Review: Caskai Sparkling Cascara

Posted: Oct 30, 2017 at 2:50 PM (Last Updated: Nov 03, 2017 at 5:31 PM)

Covers Products: Caskai

Caskai is a sparkling cascara beverage that is manufactured in Austria and imported to the US.

Cascara beverages, which are made from the dried husk of the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean, are growing in number, although consumer adoption still seems very much at its infancy. In the case of Caskai, they’ve kept the formulation simple, relying on carbonated water, cascara, sugar, and citric acid as the only ingredients.

Packaged in a 9.3 oz. glass bottle that features a black and white label with metallic gold accent elements, the branding feels exotic and upscale. Caskai is self-described as “nature’s silent power” and a “sparkling cascara infusion.”

The flavor profile is clean and crisp, with notes more like  tea -- it’s definitely somewhere in the ballpark of yerba mate, tea, or guayusa -- than coffee. They’ve sweetened it with 11g of sugar and each bottle has a modest 44 calories. It’s definitely pleasing to the palate, although it seems like something that’s going to be perceived as a soda rather than an alternative to coffee or as a functional beverage.

Putting this all together, we have a couple of key takeaways:

First and foremost, we feel as though Caskai needs to do a better job communicating the product’s purpose and benefits. It has caffeine, but only 11 mg, which puts it on a level that’s lower than both tea and coffee. It also has a low level of calories, but this, much like the caffeine content, is something that isn’t communicated front and center.

Second, we feel as though launching this product with a single unflavored SKU is going to be challenging. How many consumers want the pure unadulterated flavor of cascara? We’re sure a lot less than if it had some sort of familiar flavor paired with it. Furthermore, giving choice seems critical with a relatively new concept like this.

Finally, we question launching it in a glass bottle. It looks like a soda or light beer, which probably isn’t what the consumer should be thinking about when seeing this product on the store shelf.

Overall, the base flavor of Caskai is enjoyable as far as cascara products go, but the approach that they’ve taken feels like it’s going to be met with a lot of challenges.

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