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Coffee Decaffeination Processes



Understanding Coffee Decaffeination Processes

Decaffeination is the process of separating caffeine from the coffee beans. Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance in coffee beans; however, it is a stimulant and some people who enjoy drinking coffee may also be sensitive to caffeine and wish to avoid it's consumption. Fortunately, there are various methods to remove caffeine from coffee beans, the three most common of which are summarized as follows:

Swiss Water Process of Coffee Decaffeination (Natural)

The raw coffee beans are first soaked in hot water which leaches out the caffeine, basically creating a very strong brewed coffee. This "brewed coffee" is then passed through a special carbon filter designed to capture the caffeine molecules while allowing oil and flavor molecules to pass through. The coffee beans are then returned to the decaffeinated "brewed coffee" where they reabsorb the water, oils and flavor. Finally the coffee beans are dried to prepare for roasting.

The following Italian coffee brands we carry use the Swiss Water process for their decaffeinated blends:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Coffee Decaffeination Process (Natural)

This method uses carbon dioxide (CO2) in a supercritical state (under high pressure so it's both gas and liquid) as the decaffeinating agent; carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas in the air we breath and is the same gas that creates bubbles in beverages like sparkling mineral water and soda. The raw coffee beans are moistened with steam and hot water to ease caffeine extraction by making the surface more permeable, then soaked in a pressurized container with liquid CO2 which extracts the caffeine. Finally the coffee beans are removed from the CO2 and dried to prepare for roasting.

The following Italian coffee brands we carry use the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) process for their decaffeinated blends:

Direct Coffee Decaffeination Process (Solvent Method)

The raw coffee beans are first soaked or steamed and hot water to ease caffeine extraction by making the surface more permeable. Then a chemical decaffeinating agent is mixed directly with the beans to remove the caffeine. Finally the coffee beans are steamed and dried to remove the decaffeinating agent and prepare for roasting.

Please Note: None of the Italian decaf espresso brands we carry use the Direct coffee decaffeination process.

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