One of our top most asked questions is about decaf, and is often one of the most tricky ones to answer. The decaffination process is often convoluted and concealed within large plants that neither a coffee grower or a coffee roaster are privy to. Here after a couple of years of searching, we unpick why we think we’ve found the right one.
NATURAL DECAF ESPRESSO
Our Natural Decaf Espresso is decaffeinated using a combination of natural ethyl acetate (EA) and spring water. EA is a substance naturally present in every coffee bean, and many fruit and vegetables, such as banana and sugar cane. It is the application of these natural sugars to the coffee in water, which strips the caffeine while preserving its flavour and aroma.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Pre-treatment - hot water is applied to the green beans, making them swell and soften, starting to strip the caffeine from the coffee beans.
Extraction - The coffee is then washed with EA to strip caffeine. This procedure has to be done several times until at least 97% of the caffeine is removed. Afterwards steam is applied to the beans to remove any traces of the EA.
Post-treatment - the coffee is dried to reduce humidity down to between 10% and 12%, then cooled quickly to ambient temperature and polished to protect against mould. Then it is ready to be packed!
WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS COFFEE?
Taste & quality - We first tasted this coffee around a year ago and were really surprised how there was none of that typical decaf aftertaste - it just tasted like a high quality Colombian speciality coffee (around an 85 point score).
Location - typically the decaf coffee we receive here in the UK is decaffeinated in large plants in Europe. The entire process of our natural decaf is done in origin in Colombia, not far from the farm in Hulia, which means a lot of the value stays at origin.
Natural process - EA is a naturally occurring solvent found in food. For example, a ripe banana contains about 20 times more EA than what is used in the decaffination process.