DECAF COLOMBIA HUILA
Tasting Notes: A tart and vibrant cup! Chocolate, cherry tomato, vanilla
Another lovely regional select lot from Cafe Imports!
There are a few ‘natural’ ways to decaffeinate coffee - meaning no synthetic chemicals or chemically derived solvents are used. The common natural methods are CO2 (coffee is blasted with gas to force caffeine out), Swiss Water, Mountain Water (coffee is submerged in water with a solution that draws caffeine out), and Sugar Cane (also called Ethyl Acetate or EA Process). Until now, we have always used a Swiss Water Processed decaf, but we’ve decided to switch to small lot Colombian coffee that has been sugarcane processed. Here’s why:
The Sugarcane process begins with fermenting molasses derived from sugarcane to create ethanol, and mixing with acetic acid (naturally created in vinegar) to create ethyl acetate. The coffee is put in a steam bath which opens up the cellular structure of the coffee and allows the E.A. to wash over the beans to dissolve the caffeine. The caffeine is then filtered out, beans are steamed again to remove residual E.A., then dried and shipped. In many coffee producing countries sugar cane is also grown in abundance, so it makes a lot of sense to use this naturally occurring solvent to decaffeinate coffee at origin. This method also drastically reduces the amount of fuel used to get the coffee to it’s final destination, reducing the ‘food miles’ since it no longer has to first travel to the Swiss Water facility in Vancouver, then back to your importer’s warehouse, then to you. The coffee is decaffeinated in country, often very near the mill where it is processed. This has the added bonus of giving more of the profits from production in coffee producing countries. Of all the decafs we tasted, the sugarcane options all had the sweetest, most balanced and pleasing cups. This process seems to not only leave the flavor profile of the coffee mostly intact, but it can in some cases even improve cup quality over the non-decaffeinated lot!