One man's coffee trash is another man's treasure
Cascara—the prettier name for coffee bean husk—has been popping up in beverages for a couple years now. In January 2017, Starbucks launched their cascara latte. Then, last summer, a whole host of coffee shops—both neighborhood cafes and national chains like Blue Bottle—started to offer cascara sodas, taking advantage of the dried husks' floral, fruity flavors.
The cascara craze is showing no signs of stopping. Now Bloomberg reports that, thanks to the increased demand, cascara is more expensive than coffee beans. Due to an excess of arabica beans, coffee prices are the lowest they've been in about two years, at about $1.20 per pound. A Salvadoran coffee farmer says that she receives about $7 per pound of cascara.
While this is exciting news for struggling coffee farmers who could now have a second source of income from something they traditionally threw away, many coffee brands are wary of what could be a passing fad. "We don’t want to be buying 500 pounds one year and nothing the next year,” says Sam Sabori, national quality control and roasting manager for Intellegentsia. “We want this to be sustainable for everyone involved.”
While cascara sales have increased, they're still too small to measure, reports Bloomberg. That said, just last month, Starbucks introduced a new cascara product: cascara cold foam topping for their cold brew.