Brewing Swiss Water Decaf Coffee

Christopher C.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Updated February 03, 2022

You might not want to hear this, but it’s best you hear it from us first before you go on drinking bad coffee for another few decades. You’ve likely been making decaf coffee wrong your whole life. It may not be your fault, though! Coffee packaging and how-to videos largely only tell you how to brew caffeinated coffee, which kind of leaves you in the dark on how you should go about getting the most out of your decaf.

Interestingly, people paradoxically think of decaf differently, yet they don’t treat decaf differently—i.e., you can’t brew decaf the same way as caffeinated coffee. People look down on decaf because they’re using the same brewing methods as full-caf and expecting the same result. And then they’re let down when their coffee comes out weak. Why does this happen?

According to our friends at Swiss Water, because of the chemical-free caffeine extraction process, decaf coffee beans don’t contain as much soluble matter as full-caf beans, so not as much flavor is extracted during the brewing process. The best way to remedy this is to slow down the brewing process, giving your coffee more time to extract all its goodness.

To do this, you should use a slightly finer grind or use a bit more coffee. In some cases, you may need to do both to get the taste you’re looking for. Using either of these approaches or a combination of the two gives the water more to move through your coffee grounds and extract the rich flavors embedded in your beans.

Understand that the decaffeination process does more than just extract caffeine - it changes the structure of the coffee itself. And while all the flavors of its fully caffeinated counterparts are still there, we have to adjust our brewing method in order to bring those flavors to your cup. Just as you may tweak your grind and brew time depending on region or roast, tweaking these factors for decaffeinated coffee will give much better results.

4 Comments

  • DB
    David Van Benthuysen

    Any tips for brewing Swiss Water Decaf with an Aeropress?

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    Team FRC

    We love the AeroPress because it’s so amazingly versatile and the Swiss Water brewing tips hold true for brewing in the AeroPress as well - i.e. grind slightly more fine than you might otherwise and/or use a bit more coffee than you would for your normal press. You can also play with water temps and steep times to dial in your coffee to perfection. If you’ve tweaked your AeroPress recipe and achieved the Ultimate Cup, share it with us so we can help other AeroPressers!

  • S
    Sarah

    More brewing time and what about blooming time? Does temperature have any effect? Thanks!

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    Team FRC

    The purpose of blooming coffee is to allow trapped carbon dioxide gas out of the roasted coffee grounds. Since the Swiss Water Processed beans have already been "opened" via the decaffeination process, you may find there's less CO2 trapped within the grounds and thus requires less blooming time. But as taste is entirely subjective, you should adjust based on your preference! Temperature can certainly have an effect but grind and brew/bloom time are usually a bit easier for most people to adjust.

  • F
    flatflo

    So what are your recommendations for your half-caff coffees?

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    Team FRC

    Great question! And the answer is…it depends! Our half cafs are a 50/50 mix of regular and Swiss Water Decaf coffees so we'd recommend starting with your normal grind and your normal brewing time (based on your brewing method). Taste is subjective so if you feel your brew is weaker than you'd like, try adjusting your grind first, then adjusting your brew time. You can dial in a great tasting cup with our decaf and half caf coffees the same way you would by adjusting for region and roast.

  • IM
    Ira marcus

    That’s why it does not brew right in a perculator

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