Saturday, December 05, 2015

Tea for the Coffee Maven

I teach three courses on coffee and one on tea. Because the tea course is only one credit-hour, this is a ratio that is proportional to my knowledge and enjoyment of the two beverages. They are very different in geography, flavor, history, and preparation, but I am always interested in connections between the two.

From 44 North Coffee in Maine -- by way of The Salt on NPR -- comes just such a connection. The normally-discarded husk of the coffee cherry -- known in Spanish as the cascara -- can be dried and brewed, just like the hibiscus tea (jamaica) that is popular in the coffee-growing areas of Central America. According to the reporting, the tea can be made from the husks whether the cherries are dried whole (natural or dry process) or depulped at harvest time (wet process).

The article answers another question some of my students and I have had for some while -- can a wine or beer be made directly from the coffee fruit? New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado says yes, at least on the beer side, and ran a limited batch recently. Too bad I did not realize that when I was in Ft. Collins. The reasons to return keep accumulating!

My first order is on its way ... scheduled to arrive for the last session of this semester's tea class, and the first session of next semester's coffee class. Stay tuned for a review.

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