In the specialty coffee industry, we give a lot of attention to the various countries, regions, altitudes, varietals, etc. of different single origin coffees. We all definitely pride ourselves in showcasing as best we can what each and every coffee has to offer. However, we have noticed a lack of attention to really great decafs in our region if not the industry as a whole but do understand the barriers as to why decaf does not receive a lot of attention.
99.9% of decaf coffee started out as regular green coffee that undergoes some sort of natural or chemical decaffeination process before the roasting process. A very small amount of coffee does grow naturally as decaf but it’s so rare that it’s often unseen even in the specialty market. There are multiple different types of decaffeination methods but most undergo the same basic process where the green coffee is soaked in a solution, the resulting water is then filtered of caffeine and then the green coffee is allowed to absorb the caffeine-less solution back into itself up to a certain point. This process most often negatively affects the cell structure, chemical composition and thus taste of the final product after roasting. You may often notice that a decaf coffee is quite oily on the surface even if it is not a dark roast. This is due to damaged cell structure and takes quite a lot of care in the roasting process to prevent this from happening and keep those delicious oils inside the bean so they can be extracted while brewing and not oxidize on the outside of the bean.
So, we here at DRC have been working with importers to source really great decafs for several years to bring coffees that have undergone the best possible decaffeination process to maintain the integrity of the final cup quality. Throughout this year we have been dialoguing with one importer in particular, Artisan Coffee Importers, to bring an extra special decaf to your palates. This new Colombia La Serrania is from 29 small farmers in the state of Huila in Colombia and has undergone a process called “natural ethyl-acetate” process. In this process a 100% pure sugar cane substance was used to draw the caffeine out of the coffee and not put any added chemicals into the bean.
This beautiful decaf will give you chocolate, creme brûlée and dried strawberries in the cup and hopefully will give you a great experience with a product that usually gets bad street cred. We hope you enjoy and hope you stay with us on the hunt for quality decaffeinated coffees to add to our arsenal.