I know you probably have so many questions right now concerning the latest mystery drink hitting Starbucks locations nationwide on Jan. 10 (or Jan. 6, if you're a Starbucks Rewards member) — questions like, "What's in a a Starbucks Cascara Latte?" and "What the heck even is cascara, anyway?" If you are looking to kick your caffeine fix up a notch in the new year, this unusual beverage offers a celebration of the mighty coffee plant and all the flavors it has to offer — not just from the beans, but from the fruit as well.
The Cascara Latte is veritable nose-to-tail preparation of coffee, utilizing not only the coffee seed, but also the outer husk of the coffee cherry in which the bean grows to maturity. This red fruit, which is commonly seen as a by-product of the bean, is having its very own starring moment right now: Aida Batlle, an El Salvador coffee grower, discovered the possibilities of cascara in the early 2000s according to NPR; it's often used to make a drink sort of resembling a tea.
Cascara on its own tastes nothing like the bitter bean inside. Instead, it has a sweet and fruity taste, reminiscent of rose hip, cherry, red current, hibiscus, and mango, plus the depth of a tobacco-y flavor. Starbucks uses it to make a syrup, and when this syrup is layered with espresso, it adds hints of dark brown sugar and maple to the steamy beverage.
This buzz-worthy combo was created at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, Wash., although we received word at the Starbucks Investor Conference in December that it would be making its nationwide debut early in 2017. Starbucks Reward members can try this delicately sweet take on a latte starting as early as Jan. 6 (today!), so when you get that 2:30 feeling, you know what to do!
Want to know exactly how your barista makes this eco-friendly coffee drink? Here is what goes in to making Starbucks' latest creation, the Cascara Latte:
Your Milk Of Choice
Steamed milk and a little milk foam on top are intrinsic to a Starbucks latte. Just like a regular latte, Starbucks baristas will use 2 percent milk in your drink unless otherwise instructed; however, you can also request that your Cascara Latte be made with skim, whole, soy, almond, or coconut. Whatever your preference, they can make it happen.
A 12-ounce Tall Cascara Latte has 80 mg of caffeine — about 5 mg more than a standard latte.
Starbucks' rich and dark espresso is lifted up by Starbucks' delicately weet Cascara Syrup, imbuing your latte with more caramelized flavor. Coffee cherry extract is combined with coconut and cane sugars to create the syrup, which is mixed with your espresso to add a subtly sweet flavor to your caffeine kick.
The special latte is crowned with a dollop of foam and sprinkling of Cascara topping: Raw sugar is combined with the fragrant cascara extract to make a unique finishing touch. The cascara flavors will take the edge off your espresso beverage, making for a lighter, sweeter drinking experience — bottoms up!