Women in Coffee: Innovating and Thriving

It's International Women's Day! And at Lazy Bear Tea we have lots to celebrate!

Women are critical drivers of coffee production around the world. For example, in Colombia around 30% of coffee growers are women. And we're not talking about coffee pickers, who are also incredibly important to the magic of Arabica coffee (which needs to be carefully hand-picked throughout the year!). The women we are referring to today are the women own and operate their own coffee farms, and employ increasingly more sophisticated solutions to the challenges they are encountering in the 21st century: climate change, urbanization, youth migration away from agriculture, to name a few. Experts have noted that women tend to adopt technical assistance more readily and efficiently than male coffee growers, and that when given choices about where resources should be invested, they are notably forward-looking and supportive of innovation instead of status quo investments in traditional infrastructure. 


This is no surprise to us. The women coffee growers we have met are bada$$ dreamers. When we visited Belen de Umbria a few months ago, we were lucky to meet a group of women coffee growers who are innovating every day to new ways to grow better coffee, use natural resources more efficiently, and put the coffee fruit to use. 

They told us about the community wet mill they are using to centralize the processing of their beans, which allows them to use techniques that drastically reduce water use. They are experimenting with renewable energy to assist the drying process. They are handcrafting products from the coffee fruit, like jams and hair care products. They showed us their most recent project, which involves composting coffee fruit to then use as fertilizer. And yet with all these endeavors, there would still be massive piles of tons of coffee fruit that would be wasted, or that they would even have to pay to get off their property. 

To say they were excited to hear of the potential to use that coffee fruit in our cascara teas would be an understatement. Coffee growing is difficult, labor-intensive work. To see so much of it wasted is painful and can be avoided with innovation we're seeing from these women and others working to transform the coffee value chain. 

We're proud to be a woman-led company and to be exploring opportunities to do business with other women taking on the world. 

On this #InternationalWomensDay, we celebrate all women and thank all the women who inspire us to live and lead ambitiously to create a better world. 


Why I left my job to start Lazy Bear Tea

I am often asked why I started Lazy Bear Tea and the answer isn’t completely straightforward. Read on to find out why impact, tradition, and childhood memories all inspired us to start Lazy Bear!

I loved the taste of cascara after I tried it for the first time in 2016 (despite having grown up in a coffee-growing family!). Later that year, my cofounders and I saw big players in the coffee world paying attention to cascara, with drinks like Starbucks’ cascara latte and Blue Bottle Coffee’s cascara fizz popping up all over our feeds. This is when we first thought “what if we could build a company that used cascara to brew something that is delicious, low in sugar, and at the same time had as a mission to help divert as much coffee fruit waste as possible and by doing so increase farmers’ income?” Was that too much to ask of a bottle of tea? Perhaps it was, but if there was a bottle of tea to pull it off it would be a bottle of cascara. Our cascara tea. 

Because we’re not talking about just a small pile of coffee cherries going to waste, or some few small cents added to a farmer’s income. The more we dug into the challenges, the more opportunity we saw to build something that mattered.

To understand where the challenges and opportunities come from, let’s take a quick look at coffee. You know, that thing we all love. 

Coffee rules, farmers (usually) lose
A ubiquitous part of most morning routines, coffee is one of the most traded commodities globally. We drink 1.5 billion cups of coffee every day around the world, many of them at $3-5 each, a steep price when a pound of green coffee (which yields ~25 cups) provides less than one dollar to the farmer. Novel forms of coffee, like cold brew and nitrogen infused coffee, have further increased the demand and introduced new consumers to coffee. Coffee is everywhere, and it is not expected to go away anytime soon.

And while new brands and cafes pop up to meet our demand, the vast majority of coffee farmers live in poverty, struggling to access markets and get a fair price for their beans. Admirable and effective models of direct and fair trade have emerged to address this disparity, but a vast gap still exists for most.

