Coffee cherries have always seemed cool to me. They’re fruits with a secret hidden inside. Magic seeds! Beans that, once roasted, can fuel the weary through the toughest mornings or (in the company of a few good muffins) help create a mellow atmosphere where busy girlfriends can settle in to catch up. But what about the coffee cherries themselves? Did they taste good? Could people use them for anything or did they simply strip them of their treasures then toss them aside?
Though the fate of countless coffee cherries around the world may remain a mystery, some lucky fruit have a sweet future: They become soda.
Waialua Soda Works, a cool little beverage company on Oahu’s North Shore, has started bottling a new flavor called Kona Red. In addition to its other natural ingredients, this pop features a good splash of Hawaiian coffee fruit extract. No, it doesn’t have the faintest coffee flavor, but is more like a lightly fruity cream soda without the overpowering sweetness. It’s nice. And since it’s made from coffee fruit and not beans, it’s caffeine free.
Besides being part of a good tasting soda, coffee fruit are starting to garner a reputation far beyond merely being coffee bean incubators. It seems these little red gems have been elevated to the status of “superfruit.” Huh?
According to the Kona Red website (there's a whole related product line), coffee fruit are packed with a concentrated dose of nutrients and “bio-available” antioxidants, which sound like they shoot straight into your cells and make amazing things happen.
Wow, apparently the coffee cherry is quite the incredible fruit. Now I’m wondering if the cashew apple has any superpowers….
Waialua Soda Works
Available at shops and cafés around Hawaii; Whole Foods in Hawaii, Southern California, Arizona and Nevada; online