If you’re starting to grow weary of constant cold brew, and your typical drip or oat milk latte just doesn’t hit like it used to, perhaps a caffeinated change is in order. And that change could be cascara, a drink made from brewing a part of a coffee bean seen as both a superfood and literal garbage. Today, Colombian coffee shop Devoción officially opens their first cafe focused on cascara, located in Manhattan’s Nomad neighborhood.
According to Stumptown, cascara is essentially the outer shell of the fruit that contains coffee beans. To roast the coffee beans, they must be extracted from the outer shell, or cherry. After this happens, the cherry is often turned into compost or fertilizer. However, it contains caffeine and antioxidants just like coffee does, and a small handful of companies have been turning what would normally be a waste product into a unique beverage, even mixing it with vodka. Taste-wise, it’s said to have a fruitier, more tea-like flavor than coffee.
While Devoción has already been selling cascara (even Starbucks now sells a latte made with cascara-flavored syrup), this is its first cafe dedicated wholly to the coffee cherry. Their cascara is made using a unique process where fresh coffee cherries are cold-pressed—the drink is usually made from steeping dried coffee cherries like tea. This forms a concentrate that’s turned into a sparkling drink, which might sound familiar to anyone who has enjoyed a coffee seltzer from a place like Northern Spy (RIP).
This cold, sparkling cascara will be served on tap, with flavors like lime, ginger lemon, and (in what seems like a clever wink to cascara’s origins) cherry. That’s not all—you can also enjoy it as an ice cream (or float, or affogato), and even as food, as Devoción is collaborating with chef Carolina Santo-Neves on a baked goods menu that features a rotating option made with cascara.
While cascara is the star here, the cafe will also be serving more traditional coffee items for those who like their dose of caffeine with more familiarity.
This cafe is far more modest than Devoción’s flagship store in Williamsburg (a plant-filled place deemed by The Infatuation as “probably the nicest coffee shop in Williamsburg”), spanning 500 square feet and containing a mere four stools. However, it’s designed by Studios GO, the same team who crafted their flagship, so you can expect the same level of aesthetic consideration, just in a cozier space.
If you’re intrigued by cascara but apprehensive about shelling out for a caffeinated drink that differs from the norm, you’re in luck. For their first week, Devoción’s cascara bar is offering a pay-what-you-can deal through September 25 on all of their beverages and ice cream. And for the money you do spend, the company will be donating all proceeds from the cafe’s first week to help install a coffee production lab at a school in Colombia.
Devoción Cascara + Coffee Bar is located at 121 East 27th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, and is open daily, 7 am to 7 pm.