What does a coffee cherry taste like?

16

1

Do they keep long enough to ship? Can they be ordered from somewhere? Can they be dried/preserved/candied?

Can the flavor be used ... perhaps in a coffee beverage?

In the washed and semi-washing processing, the fruit is completely removed and discarded (and presumably not recoverable). In the dry processing, the fruit is allowed to ferment before removal, which presumably contributes much of the fruit and wine notes in dry-processed coffees like Sanani from Yemen and some single-origin Ethiopian coffees (eg. Starbucks Ethiopia Shirkina). If the fruit can do this ..., there must be more potential there, right?

luser droog

Posted 2015-06-21T05:01:06.447

Reputation: 610

1

Indeed, there is a beverage called cascara -- more detail at this question and my answer below. I also added the directly related [tag:coffee-berries] tag. +1 for a topic dear to me!

– hoc_age – 2015-06-21T16:30:31.183

Answers

16

Lots of questions! Starting from the top...

Taste? Coffee cherries are mild in flavour and slightly sweet. The flavour is somewhat reminiscent of other red fruits, like a mild mix of fruits like raspberry, red mulberry, currant, cranberry, cherry, raisin. I've only had them dried, so they have a little bit of a "dried fruit" taste (e.g., as raisins are to grapes). To me, they also have a little bit of a mild taste of tobacco leaf. When steeped in water to make a drink called cascara (see this question/answers). The beverage tastes to me a bit like rooibos (red bush tisane). Some coffee shops sell the beverage.

Shipping? I've only seen dried coffee cherries for sale. Perhaps "fresh" coffee fruits are available in the coffee belt, but the seeds (i.e., coffee beans) are so valuable that I think the whole fruit doesn't make it very far outside of production regions.

Availability? Various specialty retailers sell the dried fruit pulp and skins (some call them the "husks") -- here's one example from Verve. Searching for coffee berries, cherries, husks, or for beverages like cascara or qishr may reveal more outlets.

Other preservation? Coffee skins/pulp dry well. Rehydrating is possible but underwhelming. I have tried to make a kind of marmalade out of them; see this seminal question, and also a follow-up question of mine at Seasoned Advice. I'm sorry to report that I have not had much success yet. The dried cherries are tough, so not pleasant to eat outright.

Good ideas! I really like the stuff, and am always happy to find others, and would be happy to hear more ideas about how to eat and drink coffee cherries.

EDIT: For completeness, here's a picture of dried coffee cherry pulp/skins that I use to make cascara. dried coffee cherry skins/pulp/husks

hoc_age

Posted 2015-06-21T05:01:06.447

Reputation: 6 629

2I have a bag of cascara in the cupboard currently. To me I'd label it more as a hibiscus. Its fruity and light and aromatic. I'd assume, much like coffee, the variety and growing conditions highlight different tastes. As far as eating the cherry, there's not a whole lot of fruit. I've considered putting the dried cherries in a trailmix for a caffeine boost, but have yet to actually do so.

Coffee was actually discovered by a farmer who observed his goats eating the fruit. – tsturzl – 2015-07-21T05:36:01.480

the asian coffee shop in soho now markets coffee cherry flour. It is quite expensive .i have not tried it yet will repoprt outcome later – None – 2016-01-05T08:55:52.070

@chris - moved your content into a comment. I would like to hear more about the flour! If you find out some things, consider a question and self-answer. See more at the [help] for our format and suggestions. Welcome to [coffee.se]! – hoc_age – 2016-01-07T13:25:47.503

3

To me, a fresh ripe coffee cherry tastes like a rainier cherry, lychee, pear. Not as plump with fruit as a cherry, but similar size and rounder, and yes caffeine. The farmers we deal with will compost the outer fruit material, often let chickens peck around in it, and then they will use the compost on the farm as the soil needs the carbon material back to the ground for the shrub to produce more coffee.

Darryl

Posted 2015-06-21T05:01:06.447

Reputation: 61

2

We just got Cascara syrup in the store at the Starbucks where I work. It will be available to the public in just a few days.

It tastes really good but it is exceedingly difficult to describe. It evokes memories of fruit compote that I had in Russia 20 years ago. It has some notes that remind me of hibiscus tea made with the whole fleshy flower. It is not too sweet (I'm putting extra pumps in mine).

And it is thicker than other syrups. In an iced latté it tends to settle to the bottom.

luser droog

Posted 2015-06-21T05:01:06.447

Reputation: 610