Everything You Should Know About Decaf Coffee

What Is Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee is the removal of caffeine from coffee beans, tea leaves, and other caffeine-containing materials. However, decaf doesn't mean caffeine-free. Drinks still may contain around 1-2% of caffeine, even ranging up to 20% in a cup of coffee. According to the Coffee Confidential Website, FDA regulations require 97% of original caffeine to be removed in order for it to be officially labeled as decaffeinated coffee.

Why do people switch to decaf? Decaf instead of regular can be beneficial in many ways. Decaf helps people who are sensitive to caffeine, who are pregnant, nursing, or have heart conditions. An excess of regular caffeine can overstimulate the central nervous system, causing restlessness, anxiety, digestive problems, or trouble sleeping.

Developed in Europe, decaffeinated coffee achieved its first broad market in the United States during the 1950s. According to the latest NCA Drinking Coffee Study, the United States' consumption of decaf coffee doubled in sales from around 8% –9% of mainstream sales (mainstream is mass-produced and marketed coffee) and about 20% of sales of specialty coffee (coffee grown in ideal and special climates), to 15.9% of mainstream sales in 2009. These numbers clearly show a dramatic increase in sales and Americans' serious interest in decaf coffee.

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Four Ways to Decaffeinate Coffee

The first-ever successful process to decaffeinate coffee was created by Ludwig Roselius in 1903 and patented in 1906. The "Roselius Process" involved steaming coffee beans with a type of solution (water) and a chemical compound benzene as a solvent to withdraw the caffeine. This method however is no longer used since benzene is a cancerous substance. However, this process paved the way for other methods of decaffeination to form.

Carbon Dioxide Process

The Carbon Dioxide Method is the most recent decaffeination method used. This method uses liquid CO2 instead of chemical solvents (for example the harmful benzene) and acts strictly to dissolve the caffeine.
In this process, water-covered coffee beans are placed in a container called the extraction vessel. After sealing the container, the liquid CO2 is forced into the coffee at a pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch, which extracts the caffeine. CO2 draws and dissolves the caffeine from the coffee beans, leaving the other contents behind. The caffeine-loaded CO2 is transferred to another container called the absorption container. This is where pressure is released and CO2 turns back into a gas, leaving the caffeine behind. The caffeine-free gas is pumped back into a pressurized container for reuse.

The Swiss Water Process (SWP)

This process is known for it is chemical-free water decaffeination process that started in Switzerland in 1933. In 1988, the Swiss Water Method was finally introduced into the coffee market where its facility is based, near Vancouver, Canada. This method is also mainly used for the decaffeination of organic coffee.

This method is unique because it does not directly or indirectly add chemicals in the process. Instead, solubility and osmosis are used to extract the caffeine. To start, the coffee beans are soaked in hot water to help remove caffeine. Then, the water passes through an activated charcoal filter. The filter catches larger caffeine molecules and allows smaller ones to pass through.

According to Swiss Water, their Green Coffee Extract (GCE) is the main catalyst for the decaffeination process. Caffeine leaves the beans when exposed to the GCE, which then hangs out in the extract until soluble material equilibrium is reached, at which point the caffeine and GCE exit the party’s carbon filter double doors together, leaving the beans behind. But that still isn’t the end! The Swiss Water Process is not only great for decaffeinating coffee, it’s also great for the Earth! Case in point, the caffeine is stopped at the carbon filter while the GCE gets a refresher for the next batch of beans to decaffeinate.

The Direct-Solvent Based Process

For this method, coffee beans are steamed for 30 minutes so the beans can open up their pores properly. The beans are then rinsed over and over again with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate for around 10 hours to complete the process of removing the caffeine from the beans. After this, the chemical solvent (which is now filled with caffeine) is thrown away and the beans are steamed again to officially remove any other solvent that may remain on the coffee beans. 

The Indirect-Solvent Based Process

This process is very popular in Europe and the solvent that is primarily used is methylene chloride. It is known as "The European Method" or the "Euro Prep." To start, the coffee beans are soaked in boiling water for a few hours so the caffeine and other oils can be extracted.

This water is poured into another tank and separated from the beans. The beans are then washed for around 10 hours with methylene chloride and ethyl acetate. This is crucial because the molecules of the chemical solvent attach and bond with the molecules of caffeine to help form the decaf coffee. The remains of the caffeinated solvent is heated to evaporate both the solvent and caffeine from the beans. Finally, the beans reabsorb most of the flavors and coffee oils by being soaked in the previously removed water again.

