REGION: San Ignacio, Cajamarca
ELEVATION: 1,200-1,800 masl
CERTIFICATIONS: Fair Trade, Organic
DECAFFEINATION PROCESS: Swiss Water
HOW DOES DECAF COFFEE WORK?
We know- we can drink coffee all day, everyday. But what about those days where the coffee makes us jittery and we start dropping beans all over the roastery? In those moments, we resort to our tasty Organic Swiss Water Decaf. It is easy to question if decaf can be actually good. Let's put that to the test! Many wonder how decaf works. So, what are the methods to pull caffeine out from those tasty little beans?
DIRECT SOLVENT METHOD
The direct solvent method is the most common method of decaffeinating coffee. It uses methylene chloride or ethyl acetate (a solvent commonly used in paints, varnishes, and cleaning mixtures). The liquid solvent is circulated through a bed of green coffee beans, removing some of the caffeine. The solvent is then recaptured in an evaporator, and the beans are washed with water. The remaining solvent residues are removed from the beans through a steaming process. This process can be done several times in order to reach the desired decaffeinated level. The beans are then dried and go on to be roasted like any other coffee. Solvents are used because they are usually more targeted to caffeine. The use of solvents is highly questioned due to the end result of the bean. Oftentimes, the decaffeinated beans can taste chemically: “Ethyl acetate is often derived from fruit or cane sugar, so when it is used, the direct solvent method is sometimes known as natural decaffeination. But ethyl acetate is highly flammable, making it riskier to work with. It is also reported to have a characteristic odor, which can remain in the decaffeinated coffee” (Perfect Daily Grind). Additionally, since the beans are set to be decaffeinated, people will get “lower quality” beans, which results in a flavorless cup of coffee.
This approach is similar to the solvent method, except that it uses carbon dioxide. High pressure vessels are used to circulate the carbon dioxide through a bed of green coffee. The carbon dioxide is either channeled through a bed of activated charcoal or through a water tower to absorb the caffeine. This method has a low toxicity but is very expensive.
SWISS WATER DECAF
This method is a water processing method that uses water as the solvent. This method uses green coffee extract and carbon to remove caffeine by osmosis. Swiss water is 100% organic and chemical free. A mixture of water and green-coffee extract that has already been reduced in caffeine is immersed in very hot water. The water from the bath is then passed through activated charcoal, which traps the caffeine. This charcoal has been pretreated with a carbohydrate that helps it absorb the caffeine without compromising the flavor of the bean. The coffee beans are then passed through a series of baths to remove almost all of the caffeine. The water and the green coffee extract can then be reused in several baths. This process allows for a flavorful cup of coffee, highlighting the coffee bean, which results in a tasty cup of decaf coffee. Click here to check out a video of how this method is done.
WHY WE USE SWISS WATER DECAF
By using a solvent to extract caffeine, the flavor gets easily damaged. Since lesser quality coffee is selected for solvent methods, the flavor is not the best to start with. The Swiss Water method leaves the soluble solids in the beans, only taking out the caffeine. The flavors from each region and origin are protected to ensure that it is represented in the final cup of coffee. It is also a bonus that the Swiss Water is the only organic certified decaf coffee that uses pure, local water for caffeine removal.
Our current single origin features coffee from the Aprocassi cooperative in Cajamarca, Peru. Grown between 1,200-1,800 meters above sea level and average temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for coffee production. The mountain ranges and lush forests provide habitat for a diversity of animals including, tapirs, toucans, deer and the moor owl.
So, if you are ever at a point where the caffeine is making you full of anxiety and panic or you just want to test out the flavor profile of our decaf beans, please come to the roastery and we will provide you with a fine cup of decaffeinated coffee. And don’t forget that decaf can be specialty also.