Find out about the health benefits and where you can sip it in Charleston
Cascara has notes of hibiscus, molasses, and dried fruit and can be brewed, cooked, or steeped into syrups.
Allyson Sutton first tasted the ingredient cascara, (from the Spanish word for “peel,”) at start-up Arabica Soda and learned that an estimated 40 percent of coffee fruit is wasted during production. “After harvesting the beans, farmers typically throw these husks away, even though they’re a healthy superfood,” she says.
Inspired, Sutton and her husband, Joel Sadler, added cascara tea to the menu of their downtown coffee shop, Sightsee, in 2020. With customers impressed by its health benefits, the two teamed up with local coffee pro Michael Mai to launch Huskwell as a stand-alone business in November 2021.
The company works with a family-run farm in Nicaragua that harvests, processes, and dries the coffee fruit, taking care to not use pesticides. Cascara not only has less caffeine per cup than coffee, but is also filled with natural antioxidants that can help boost immunity and encourage sleep, focus, and digestion, explains Sutton.
Locally, Basic Kitchen serves Huskwell as an iced tea, while Estadio infuses cascara into gin for negronis.
Sutton hopes to continue building partnerships with cafes, bars, and restaurants throughout the Southeast and beyond. “As one of the only cascara companies in the country, it’s a lot of getting the word out.”