Swiss Water Coffee

How to Find Good Decaf Coffee

To find delicious decaf coffee can be at the touch of your fingertips. Good decaf coffee is the exception, not the rule. But with so many different methods and choices, how do you find the right one?

The decaffeination method says it all – Swiss Water Process

When drinking decaf coffee, the method in which it is made says it all. Swiss Water Process is the best method to produce decaf coffee on the market today. It has a natural and pure process to extract the caffeine and leaves the highest concentration of pure decaf coffee at an impressive 99.9%. Some traditional decaf coffee can still contain up to 20% of caffeine, which can leave decaf lovers disappointed with the taste and flavor. There could be speculation and hesitancy regarding decaf coffee in relation to the Swiss Water Process. Two popular myths surround the world of Swiss Water Process decaf coffee and are explained below:

Myth 1 - Decaf coffee contains harsh chemicals.

Of course, this is not true. The Swiss Water Process is 100% chemical-free. Freshwater, coffee, temperature, and time are the only important pieces used.

Myth 2 -Decaf tastes funny.

With a chemical-free method of decaffeination, Swiss Water Decaf can maintain the coffee beans' finest qualities and flavor. Which only leaves you with one result – great tasting coffee.

Understanding your coffee preferences

It is important to understand what type and style of coffee you enjoy before making a final decision. This is crucial because it will greatly impact whether or not you will like your coffee. The acidity, origin, and roast level all factor into the taste, flavor, and enjoyment of your coffee!

Fresh Roasted Decaf Coffee

Here at Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, we offer nine Swiss Water Process decaf coffee, coffee pod, and green coffee varieties.

The TOP 3 most popular Swiss Water Process decaf coffees are:

  1. Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf Coffee - Fair Trade -
    Our best selling decaf coffee product, this coffee has a bold and medium level roast. Certain to bring a creamy, and earthy tone to the table with each sip. This pure, creamy taste with chocolate undertones, and chemical-free decaffeination is a drink you will not forget. Customers say with this excellent price, delivery time, and delicious taste, Organic Sumatra is highly recommended.
  2. Organic Mexican Swiss Water Decaf Coffee -
    When a decaf coffee has a mild roast, walnut and cocoa taste with a medium roast level, you can never go wrong. This vibrant and tasty body has a crisp and slightly nutty finish. This coffee is perfect for customers who want a mild and flavorful coffee minus the bitterness. Customers acclaim it is an easy, fun, affordable drink which proves to be true due to its high ranking as one of Fresh Roasted Coffees top decaf coffees.
  3. Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Water Decaf Coffee - Fair Trade -
    This coffee has a great cherry, cocoa, and creamy taste with each sip. The Sidamo mirrors the characteristics of fine wine and a rich cherry flavor. Since the Swiss Water Process produces chemical-free drinks, this coffee has a crisp and bold flavor, making it one of the top drinks for customers to purchase.

Half Caffeinated coffee

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC also provides six different water processed half caffeinated coffees and coffee pods. Half caffeinated coffee is when the coffee is made with 50% decaf and 50% regular beans. This can be popular to drink because it reduces how much caffeine you drink but still provides that extra kick that caffeinated coffee provides.

The two most popular half-caf coffees are listed below:

  1. Colombian Swiss Water Half Caff Coffee -
    This coffee contains a walnut heavy blend of strength and sweetness. This bold roast and medium body gives customers the perfect balance of half caffeinated coffee.
  2. Indian Monsoon Malabar Water Half Caff Coffee -
    This half caff coffee is a rich and delicious blend of decaf and caffeinated coffees. This blend is roasted together to give customers a smooth finish taste. With a bold roast, you can’t go wrong!

Decaf Coffee Galore

Decaf coffee is a hot commodity in the coffee world. The way decaf coffee is processed, made, and produced is crucial in making decaf taste delicious. With the wide variety of coffee Fresh Roasted Coffee provides, we are proud to use the Swiss Water Process for our decaf drinks, making it a very pleasant experience for all customers.

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  • Looking for a clean decaffeinated coffee, one made without carbon dioxide, methylene or chloride.

    Most don’t tell you how their coffee is made. The process of removing the caffeine.

    Please tell me which are the best.

    Thank you,

    Nan on
  • I can only drink decaf coffee. On average how long ago would my decaf coffee have been roasted upon my order?


    Michael LaMagna on
  • Do you still have the BlackKnight Swiss water decaf whole bean? I do not see it on your site.
    Great coffee!!!!

    Tom Fusco on
  • Can you tell me the difference in Swiss Water Decaf and the Organic Peruvian Water Decaf? What method is used for the Peruvian if it’s not SWP?

    Don na on

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