What Is Swiss Water Decaf Coffee?
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
— Updated June 07, 2022
Okay, so we think it’s time we level with you about a certain kind of coffee that not everyone agrees with. Some love it, some reel in disgust, some even get slanderous tattoos about it. Like, tattoos are forever, bro. Are you sure about this?
Obviously, we’re talking about the champagne of decaffeination, the Swiss Water Process.
What is Swiss Water Process Coffee?
These decafs differ from their more traditionally decaffeinated bros because they employ pure water instead of harsh chemicals (like ethyl acetate or methylene chloride) to gently remove caffeine. One of the biggest downsides of decaf coffee—likely one of the reasons people shy away from it—is that chemical decaffeination can result in a chemically tasting, lackluster cup. Not so with Swiss Water, my friend.
Our favorite thing about Swiss Water decaf is how it doesn’t taste like decaf. Whaaaat? Take Black Knight for instance. The caffeinated version has big flavor, a rich mouthfeel, and sweet, baked fruit notes. The Swiss Water version has all those characteristics, too! No more compromising or settling for less than you deserve. You deserve flavorful decaf. Your coffee should give you the confidence to look a caffeine junkie right in the eye. And maybe share a cup to show them what Swiss Water’s all about.
We have a theory. It might be unpopular, so have mercy. Swiss Water decaf drinkers might be the true coffee connoisseurs because they’re tasting the coffee for everything that it is. Think about it. Why do a lot of people drink coffee? It makes us move. It peps us up. Decaf doesn’t make you feel like you’re exploding, so decaf drinkers must really love the taste. If you don’t agree, @ us on Twitter.
Theories aside, the Swiss Water Process is a modern marvel, so let’s walk through each step. How do they make Swiss Water Decaf?
Infographic courtesy of Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Inc. All rights reserved.
Step 1: Water, Water Every Where
The entire process uses only two components, and the first is water. To prep the beans and remove any unwanted baggage (i.e., dust or chaff), the beans are soaked in pure water until they reach a certain moisture content, at which point they’re removed and moved on to the next step.
Step 2: The Not-So-Secret Ingredient
In addition to pure water, Swiss Water utilizes their proprietary Green Coffee Extract (GCE) to help draw only the caffeine out of green coffee. Per Swiss Water, GCE is a solution of "fresh water and all the soluble solids within coffee (minus the caffeine)." In the span of 8 – 10 hours, a caffeine imbalance occurs as the GCE circulates around the beans, which causes the caffeine to diffuse into the GCE.
Step 3: Refresh and Reuse
Once the beans lose 99.9% of their caffeine, the GCE is recycled. The GCE passes through a carbon filter, leaving the caffeine molecules behind to be burned off by a regeneration furnace, says Swiss Water, constantly checking the GCE’s efficacy.
Step 4: It’s Up to You (or Us)
After the newly decaffeinated beans are dried, they’re bagged and shipped to roasters all over. We’re so lucky to be one of them. From there, the bean is in your court. You can choose to roast your Swiss Water decaf yourself or have us roast it. Whichever you choose, you can be certain you’re getting a full-flavored, full-bodied cup of coffee that’s 99.9% caffeine-free, compared to the 97% achieved in most chemical decaffeination.
But the Swiss Water magic doesn’t stop there.
Say you’re trying to cut down on caffeine but still want that little energy boost. Our Swiss Water half-caf coffees are 50/50 blends of a single coffee: half full-caf, half decaf. Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Half-Caf is literally made with equal parts Organic Sumatra and Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf. Not trying to give away any industry secrets or anything, that’s just what it is. Half-caf coffee gives you all the taste with half the caffeine, which is easier on the stomach and won’t wind you up quite as much.
So, let’s retire "Death Before Decaf." Decaf has come a long way since Ludwig Roselius spiked his beans with benzene in the early 1900s and sold Sanka to the masses, since the first orange-handled coffee pot hit restaurants in 1932, and even since the tail-end of the 1970s when the Swiss Water Process was invented! Swiss Water decaf coffee is nothing to be afraid of. It might even be the best coffee you’ve ever had.