Decaf has changed over recent years and its becoming better than ever! With so many natural methods of extracting caffeine, decafinated coffee is gaining popularity and tastes amazing!
We are going to explore two of the methods used for extracting caffeine and talk about how you can brew an exceptional cup of caffeine free coffee at home that doesn’t have that horrible aftertaste so commonly present in most decaffinated coffee. We will also share with you two single origin decafinated coffees that were blind taste tested with ten of our coffee family members. Everyone was shocked when it was revealed to be a decaf!
Swiss Water Method
Introduced by The Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada in 1988
This method relies on two concepts – solubility and osmosis – to decaffeinate coffee beans.
This decaffination process begins by imersing green coffee beans in very hot water which dissolves and extracts the caffeine. The water is then drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter.
This filter is designed to only capture larger caffeine molecules, while smaller oil and flavour molecules pass through it. This extraction process also extracts desirable oils and other solids from the beans, resulting in two tanks, one containing beans with no caffeine and no flavour. Caffeine-free and flavour in another tank.
The flavourless caffeine-free beans are discarded, and then the flavour packed water is used to remove the caffeine from a fresh batch of coffee beans. This process is repeated until the beans are 99.9% caffeine free which takes about 8 – 10 hours.
Sugarcane Natural Process
This process happens at a decaffeination plant in Manizales, Colombia.
Natural Ethyl Acetate is derived from sugarcane which when combined with fresh spring water strips caffeine from the coffee. This method is used to decaffeinate is a chemical-free process.
Decaffeinating begins at the pre-treatment step by steaming the green coffee beans with low pressure steam to remove the silver skins.
The coffee is moistened with hot water to swell and soften the beans and start the hydrolysis of caffeine which is bonded to salts inside the beans.
At the decaffeination extraction phase the Ethyl Acetate is recirculated through the pre-treated coffee beans multiple times until at least 97% of the caffeine is removed.
Low pressure saturated steam is then applied following the extraction process to remove any traces of the Ethyl Acetate.
The coffee is then vacuum dried to remove water previously applied in the pre-treatment process to adjust the final humidity value between 10% and 12%.
Coffee is then cooled to ambient temperature using fans.
Brewing up at home
Our sugarcane decaf is smooth and flavourful. Single origin Columbian, it featured chocolate notes that left no after taste. We enjoyed it in our AeroPress, Moka Pot and through our Espresso Machine.
Our swiss water decaf, also a single origin Columbian, was lovely and a bit fruitier than the sugarcane. We enjoyed it through our cafetière and chemex.
Wether you’re drinking decaf for health reasons or you’re looking for a coffee you can drink early evening then give it a go. Explore the world of decaf, we think you will be pleasently surprised. Get involved and let us know what you think.
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