There’s a new kid in Starbucks town. The java conglomerate just announced their latest drink for 2017, known as the Cascara Latte, which rhymes with mascara and sounds a lot fancier than Pumpkin Spice. Cascara, apparently, is a Spanish word that refers to the pulp of a coffee cherry, which is the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean itself. Learn something new every day. This dried cascara, or husk, imparts a subtle sweet, fruity flavor to the new frothy drink.
Starting next month, you can traipse over to the nearest Starbucks (if you live on Earth, shouldn’t be too far from home) and order a Cascara. Originally, the new latte was offered at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle only, which is an extra-fancy Starbucks incubator, but the drink was so popular that it shall soon roll out all over the place. By the way, the Nitro Cold Brew and the Flat White were both brainchildren of Starbucks Reserve, so expect the Cascara Latte to be a bit elevated like its predecessors. It’ll still taste like Starbucks, though.
As to how it’ll taste exactly, according to Starbucks, “Cascara lends subtle notes of dark brown sugar and maple to classic Starbucks espresso.” Whether that flavor will actually be straight from the fruit of the coffee cherry or, you know, from sugar and other added flavoring is up for debate, but at least it’s something new.
The cool part about all of this is that cascaras were usually just discarded in the past, but lately the husks have been utilized for things like cascara tea to cut down on food waste — and to create coffee tea, which is actually pretty cool. As NPR reports, a fifth-generation coffee grower named Aida Batlle discovered that cascara is actually delicious as a tea about 10 years ago after smelling its delicious, hibiscus-like aroma at a coffee tasting.
“Immediately I got curious with it," Batlle told NPR. "And I just picked through it, cleaned it and then put it in hot water to see what it was like. Then I called my customers at the time, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, you have to try this. I'm going to send you a sample.'"
The cascara tea was made of coffee cherry pulp, but Batlle recognized that the word “pulp” is not a buzzword. "Pulp was such a yucky word," Batlle told NPR. "I was like, nah, nah, nah, this is cascara."
And there you have it. Ten years later, it’s a drink at Starbucks — for better or worse.
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