Apostle Coffee uses Swiss Water decaffeinated green beans. This process uses just water, temperature, and time to gently remove caffeine, while preserving all the coffee’s original characteristics. The Swiss Water process is also certified organic, making it the perfect fit for our entirely organic coffee range.
What is decaf coffee?
Decaffeinated, or decaf, coffee is made by removing most of the caffeine from regular coffee beans while preserving their flavor and aroma. There are several methods for decaffeinating coffee, but they all involve the following basic steps:
The methods used to decaffeinate coffee beans:
There are several different methods used to decaffeinate coffee beans. Each method has its advantages and may be preferred for various reasons, including environmental concerns, flavor preservation, and regulatory considerations. Here are the most common types of decaffeination processes for coffee:
1. Solvent-Based Methods
These methods use chemical solvents to remove caffeine from coffee beans. The solvents selectively bond with the caffeine molecules and are then separated from the beans. The two primary solvent-based methods are:
a. Direct Solvent Method: In this method, the green coffee beans are soaked in a chemical solvent such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to dissolve and extract the caffeine. Afterward, the beans are steamed or heated to remove any remaining solvent residue.
b. Indirect Solvent Method: First, the beans are soaked in water to extract caffeine and other soluble compounds. Then, the caffeine-containing water is separated and treated with a chemical solvent to remove the caffeine. The caffeine-free water is then reintroduced to the beans for reabsorption of flavor compounds.
2. Swiss Water Process
The Swiss Water Process is a solvent-free method and is considered more natural and environmentally friendly. It involves the following steps:
a. The green coffee beans are soaked in pure water to create a coffee extract that contains caffeine.
b. This extract is passed through activated charcoal filters, which trap the caffeine molecules while allowing the flavor compounds to pass through.
c. The caffeine-free water is then used to soak a new batch of beans, which will absorb some of the flavor compounds from the extract.
d. The beans are dried, roasted, ground, and brewed like regular coffee beans.
3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Method
In the CO2 method, liquid carbon dioxide is used as a solvent to extract caffeine from the beans. The process involves the following steps:
a. Green coffee beans are placed in a high-pressure chamber with liquid CO2, which acts as a solvent to bond with the caffeine molecules.
b. The pressure is then reduced, causing the CO2 to evaporate and carry away the caffeine with it.
c. The caffeine-free beans are then removed from the chamber and dried, roasted, and ground for brewing.
4. Ethyl Acetate (EA) Method
Ethyl acetate, a natural compound found in some fruits, can also be used as a solvent in decaffeination. In this method:
a. The beans are steamed to open their pores.
b. Ethyl acetate, derived from sources like sugar cane or other natural sources, is used to remove the caffeine from the beans.
c. The beans are thoroughly washed to remove any residual solvent.
d. The decaffeinated beans are dried, roasted, and ground for brewing.
How is coffee decaffeinated?
1. Selection of Coffee Beans
Decaf coffee starts with the selection of high-quality coffee beans, just like regular coffee. The beans can be Arabica or Robusta, and they are typically roasted to a specific degree of darkness depending on the desired flavor profile.
The coffee beans are soaked in water to prepare them for the caffeine extraction process. This step helps to open up the coffee beans’ cellular structure, making it easier to remove the caffeine.
3. Caffeine Extraction
There are several methods for extracting caffeine from coffee beans. The most common methods include:
a. Solvent-Based Methods:
- Direct Solvent Method: The coffee beans are soaked in a chemical solvent (usually methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) that bonds with the caffeine molecules and extracts them from the beans.
- Indirect Solvent Method: The beans are first soaked in water, and then the caffeine-containing water is removed and treated with a solvent to extract the caffeine. Afterward, the caffeine-free water is reintroduced to the beans.
b. Swiss Water Process: This is a non-solvent method. The beans are soaked in pure water, and the caffeine is extracted using a charcoal filter that traps the caffeine molecules. This method is considered more natural and environmentally friendly.
c. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Method: In this method, liquid CO2 is used as a solvent to extract caffeine from the beans. The CO2 is pumped into a high-pressure chamber with the beans, and it binds with the caffeine. Then, the CO2 is depressurized, allowing it to evaporate, leaving behind caffeine-free coffee beans.
After the caffeine has been removed, the beans are rehydrated with water to restore their moisture content and flavor compounds.
The rehydrated beans are dried to the appropriate moisture level to prevent spoilage and ensure they can be roasted properly.
The decaffeinated beans are roasted to the desired level to develop flavor and aroma, just like regular coffee beans. Roasting is a critical step because it can influence the final taste of the coffee.
7. Grinding and Brewing
Once the decaffeinated beans have been roasted, they are ground and brewed in the same way as regular coffee beans, resulting in a cup of decaf coffee that should have a flavour similar to regular coffee but with most of the caffeine removed.
Does decaf coffee have caffeine?
It’s important to note that while these methods remove the majority of caffeine, they don’t eliminate it entirely. Decaffeinated coffee typically contains a small amount of residual caffeine.
How much caffeine in decaf coffee?
Usually around 1-2% of the original caffeine content. The exact caffeine content can vary depending on the method used and the specific brand of decaf coffee.
Is decaf coffee bad for you?