Pour Richard’s Brings The Cascara Craze To The Main Line
by Michele Gargiulo, wine and spirits editor
The best drinks of the summer? Pour Richard’s cascara. Pour Richard’s already makes great coffee and distills excellent spirits. Now, the small batch specialty shop in Devon is bringing the cascara craze to the Main Line. As unique as it is delicious, Pour Richard’s cascara drinks are definitely worth trying.
What is cascara? Like all good coffee addicts, I’ve seen videos of farmers picking bright red berries and squeezing them until they spill their precious, green beans. Those beans go on to become coffee that we all know and love. The berries’ husks – called cascara – are often discarded or used as compost. But sustainably-oriented purveyors like Pour Richard’s are turning cascara into delicious drinks.
More tea than coffee, Pour Richard’s cascara drinks are made in four flavors: lemon, blueberry, strawberry, and original. The blueberry and strawberry are very aromatic. The lemon flavor tastes faintly like tea with lemon and honey that I drink when I’m sick. The original is reminiscent of fruity Earl Grey tea. All are low in natural sugar, so I don’t feel guilty about enjoying them.
Cascara is the latest beverage adventure from Richard and M.J. Berman, Pour Richard’s owners. The Bermans had their farmers send them some dehydrated cascara fruit to experiment with. It was a trial-and-error process, Richard said. Among the errors: the natural yeasts on the berries started fermentation when he only intended to use them for a soda. It took some time for the Bermans to figure out how to safely remove the yeasts.
Experimenting and being unconventional are part of the Bermans’ recipe for success. Before they opened Pour Richard’s, Richard Berman was a dentist. One day, he was given “a little home roaster that was so smokey he put it to work on the back porch of the dental office,” M.J. said. But something about the roaster took hold, and in 2013 the Bermans opened Pour Richard’s.
Along the way, the Bermans fell in love with fair trade. A lot of coffee roasters purchase their coffee beans from distributors who pay farmers low prices. Pour Richard’s buys directly from their farmers, ensuring the quality of their beans is top notch. Because of this, they have a say in their bean production, and they are impacting the farms themselves.
With their farmers being paid a higher amount than the others in the area, the money goes to the workers and their families, providing better lives for them. “We began working with farmers and realized that direct trade was the way to go,” Rich said. “Direct trade supports farmers as they invest in sustainable farming, their families, and futures.” While we all know how important it is to establish these ethical business practices, not all in the business are committed as fully as the Bermans.
Turning cascara into beverages is also ethical because it reduces waste. And, cascara may be filled with health benefits. Best of all, cascara drinks are delicious. Get yourself to Pour Richard’s and try them.
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