Simultaneously, coffee production yields millions of tons of waste every year in the form of coffee fruit. Why fruit? As we have written before, coffee beans are in fact seeds found within a bright red or sometimes yellow coffee cherry. When beans are collected from within, the remaining fruit is left to pile up and rot (see photo of me with a pile of coffee cherry waste below!) or is dumped into nearby waterways. This practice is highly polluting to local ecosystems, from emissions as the waste decomposes and as water runoff. It’s estimated that each hectare of coffee creates 2.25 tons of coffee fruit waste each year, and this fruit contributes 75% of the water pollution associated with coffee production. With over 10 million hectares of coffee globally, there are over 20 million tons of waste each year. And as you know by this point, we have a radical idea:

coffee fruit waste is no waste at all

 Piles like this are not a rare sight in coffee-growing regions around the world. Over 20 million TONS of coffee fruit are wasted every year. 

Piles like this are not a rare sight in coffee-growing regions around the world. Over 20 million TONS of coffee fruit are wasted every year. 


Inspired by tradition
And let’s set the record straight- we’re not the only ones who think so. In Yemen a traditional beverage called Qishr, brewed with coffee fruit and spices, has been a staple longer than the coffee beverage we know today. In Bolivia, sultana is an infusion of coffee cherries also popularly known as “the poor man’s coffee”. So, it’s not new to the world, but it is new to a vast majority of consumers. Many of them don’t even know that coffee beans grow inside a fruit.

So meet cascara, the “third wave coffee” name for the coffee cherry, coined by legendary coffee grower Aida Batlle over a decade ago. She had an “ah-ha!” moment and decided the product needed a new name, and cascara it was!

Childhood memories guide us forward
As you already know, cascara means husk or peel in Spanish, and in this case, that refers to the husk of the coffee cherry. Yet it is a lot more than the husk, it is the fruit with all its goodness that is left behind. If you have ever visited a coffee farm before, you are familiar with this fruit and will find it hard to forget the vibrant colors on a coffee plant or the smell and taste of the ripe fruit right off the tree. As a young girl, I would pick them as bright red as I could find and eat them 2 or 3 at a time, careful not to bite into the coffee beans. Those memories came back immediately when I took my first sip of cascara tea, and I haven’t looked back since.

I hope you join us on this Lazy Bear Tea journey and take part in a movement to enjoy every part of an exceptional plant.

Salud! Cheers!


Cascara-based cocktails? Yes please!

Without prompting, people tell us Lazy Bear Tea would make a great mixer. It's not how we usually drink this nutritious powerhouse, but we most certainly agree. The earthy, lightly sweet undertones of cascara are such a lovely base for many drinks and we've experimented quite a lot... bourbon, tequila, rum all make for a delightful match. 

 Lazy Bear Tea cascara's sweet and earthy undertones make for a delightful mixer. 

Lazy Bear Tea cascara's sweet and earthy undertones make for a delightful mixer. 

We are including two very simple recipes here, but the combinations are endless. For more inspiration, check out these incredible cascara creations from bars around the country, including a "cascara and juniper mocktail" and a "cascara no.1" with vermouth, gin, and a grapefruit cordial. Yes please. 


  1. Cold steep 4 heaping tablespoons of dry cascara into 3 cups of tequila and let the infusion go over night. You can purchase dry cascara from our shop, or alternatively mix equal parts tequila and Lazy Bear Tea- Natural. 
  2. Mix 1 part cascara tequila infusion with 1 part cardamaro, and 1 part club soda
  3. Gently stir and add a little ice. 
  4. Garnish with a little bundle of whatever fresh herbs and flowers you have on hand. Mint and rosemary are both great choices you may already have around. 

Cascara Dark and Stormy

  1. Mix 4 ounces of Lazy Bear Tea- Lemon Agave with 1 ounce of your favorite dark rum, a slice of lime, a teaspoon of freshly-pressed ginger (we use a garlic press!), stir, and add some ice. 
  2. Easy as that. 

