxidants are produced by our body. Although this is a normal process, it can cause a lot of damage over time, with free radicals moving through the body and causing damage to our DNA and cells. This can lead to an environment that promotes various health conditions including cancer. Antioxidants balance out the harmful effects of these oxidants, and cascara packs a lot of them.
Along with being filled with antioxidants, cascara is also rich in vitamins C and E. These vitamins are great for your skin health and will help you maintain skin that is supple and smooth. In addition to this, drinking cascara can help you keep your body better hydrated, which will also help to clear and brighten your skin. If you don’t like the taste of plain water or prefer hot drinks, cascara tea can be a great way to drink more throughout the day.
Did you know that around 95% of us do not eat the recommended amount of fiber in our diets? Not only is fiber useful for helping you feel fuller for longer, but it is also essential for a healthy digestive system. Since cascara contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant, it can help with various digestive functions including less bloating and more regular bowel movements.
Improve Brain Health
One surprising health benefit of cascara is that it can have a positive impact on your brain health. While there aren’t any supplements or magic pills that you can take to make you smarter, studies have found that drinking cascara can improve your brain health and function. In one study, it was revealed that cascara can help your brain produce a higher amount of BDNF, an important protein which is necessary to develop new neurons, support your memory, and protect pre-existing brain cells.
Cascara is an ingredient that is made from a by-product of coffee production that used to be thrown away. Recently, however, coffee lovers have found several uses for this ingredient including brewing tea, making syrups that can be used to sweeten coffee and other hot beverages, and garnishing coffee. You can get a cascara latte from Starbucks or easily make your own cascara latte or cascara tea at home with some simple steps. Along with tasting great, cascara has some surprising benefits for your health and wellbeing.