Coffee Cherry (Cascara) Powder

ORAC Value:
μ mol TE/100g.

The antioxidant value of Coffee Cherry (Cascara) Powder described in ORAC units is: 343,900 μ mol TE/100g.


Your morning cup of Joe was made using coffee beans, which were originally encased in a fruit or cherry known as cascara. These get discarded after harvest which is unfortunate, given how much antioxidant content they have.

The researchers who conducted this test described the sample as "commercially available air-dried intact whole coffee fruits that were subsequently crushed and sieved to produce a fine powder."

In other words, raw coffee fruit powder. At 3,439 per gram, it equates to the above ORAC for a 100g amount.

This report also tested two proprietary extraction methods and one freeze-dried version, however the brands for those were not disclosed. Since this ORAC value represents standard commercially available fruit which is simply air dried and then ground to a powder, it is the best representation for the average.

What is it good for?

Just like the bean inside, the cherry powder contains caffeine; 0.15% by weight according to this same report. That's around 1/10th that of Arabica beans, which clock in at 1.5% caffeine on average. Try it in lieu of the roasted drink for a healthier pick-me-up. Just mix a spoon or two of the powder in hot water and you will have a delicious cup of red tea. Its taste can be described as slightly sweet, like hibiscus, watermelon, and rose water all in one.

Note: Coffee cascara should not be confused with cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana). That is something completely different; bark made from a shrub which is used as a laxative. You don't want to mix the two up!

ORAC Source

Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't: Mullen W, Nemzer B, Ou B, et al. The antioxidant and chlorogenic acid profiles of whole coffee fruits are influenced by the extraction procedures. J Agric Food Chem. NIH 2011