How caffeine is removed from a coffee bean?
Sadly, there aren't any decaffeinated coffee plants growing on this pale blue dot, yet... There are however a wide variety of ways caffeine can be removed from coffee. The challenge with these processes is to remove the caffeine, while retaining the natural oils & flavor of the bean.
The ways to do so widely vary; from chemical process to 100% chemical free processes. Sad Cow only uses beans decaffeinated by the most natural way possible.
Mountain Water Process (MWP)
Our Mexico #19L is decaffeinated through the Mountain Water Process. It's a one of a kind method using the clear waters from the high Pico de Orizaba mountain in Mexico.
This pure water soaks the coffee bean to gently remove caffeine from green coffee beans and other coffee flavor compounds. The water is removed from the seeds and run through a filtration system to capture caffeine molecules and allows them to be strained from the solution.
Once filtered, this solution is then re-introduced back to the green coffee bean, to reabsorb the original flavors.
Next the beans are dried, and exported
The Mountain Water Process is patented and is also organically certified in accordance with the regulations of OCIA, NOP and JAS. It is also Kosher certified
Sugar Cane Process (SCP)
Our Columbia 47M takes advantage of the SCP method. Often referred to as the Natural Decaffeination, green coffee beans are steamed for 30 mins to pen up the pours of the bean.
Coffee is then placed in a solution derived through the fermentation of sugarcane. Ethyl Acetate or E.A. is a naturally occurring compound. It sounds scary, but E.A. also occurs in some some fruits; apples and pears as well as in some wines.
While submerged, the extraction of caffeine begins.
Once the coffee is saturated, the tank is drained with a fresh solution added. This process is repeated for about eight hours.
After the caffeine has been removed, a final low-pressure steaming is completed to remove the remaining traces of E.A. The beans are dried and ready for export.
Bonus: 🌍🎉Since it's columbian coffee and it's decaffeinated in Columbia, it has a smaller carbon footprint because the coffee isn't being shipped to another location before having to enter the states.
Like to read more, check out the PDF download from Cafe Imports.