Coffee – How to make jam out of coffee cherries or coffee cherry husks


I would like to make a jam (or perhaps more like a preserve/conserve or even marmalade; see this question for distinction) out of either

  • the entire, whole coffee cherry (a.k.a. coffee berry; beans and all), or
  • the skin and pulp of coffee cherries (i.e., the flesh of the fruit — everything except for the beans. Often discarded from "normal" coffee production, these skin, pulp, and pectin remnants seem to be called "husks", which sounds a little odd or misleading; thanks to @Jefromi for articulating this).

Edit: I tried to clarify the usage of fruit and husks; I'm trying to use the canonical terms as best as I understand them.

A bit of background for completeness: coffee beans (really seeds) grow inside a fruit that grows on the coffee tree. This fruit of the coffee tree is commonly called a coffee cherry or coffee berry, (looking a bit like a red cranberry or cherry when ripe). There are good pictures on that linked Wikipedia page, and a botanical diagram at wikia.

I found a source of dried coffee cherry husks (i.e., the dried skin and pulp of the fruit). In general, one can infuse these husks (or the whole, dried fruits), as a tisane, to make coffee cherry tea (also called cascara, or qishr — see another Coffee.SE question for more on coffee cherry tea). I haven't (yet?) found any source of whole coffee cherries, so I intend to start with the husks (dried skin and pulp only). I could even consider gelling the brewed coffee-cherry tea as a jelly, if all else fails.

My questions are:

  • Has anyone (around here) made jam/preserves with coffee cherries or the pulp/husks?
  • Does anyone know the properties of coffee cherry fruit/husks, as pertain to jam-making? E.g., natural pectin content, if the skin/pulp is starchy or totally inedible, or other relevant factors.
  • Are there any traditional methods for doing this? E.g., recommended sugars to use, recommend gelling agents (pectin, agar, gelatine, …), how to prepare the coffee fruit/husks for use, etc.

The credit for this question (and my obsession therewith) goes entirely to @EricPlaton over at Coffee.SE, by his original question about the topic, with a bit of suggestion by @Jefromi to ask about foodstuff-process-related topics here at SA. It sounds coffee cherry jam is made locally in some coffee-producing countries, so this concept isn't novel; however, prepared jam doesn't seem to be available more broadly.

As a side note, I've had coffee jelly, which is produced using (conventional, roasted, brewed) coffee and agar or gelatine, but that is not what I'm asking about. I'm also not here talking about using the roasted or un-roated beans themselves, which might be a separate, fascinating (to me) topic…

Best Answer

We have a coffee tree we have been growing in our sun-room for 10 years. This year after we harvested the coffee cherries and hulled the beans, I decided to try making coffee cherry jelly. I didn't find any good recipes on the internet, so I decided to "wing it" and it turned out fantastic. This is what I did: I had about 2 cups of coffee cherries. I put them in a pan and covered them with about 3 cups of water. I brought them to a boil and let them simmer for about 30 minutes, then let them cool in the water. I put a strainer over a bowl and strained off the liquid from the coffee cherries and then squeezed the cherries to get all the juice out. Throw away the squeezed out coffee cherries and keep the liquid. The liquid will be a reddish-brown and be a bit cloudy, but don't worry, it will clear up as you make the jelly. Next, I measured the liquid and had about 2-3/4 cups. I added 1/4 cup of organic lemon juice to the liquid, stirred in 1/3 cup of powdered pectin. Stir to dissolve the pectin then bring it to a full boil. Use a really large pot for this because it will rise up when at a full boil. When at a full boil stir in 5 cups of sugar, all at once. Bring back to a full, rolling boil that can not be stirred down and boil like this for one minute. Take pot off the heat and spoon the jelly into clean jelly jars. It will make about 5 small jars of jelly. Once the sugar goes in, the jelly should turn clear. Skim off any foam that might form on top before pouring into jars. Allow to cool and set. The color will be a beautiful, chestnut red and the flavor is mild, almost like honey. Enjoy!