Decaffeinated Colombia Risaralda
Altitude: 1,400 - 2,000 m.a.s.l
Variety: Castillo, Colombia, Caturra
Processing: washed, sugarcane decaffeination
Tasting Notes: toffee, malty, rich mouthfeel
There are a few ways to naturally decaffeinate coffee and you might recognize some of the names—Swiss Water Process, CO2 process or sparkling water process—but almost all decaffeinated coffee tastes like, well, decaf. Since trying our first sample of sugarcane decaf we’ve been amazed at how it tastes like real coffee with caffeine. We actually like drinking it!
First, the coffee: This is a regional blend from the municipalities of Santuario, El Aguila, Pereira, west of Bogotá. As with all blends, the benefit to the consumer is a consistent flavour profile year-on-year. Producers maximize their profit because larger volumes of coffee are brought to market. According to Raw Material, who import this coffee, “Each producer receives a stable price for their harvest, making collaboration in the Risaralda Regional Blend a consistent and secure choice for the region’s producers.”
What’s sugarcane decaffeination? This process uses ethyl acetate, a natural byproduct of sugarcane processing, to create a solution in which the beans are soaked. The beans are steamed to open up their pores (like a coffee bean facial!) and then they’re soaked in the magic (actually it’s very scientific) liquid, which pulls out the caffeine. Caffeine in coffee is bonded to salts. When the beans are soaked in an ethyl acetate solution it bonds with the chlorogenic acid in the bean and the caffeine is extracted.
Ethyl acetate is naturally found in other food products like ripe bananas and beer. Once the beans are soaked and rinsed several times and go through a final steam for good measure, they’re dried to optimal humidity (10-12%), and then shipped to us.
You might notice that your decaf beans are darker than the caffeinated coffee we roast. This is a result of the beans having been wet and then dried. The raw green beans that we put in the roaster are darker, and so they look darker when they come out too. A typical decaf roast is slightly longer (by a minute or so) than a caffeinated roast because it takes a little extra energy to dry out the beans to the point where they start the roasting process, but the resulting flavour isn’t dark or roasty. It’s sweet and malty and delicious in your cafetiere or as an espresso!
Read more about caffeine and decaffeination in our blog post 'Decaf is not a dirty word'.