A cascara latte, if you pop past Starbucks, take a few steps back and go in and try it! It is a tasty delight that is oddly (in my opinion) not as popular as it should be. Sure, it’s not on the same level of popularity as pumpkin spice latte, but it is one zesty, zangy and tasty latte with a nice slightly crunchy texture which livens up your latte.
Keep reading as I dive in and detail the curious, peculiar and, yes, popular cascara latte.
What Is A Cascara Latte At Starbucks?
You might have noticed a cascara latte on the menu at Starbucks or your local gourmet coffee shop.
But what is it?
A cascara latte is a tasty, exotic drink where the “secret” ingredient, like coffee beans, comes from the coffee cherry. The cascara is the dried outer skin of the coffee cherry. A Starbucks cascara latte is made from a simple syrup made with dried cascara skins.
What does a cascara latte taste like, should you try one and how do you make a Starbucks cascara latte?
Let’s get down to answering those questions!
What Does A Cascara Latte Taste Like?
While a standard latte is a coffee beverage made of a shot, or a double shot of espresso and twice as much milk as there is espresso and a thin layer of microfoam.
Flavored latte, like a vanilla latte, has a shot of flavored syrup. A cascara latte goes a step further and adds a shot of the cascara syrup and a sprinkling of cascara sugar for a sweet, tasty, slightly crunchy texture.
A Starbucks cascara latte has a subtle light sweet flavor that livens up a traditional latte due to the added flavor from the cascara. Expect tones of dried fruit, think apricot and raisins with floral overtones of hibiscus, orange zest and curiously, maple syrup that reminds you of dark brown sugar.
Note: The Cascara used is not to be confused with cascara sagrada. Cascara sagrada is the bark from a different tree and has nothing to do with the skins from coffee cherries
Starbucks Cascara Syrup Detailed
Starbucks Cascara Syrup is a regular-flavored simple syrup made with coffee cherry extract, cascara extract, water, coconut sugar and cane sugar.
You can buy the product directly from your local Starbucks coffee shop or Amazon.
In my opinion, you can make a much better version at home with natural ingredients and, if you so wish, a sugar-free version.
How To Make A Tasty Cascara Syrup At Home
This recipe for making a tasty and natural cascara syrup at home is by far much better than buying a bottle as you can adjust and alter the flavor to your own personal gusto.
Very few ingredients are needed for this recipe. Get the best quality ingredients as you can as at Latte Love Brew, we encourage you to follow the chef’s principle where the best ingredients will get you the best results.
- 45 grams (1.5 oz) dried organic cascara skins.
- 400 (13.5 Oz) ml mineral water.
- 3 to 6 tablespoons of sweetener of your choice. For an amazing taste, 2 tablespoons of Organic coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons of organic brown cane sugar and 2 tablespoons of organic honey.
This is really easy to make. Take a saucepan and add your 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of dried organic cascara skins, add your 400 ml (13.5 Oz) of mineral water and slowly, on a low heat, bring your water to a boil and let it simmer.
While your water is coming to a boiling point and starting to simmer, stir your water. When your water is simmering slowly and evenly, add your sweetener and mix. Add one at a time and mix well.
Let your solution simmer for 10 minutes to extract the flavor from the organic cascara skins.
Now take your solution of the heat and cover it well. Let it cool down before you filter out the cascara skins.
(It’s hot and sticky and that is a horrible combination for burns!)
When your syrup has cooled down, filter it out with a cheesecloth or metal sieve. To completely remove the residue, you may need to filter twice.
Store your syrup in a glass bottle with an airtight lid.
How To Make Delicious Starbucks Style Cascara Latte At Home
The better your ingredients, the better your coffee will be. We have the syrup perfected, and now it is time for the rest of the beverage.
If you really want to emulate a Starbucks cascara latte, seek out their espresso roast Pike Place coffee beans for making your shot.
- Starbucks Pike Place espresso roast whole coffee beans.
- Whole fat milk or barista coconut milk.
Using a coffee to water ratio of 1.5:2 for a good, strong taste of espresso in your latte weigh 20 grams of whole coffee beans.
Grind them to a very fine grind of 200 microns, most likely the smallest setting on your grinder.
Tamp your grinds evenly and firmly, not too firm. Now pull and time your shot. It should take 25 seconds with a variance of 5 seconds either side of that for a perfect shot.
Assuming your espresso machine is perfectly set up with the ideal water pressure of 130 PSI (9 bars) and a water temperature of between 92C and 96C (195F to 205F) and towards the higher end of this range the likely error, if your shot takes too long or too quick to pull, is your grind size.
A shot with a brewing time that is too quick will be sour or slightly sour and a drink that is not as enjoyable as it could be. Use a slightly smaller grind size to encourage greater contact with the water and the coffee grounds.
If your espresso shot takes too long to brew it will taste overtly bitter. The cause of this is too much contact with the hot water. The solution is to use a slightly larger grind size to encourage the water to flow better through your coffee grounds.
Once you have your shot perfected, add a pump of your cascara syrup, or two teaspoons (10 ml).
Steaming Your Milk
If you are opting to use coconut milk instead of whole fat milk, ensure that you are using the barista brand as their milk is designed for steaming and making microfoam. Other brands and regular coconut milk will curdle when you try to steam them.
Steaming your milk is easy.
Dip the tip of your milk steaming wand an inch (2.5 cm) below the surface and watch for a whirlpool effect. While you see the whirlpool effect, move your wand through the milk from top to bottom.
When you hear a sound that is like the tearing of magazines, stop steaming your milk and make the microfoam.
To make the microfoam, dip the tip of your steaming wand just below the surface of the milk, just half an inch, 1.25 cm below and bob the tip up and down gently to force air into the milk and create the microfoam.
When you see an abundance of microfoam steam the milk again for a few seconds to turn some microfoam into your milk to create a rich silky texture. If necessary, create a little more microfoam.
Add twice as much milk (2 oz) 60 ml of steamed milk to your espresso shot and add a 1 cm cap of microfoam and add a sprinkling of ground cascara, or cascara shavings.
Enjoy your perfect and beautiful cascara latte.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cascara Latte
What Is Cascara?
Cascara is the skin of the coffee fruit, the part that surrounds or encases the coffee beans and is often discarded by a coffee farmer until lately where it is discovered to make a tasty snack and beverage as a tea or an Italian style soda.
It was once considered as a waste product and often recycled as a fertilizer for soil.
What Is Starbucks Cascara Topping?
Starbucks cascara topping is a delicious cream based topping that is flavored with cascara syrup. It goes excellent with their iced beverages and cold brew.
A popular choice for coffee lovers is to add a pump of vanilla to a cascara topping.
Is The Cascara Latte Good?
Yes, in my opinion, and I love a good latte, a cascara latte is one of the better tasting flavored lattes on the menu at Starbucks. It is a lively coffee drink that, in my humble opinion, takes advantage of and accentuates the natural flavors of great coffee beans.
What Is Cascara Cold Foam Starbucks?
Cascara cold foam is a tasty topping option on the Starbucks menu. It is cold foam flavored with a shot of cascara syrup. It is often served with their cold brew and iced coffee beverages and finished with a dash of vanilla syrup.
Final Thoughts – Cascara Latte
I absolutely encourage you to try both a cascara latte at home and making your own homemade cascara latte.
With the tasty syrup that is great on pancakes, as an Italian soda, and great in cocktails.
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