Drink of the Week: Hopped Cascara Soda by Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Hopped Cascara Soda Stumptown

The stars of this spring seasonal soda are cascara and Citra, a popular variety of hop from the world of beer. Brewed to order, mixed with a little lemon juice and simple syrup, soda and a splash of grenadine over ice. It’s a spritz, basically—until you deconstruct it.

Breaking down the drink into its constituent parts reveals the origins of its nuanced flavors and inspiration.

“We’ve been excited about cascara for a while now, but we wanted to take a more calculated approach,” explains Brent Wolczynski, Head Brewer at Cold Brew in Portland, Oregon.

The drink grew organically out of the Long Distance Relationship, Stumptown’s cold-brew collaboration with Slingshot Coffee Company in North Carolina.

“It was our attempt to make a make a beverage that used the whole plant of coffee by blending coffee and cascara together,” Wolczynski says. “Since then we’ve been looking at other ways to use cascara, and this one was borne out of our love of beer.”

Hopped Cascara Soda
Hopped Cascara Soda from Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Hops, which are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, provide a citrusy counterpoint to cascara’s inherent sweetness. “Citra hops are popular for bringing out a grapefruit bitterness in a lot of beers, and the cascara we’re using is from Bella Vista, which is also exciting because it’s an opportunity to use a direct-trade producing partner.”

Located in Guatemala, Bella Vista coffee farm is surrounded by three volcanoes— Agua, Acatenango, and the currently very active Fuego Volcano. Stumptown and Bella Vista have been direct-trade partners since 2005.

Belying its simple list of ingredients, this soda is nuanced with flavors of melon and pineapple, black tea and citrus—and much more. Its equal part ode to beer, part deft display of coffee’s multi-dimensionality, and part homage to the spirit of collaboration here at home and with coffee-producing partners across the globe.
Try the drink now at Stumptown locations everywhere.