When you think of coffee, its roasted form is usually the first image that springs to mind. But coffee begins its life inside a coffee cherry, two pale light green beans surrounded by a round, ripe, red fruit.
This winter, Starbucks is introducing the Cascara Latte with flavors from the fruit of the coffee cherry. Inspired by the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in Seattle, Starbucks first new beverage of 2017 will be available in stores in the U.S. starting January 10 and through the winter while supplies last. Starbucks Rewards™ members can get a first taste of the beverage beginning Friday, January 6. Starbucks customers will also be able to order returning favorite the Starbucks® Smoked Butterscotch Latte, also inspired by the Roastery, beginning Friday, January 6.
“Cascara is Spanish for ‘husk,’ and we are taking the fruit of the coffee cherry to give our latte a subtle, lightly sweet flavor,” said Erin Marinan from Starbucks Beverage Research and Development team.
Starbucks® Cascara Latte combines espresso with steamed milk and cascara syrup, topped with velvety foam. A sprinkle of cascara topping, made with cascara extract and cane sugar, finishes the beverage in a signature straight line, which mirrors the inside of a coffee cherry.
“Cascara Latte has a nice dark brown sugar and maple flavor that is subtly sweet,” Marinan said. “As you look at the beverage from the top, it looks like a coffee bean,” she said. “It’s full circle.”
Baristas from the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in Seattle first paired cascara with coffee at its Barista Innovation Challenge in September, and featured the winning cascara beverage on its menu in the fall.
Anatomy of a Coffee Cherry
Once every year, coffee trees yield coffee cherries. The process begins with the bloom of white jasmine-scented flowers. When the flowers fall from the trees, a small cherry cluster forms and ripens to a red, ripe fruit. The process, from flower to harvest, takes about nine months.
Cascara (Outer Skin and Pulp): The outer skin is thick and slightly bitter in flavor, while the pulp (fruit) directly beneath is sweet and has the texture of a grape.
Mucilage: This layer is slippery and thin, and covers the parchment.
Parchment: The protective layer of the coffee bean and silver skin.
Silver Skin: The coffee beans are coated in a very thin layer called silver skin.
Green Bean: Nestled in the center of the coffee cherry are two green coffee beans.
Smoked Butterscotch Latte
Smoked Butterscotch Latte is also returning to stores this winter. The beverage, which was first introduced in stores in 2016, combines espresso with steamed milk and smoked butterscotch sauce, finished with a sprinkling of smoky butterscotch topping.
The smoky flavor balances the subtle sweetness of the butterscotch. It acts as a savory ingredient that enhances the coffee.