CoffeeNate #28 :: How is Decaf Coffee Made?

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Decaffeinated coffee, something that I rarely punish myself with, but there are those who are unfortunately subjected to this sub-par beverage. Many people cannot properly process caffeine and it effects their heart rate negatively. Admittedly, I haven’t tried very many decaf coffees, but those that I have tried have left me feeling unsatisfied and used. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In addition to the less than desirable flavor, most decaffeinated coffee is processed using harsh chemical solvents. BUT, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who must endure the decaf version of coffee, take heart. There is better decaf out there, but you have to search for it. There is a mystic about the decaffeination of coffee. Just how do they remove the caff from the bean?


The most popular method of decaffeinating coffee is a synthetic chemical process where the beans are steamed for 30 minutes to draw the caffeine to the surface of the green coffee bean. Once this has occurred, the beans are washed with a chemical solvent of either Methyl Chloride or Ethyl Acetate. MMmm delicious! These two are used in paint strippers, nail polish remover and glue, not exactly appetizing. After this process the beans are again steamed to ‘remove’ the residual solvent. I’m not sure if they can guarantee that all of the chemical has been removed, and I don’t think I would tend to believe them if they did.

The healthiest method of decaffeinating coffee is called the Swiss Water Method. This method involves no synthetic chemicals, and uses only fresh water. You can check out the pdf (provided by SwissWater.com) to the right that explains the process in detail. The Swiss Water method involves soaking the green coffee beans in water for ten hours. The caffeine and the flavor solids from the beans are diffused into the water. This initial batch of beans are discarded. Then the caffeine is filtered from the remaining liquid, leaving behind the flavor component of the coffee. A fresh batch of beans are soaked in this solution, and since the liquid is saturated with the coffee flavor solids, only the caffeine diffuses into the solution. It’s quite simple, and ingenious! There is only one place in the world that uses this method, and it is located in British Columbia, Canada. Green coffee is shipped to them, treated with their patented process, and then distributed to roasters throughout the world. A complete list of companies that use their service can be found at their website.

swiss water decaf process pdfPin It

Click Image for Full Screen pdf version

 


Video showing the Swiss Water Decaffeination Process


Here’s something I just discovered, the Coffee Beanery sells only Swiss Water Processed decaff for all of their decaffeinated coffees! Buy today and get this great discount as well… Enjoy Free Shipping on All Orders with code: CBValentine

You may also find some excellent decaf coffees at your local roaster! There are some great tasting decaf coffees to be found, but it will take a bit of hunting on your part. Exceptional regular coffee is getting easier to find, but the decafs are still a bit of a challenge. If you’re diligent and determined, you will eventually find the right one for you! Don’t settle for bitter or tasteless coffee, keep looking until you get it right. When you do, please share it with us in the comments section! If you still have questions about anything that I’ve covered, let me know and I’ll gladly get some answers for you! Just click “Ask CoffeeNate” above, or click ‘Contact’ at the top of any page ๐Ÿ™‚

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Nate

Nate is a special kind of coffee lover. He began drinking the same swill that most others do, but thought there must be something better out there. Sure enough, he was right, even more so than he ever dreamed possible. He soon found his way into the specialty coffee industry, and was tasting exceptional coffees from dozens of roasters from around the country. He is now committed to teaching others how they can appreciate coffee, and how they can make the best coffee in town and save money at the same time! Cheers c[_]

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