What is Coffee Berry Tea?
Have you ever wondered--what is Coffee Berry Tea?
My favorite approach to the answer is that Coffee Berry Tea completes the "whole Nicraraguan coffee” experience.
Despite the lovely sentiment, I suspect that curiosities remain.
I would like to explain more if you will indulge me by reading on.
What Coffee Berry Tea IS NOT...
These ripened, sun-dried coffee fruits are…well….not a tea at all. They are the fruits of the Coffea Arabica, not the leaves of the Camellia sinensis. Some have chosen to call these dried fruits “cascara” and we chose Coffee Berry Tea. In Spanish, ‘cascara’ means ‘husk’ and we didn’t feel that 'husk’ does justice to the work that goes into these red coffee fruits. For us, Tea describes exactly how you prepare the fruits, hot or cold.
The simple story is that our Coffee Berry Tea is the red, ripe, sun-dried Caturra varietal fruit of the Coffea Arabica plant. These fruits have an addictive natural fruit sweetness, enjoyable hot or cold, straight up or spiced. Right now, we are enjoying them ICE COLD because it is so hot in Nicaragua!
Our Coffee Berry Tea is the product of a partnership between our Twin Engine Coffee team and a curious Jinotegano coffee farmer with whom we have worked for four years. Sun-dried coffee berries are relatively new to the North American market; most of what you encounter is blended, sometimes shredded, and stored in a warehouse in big sacks, identity unknown. That terrible treatment means that you don’t know much about your berries, even the most expensive ones.
Twin Engine Coffee’s tea is different. We live here, we work here. We followed these little red berries all the way from their birth high up in the Paraiso farm all the way to you.
Back to our curious partnership. Nicaraguan coffee berries are not widely available in the global market; definitely not single-estate, single-varietal berries. Our farmer partner wanted to change that by working with us in León. He was willing to go through the work at the farm and drying patio, so we agreed to do the work after the farm.
Sun-dried may sound simple. However, neither preserving the identity nor achieving the quality that you will find in our coffee berries is simple at all. Coffee-picking season in Nicaragua is much like cotton-picking season in other parts of the world. Fruits must be picked when they are ripe and when the weather is right, not according to a 9 to 5 clock. This is how it goes in our world of specialty-coffee.
A quick glimpse of a coffee fruit's path to your glass…
Coffee berries must be part of the harvest plan well before picking starts. Specialty coffee pickers practice self-discipline to seek and pick only the reddest, ripest fruits. These fruits are kept separate from imperfect fruits. The perfect ripeness is where the sweetness comes from!
Our coffee fruits pass though the de-pulper at the farm. Here, the fruit is separated from the two seeds inside. The two seeds move on in their own journey to become roasted ‘beans’ as they are called in North America.
The fruits, ah, the fruits. No matter the hour, no matter the condition of the road. The humid fruits must travel to the drying patios immediately to avoid any chance that fermentation starts. Enter the Sebaco sun. The consistency of the sub-tropical Nicaraguan sun allows the “hand-made’' nature of the Nicaragua specialty coffee industry to continue. The fruits are laid in the sun to dry to the perfect humidity. They are hand-turned over and over throughout 7 days and nights. When the sun-drying is finishing, we pick them up. In León, we inspect the now-dried berries again and again as we prepare them for your cup.
In the end, these whole fruits were brought to you from a beautiful certified organic farm high up in the mountains in the department of Jinotega, Nicaragua. Hand-selected, sun-dried and personally packaged by Twin Engine Coffee here in León.
We hope you will consider trying some the next time you order. Right now is a good time since our Summer Website Sale 2017 is happening.
Here are few recipes that explain just how easy coffee berries are to enjoy. Taking notes from the “old world” coffee originators in Ethiopia, we also find that adding complementary spices such as cinnamon and ginger to either preparation makes a lovely combination (do I hear Sangria??). With all of these suggestions, sweeten to taste.
Coffee Berry Tea COLD BREW
I love this easy, low energy ICED Coffee Berry Tea.
In pitcher, add 2 TSP* coffee berries to each 8 ounce cup of clean H2O. Let sit in refrigerator 24 hours. Pour over ice!
A Coffee Berry Tea ‘cuppa’
2 Tsp* coffee berries to 8 to 10 ounces hot H2O.
Let brew for about 4 to 8 minutes.
A “French” press works great in the hot preparation to ‘strain’ the whole berries.
*Berry quantities should be adjusted to the strength that you enjoy. Some enjoy it darker, some enjoy it lighter.
An important and wonderful note: the berries can be used over and over until the flavor leaves (that means putting in more water, hot or cold). And then you can throw them in the garden. Coffea Arabica has natural bug resistance throughout the plant!
If you have any questions, drop us a line. We hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Andrea and the Twin Engine Team