Are you experimenting with your own cascara concoctions at home? Seen any cool cascara cocktails at your local bar? Let us know! 

Lazy Bear hugs,


What can cascara do for you?

Cascara health benefits

Why drinking a Lazy Bear tea is actually pretty good for you!

Many of us start off the year full of good intentions: eat healthier, do more exercise and take a bit more time out to check in with ourselves. But as soon as schedules fill up, old habits start to creep back in and our good intentions remain just that…intentions.

One area where this becomes particularly true is sugar. Many of us have yearned to consume less of it, only to find that so much of the food we eat is loaded with added and hidden sugars well surpassing what we may consider healthy. There is so much convincing evidence showing the negative effects of high-sugar diets, yet it remains remarkably difficult to stay in control of how much sugar we are consuming. That’s why we’re so excited to have created a delicious range of cascara teas that are actually good for you, and because we use the delicious coffee fruit as our base, we do not need to add much, if any, sugar to our beverages. They are low calorie, low sugar superteas, pure and simple.

And it's not just the low sugar we can brag about...

What are the other health benefits of cascara / coffee fruit?

Not only do our teas taste great but they’re also:

  • Packed full of antioxidants (twice as many as a green tea!)

  • Rich in potassium (more than a banana!)

  • Enough naturally energizing caffeine to give your day a boost but not so much to interfere with your day (or other caffeinated drinks :)

But that’s not all. Studies have shown that due to the high concentration of polyphenols in the coffee fruit, it can be classed as a superfood. As if this anti-inflammatory, powerfully antioxidant ingredient wasn’t enough, extensive research conducted by Future Ceuticals for over a decade has revealed that cascara contains an essential protein that helps to maintain healthy brain processes, including cognition, mood and sleep.

We like to think of Lazy Bear tea as a beverage without compromise: a refreshing iced tea packed with nutrition, none of the artificial or unnecessary sweeteners, and a social and environmental mission to guide its production. 

Why not give one of our Lazy Bear tea’s a try? Click here to find out where we are stocked.

Want to know more about Cascara? Catch up with our Cascara 101 roundup.

Cascara 101

What is cascara, anyway?

This is by far the most common question we get. After all, Lazy Bear Teas are cascara teas, and unless you already know that coffee beans grow inside a fruit, it may be a bit hard to figure out what we’re talking about. So let’s get the record straight and go into some detail here so you can be a cascara expert in no time.

What does it mean? 

The easiest way to explain cascara is a simple translation. In Spanish, the word cascara means skin or husk. In this case, cascara refers to the husk of the coffee fruit. And that’s because unbeknownst to many, the coffee beans we know and love grow inside a small coffee fruit- or coffee cherry—and once the coffee bean is harvested from within the fruit, there is a lot of goodness left behind in that husk. In reality it is much more than a husk. What remains is the coffee fruit itself, a fruit full of flavor, sweetness, and amazing nutrition.

What does it look like? 

A picture is worth a thousand words, and I’m sure you don’t want to read a thousand words:

 The dried coffee fruit ready for brewing! Once the coffee beans we know and love are removed, the leftover fruit is full of a unique sweetness and unparalled nutrition. 

The dried coffee fruit ready for brewing! Once the coffee beans we know and love are removed, the leftover fruit is full of a unique sweetness and unparalled nutrition. 

How is it produced? 

Production is a bit of an exaggeration here. It’s a simple process primarily driven by nature. Normally, the coffee fruit is a wasted byproduct of coffee production. After the coffee beans are harvested from within, the coffee fruit benefits from a bit of time and patience laying out in the sun. The fruit is dried for several weeks and stored until it is ready for brewing. Pretty easy, right? The secret is using high quality fruit that has been grown and dried by knowledgeable farmers to ensure the most wonderful flavors of the coffee fruit shine through. We have chosen our cascara for its characteristic sweetness and just enough earthinesses to keep your taste buds entertained, and ultimately grateful!

Why should I drink it?

