The Decaffeination Process: A Closer Look at Your Favorite Brew

Exactly how does my coffee become decaffeinated?

By Chris Ali


January 15, 2024

Coffee Blog

Coffee lovers cherish the rich aroma and bold flavors of their favorite brew, but what about those who prefer to savor the taste without the jolt of caffeine? The decaffeination process plays a crucial role in providing coffee enthusiasts a gentler experience without compromising on flavor. In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into the fascinating world of decaffeination, exploring the methods employed to extract caffeine.

The process of decaffeination removes around 97% of caffeine from coffee beans ensuring that you can enjoy your favorite beverage at any time of the day or night. Decaffeinated coffee caters to a diverse audience, including individuals sensitive to caffeine, pregnant people, and those aiming to reduce their overall caffeine intake.

The Decaffeination Methods:

Solvent-Based Method

One of the most common methods involves the use of solvents like methylene chloride. In this process, green coffee beans are soaked in water to open their pores, and then the solvent is applied to extract caffeine selectively. The beans are then steamed to remove any remaining solvent, leaving behind decaffeinated coffee beans.

Ethyl Acetate (EA) Method

Similar to the solvent method, the Ethyl Acetate Method employs a chemical solvent but with a natural twist. Ethyl acetate, derived from sources like sugarcane and other fruits, is used to extract caffeine from the beans. This method is often referred to as the “natural ethyl acetate” process due to the origin of the solvent. While it shares similarities with the traditional solvent method, the use of a natural solvent adds a more environmentally friendly touch to the decaffeination process.

Swiss Water Process

The Swiss Water Process is a natural and chemical-free method of decaffeination. In this process, green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to extract the caffeine and the flavor compounds. The resulting water, now containing both caffeine and flavor compounds, is passed through activated charcoal filters to remove the caffeine. The beans are then soaked again in this caffeine-free water, allowing them to reabsorb the flavor compounds, resulting in decaffeinated coffee beans with minimal impact on flavor.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Method

This method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract caffeine from the beans. The CO2 acts as a solvent at high pressure, selectively removing caffeine while leaving the flavor compounds intact. Once the process is complete, the CO2 is depressurized, and the caffeine is separated from the CO2. The beans are then dried, resulting in decaffeinated coffee beans.

One of the biggest challenges in the decaffeination process is maintaining the rich flavor profiles that naturally exist in the coffee beans. While some methods may impact the flavor to a certain extent, advancements in technology and a greater understanding of coffee chemistry have allowed for more sophisticated processes that aim to preserve the intricate flavors of the beans. We choose coffees that have been decaffeinated using the Swiss Water method because out of all these methods, these are the types of coffees we want to drink.

The days of Death Before Decaf are over now that delicious Decaf coffees exist. Give our Decaf a try today!



Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty.