Best Decaf Coffee
We often see people searching the internet for where they can buy the best decaf coffee. Often times, this leads them to some random review or buying guide of popular coffee brands. The review will then lead them to places like Amazon where people are then tricked into buying a random bag of decaf coffee beans that aren't actually the "best".
If you want to buy the best decaf coffee beans, it is important to understand how decaf coffee is made and it is important to educate yourself on what types of features to look out for and which to avoid. If you are searching for a sustainable, healthy and 100% transparent option, our Swiss Water Processed Colombian Single Origin is simply the best choice of decaf coffee beans.
What Is Decaf Coffee
We all enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, it’s what helps most of us get through the day. However, not all of us enjoy the side effects that caffeine can bring with it. Some people are highly sensitive to caffeine and require a decaffeinated solution, meaning that the caffeine has been extracted from the bean prior to roasting.
Since caffeine naturally exists within coffee beans, many coffee aficionados and hardcore coffee enthusiasts, claim that it is unnatural for the beans to undergo the decaffeination process. Personally, I find it just as natural as offering a pulp free glass of orange juice. Yes, I do enjoy the boost of energy that I receive from caffeine, but there are times when a decaffeinated option is better suited.
How Do They Make Decaf Coffee
Despite how simple coffee beans appear, they are quite complex when you break them down. There is an exact science behind the magical elixir we drink every day, the perfect concoction of chemicals that exhibit the aroma and flavors we all enjoy.
It is extremely easy to alter the original concentration of chemicals within the bean which inadvertently manipulates the flavor, usually for the worse. This makes the decaffeination process difficult. Many people claim that the decaffeination process causes the bean to become bland and lose most of its flavor.
Although this may have been true in the past, it is not the case anymore. We have engineered the process in a way that makes it nearly impossible to detect the difference between a regular and a decaffeinated bean from the same source.
Still, there are many decaffeination methods being used, some of which are better than others. Some of which are healthier than others. You may be shocked to learn that places like Dunkin Donuts are using less desirable methods because they are more profitable.
So let’s break down the methods!
Roselius Process (Deadly)
One of the first methods of decaffeination was introduced in the early 1900s. A German coffee merchant, Ludwig Roselius, wanted a solution that would remove the caffeine from coffee. He felt that the caffeine within coffee had poisoned his father.
Ironically, his process of removing the caffeine involved steaming the beans with a solution of salt water and then using benzene to extract the caffeine. This is ironic because benzene is a human carcinogen. Needless to say, this process is no longer used!
Solvent-Based (Added Chemicals)
This widely used method involves adding a solvent, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, to the coffee beans. These solvents can be introduced directly to the beans or directly to the water that contains the caffeine from the already soaked coffee beans.
Whether the solvent is introduced directly or indirectly, small traces of the solvent may exist within your cup of coffee. According to studies, this amount of solvent is not harmful, and most are eliminated within the roasting and brewing process. Still, I tend to air on the side of caution and avoid this method when possible.
CO2 (Expensive but Better)
This newer method is more expensive, but it is a healthier alternative to the previously mentioned methods. In this process, CO2 is blasted through the water-soaked coffee beans which removes most of the caffeine. You are essentially left with the flavorful coffee beans in one tank and a highly caffeinated CO2 compound that is extracted and reused in another tank.
Swiss Water Process
This is the only decaffeination process that does not directly or indirectly add chemicals into your cup of coffee. Instead, this method uses a healthier version of science thanks to our friends, solubility and osmosis!
Swiss Water Process
Since the Swiss Water Process is the best decaf coffee you can buy, we wanted to explain how it is achieved.To put it simply, Swiss Water Process is the technique in which caffeine is removed from green coffee beans through caffeine solubility and osmosis. This is achieved with hot water and a charcoal filter which we will explain the process below.
1. Soaked in Hot Water
Beans are soaked in scorching hot water solution (this solution is created from a previous Swiss Water Process) to dissolve the caffeine from the beans. Once the soaking has been completed, the flavorful hot water is removed and sent to the next step. The first batch of beans are discarded which you'll find out why below.
2. Passed Through Charcoal Filter
This highly caffeinated, and flavorful, water is then passed through a charcoal filter. Since the filter is too porous to remove the tiny oil and flavor molecules, only the caffeine is removed from the water. You now have a tank of flavorless coffee beans and a tank of highly flavored (caffeine free) water. This water is often called Green Coffee Extract.
3. Green Coffee Extract Used on New Coffee Beans
New caffeinated and flavorful beans are brought into the picture to undergo a similar process to that of step one. The flavor rich water is reused as the “hot scorching water” that was mentioned above. Through osmosis, the caffeine is removed from the coffee bean again, but the flavor this time is not removed because an equilibrium is reached.
If the water was more flavorful than the bean, the bean would inherit these flavors and visa versa. However, since the batch size remains constant, the water extract is usually equally flavorful as the coffee beans, resulting in no flavor changes. This process is repeated over and over.
“science, yo!” -Breaking Bad