KYC Mondays: How is coffee decaffeinated?

Decaffeination is a process that removes almost all the caffeine from coffee beans. A fantastic way to do so and the one that is used for our El Decaf is through the Swiss Water Process. The specialty of this process is that it uses only water and no added chemicals or solvents.

The process involves:

  1. Green coffee beans are soaked in hot water. This helps caffeine and other elements, such as sugar and oils, to dissolve into the water.
  2. The water is passed through a charcoal filter. This traps the large caffeine molecules, and allows smaller dissolved elements in coffee that impact flavour and aroma pass through and stay in the water to create what is called Green Coffee Extract (GCE).
  3. This GCE contains all the water-soluble compounds found in coffee, except for the caffeine and is ready to be used to decaffeinate the next batch of green beans through the application of osmosis.
  4. Finally, the decaffeinated beans are dried, cleaned, bagged and shipped ready to be roasted!

There are some other methods of decaffeination like solvent decaffeinated and CO2 decaffeination that involves using solvents to selectively remove caffeine.

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