If for no other reason you should drink cascara because it is outright tasty. We promise it’s a beverage unlike anything you’ve tried before. It’s not coffee, and it’s not technically a tea either because we don’t use tea leaves, so it’s an infusion of the coffee fruit. This makes it slightly sweet even for our unsweetened flavors. Our teas are full of health: low calorie (30-45 calories/bottle) and low sugar (7-11 grams/bottle), and packed with antioxidants (twice as many as green tea) and potassium (more than a banana!).

 There are millions of tons of coffee cherries waiting to be turned into Lazy Bear Tea. Let's put them to use!

There are millions of tons of coffee cherries waiting to be turned into Lazy Bear Tea. Let's put them to use!

And you should drink it because it's a product you can feel good about. Using this amazing fruit to brew cascara tea diverts waste from farms, and generates additional income for coffee farmers.

It all comes back to the three premises Lazy Bear was founded upon: we should enjoy the things we eat and drink (they should be delicious!), those things should nourish us (they should be good for us!), and they should be responsibly sourced and produced (good for the planet!).

And if you don’t want to take our words for it, read why NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all think cascara is pretty cool, and may just become the next “It” beverage.

We certainly agree. 





Welcome to Lazy Bear Tea!


Welcome to Lazy Bear Tea, the only website in the world dedicated to cascara tea AND sloths (we’re pretty sure this is true)!

Thank you for joining us on our journey to bring you what we believe are some of the most incredible and fun beverages out there, and trust me, I don’t take the term “incredible beverages” lightly.  

I am a serious lover of both tea and coffee. I go out of my way to find the best coffee shops in new cities, and always have too many coffee and tea gadgets for the small urban kitchens I’ve inhabited over the last few years. I like to think that it runs in my blood. I was born in Colombia to a coffee-growing family in the eje cafetero, a beautiful and lush coffee region. Coffee—growing it, selling it, drinking it—has always been part of my life. Little did I know I would get to work with its bright, underrated fruit: Cascara.


Cascara is the dried fruit of the coffee plant, or a coffee cherry. Traditionally, the coffee bean is separated from the fruit and is then dried, roasted, and eventually brewed into the coffee we know and love. This remaining fruit is typically wasted, left to rot in fields and pollute waterways either from runoff or direct dumping of waste in the closest rivers. And this is a true shame because the coffee cherry is packed with flavor and health, which brings me back to my bold claim: we are brewing incredible beverages for you from this fruit.

So why exactly are Lazy Bear Teas so incredible? You have to try them for yourself, but let’s just name a few reasons. Lazy Bear teas are:

A coffee farmer tastes Lazy Bear after a long day
  • Delicious—packed with the amazing flavor of the coffee fruit. Words won’t do it justice, but we hear people taste everything from peaches and plums to pu’erh tea and honey.
  • Healthy—either unsweetened or very lightly sweetened with organic agave syrup, our teas are all super low in calories and sugar while packing more antioxidants than green tea. You could call cascara tea a “supertea” or “superfood” but we’re a little tired of buzzwords for wholesome, healthy food. Simply put, these teas a filled with nature’s goodness, not added sugars.
  • Planet-loving—because our teas are brewed from the upcycled (otherwise wasted) coffee fruit, they divert waste from coffee farms and nearby waterways. This also means we are helping to create additional sources of income for coffee farmers. We’re excited to do good with something that tastes so good.
Lazy Bear - Natural Mockup @1x.png

We invite you to try our teas next time you see them around town. We're growing our family of retail partners over the next few weeks, so check our "where to find us" page frequently for updates.

Don't see your favorite store/cafe on there? Drop us a line and we'll be sure to follow up!

Salud! Cheers!

Daniela <3

Welcome Lazy Bears!

Hi everyone! We're incredibly excited to be embarking on this journey with all of you. Check out our blog in the months ahead for all sorts of fun facts, intrigues and stories about our favorite topics, from sloths to coffee cherries to rescuing forgotten food. Salud!

Erik OrnitzComment