Giving decaf some love.

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 br√Ľl√©e 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.

Einar Ortiz in his immaculate farm.  Photo courtesy of Virmax Coffee in Colombia.

Einar Ortiz in his immaculate farm. Photo courtesy of Virmax Coffee in Colombia.

Baristas That Can Swing a Hammer

Don't we all...

Don’t we all…

One of our biggest joys at Deeper Roots Coffee is connecting farmers with the baristas who serve their coffee every day. We get to do this pretty regularly, taking small groups of coffee-pilgrims to Guatemala during harvest. But, from time to time, we also bring whole teams of coffee professionals and coffee lovers to Guatemala to get their hands dirty as well. In May, Greyhouse Coffee in West Lafayette, IN came to Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala with 14 people to meet the La Armonia Hermosa farmers, learn about coffee farming and help build parts of our new processing mill there. Before coming, Greyhouse ran a campaign with their customers to raise funds for a generator for the mill. Through their generosity, together they raised enough to purchase the generator and buy some additional supplies for the mill.

The roof is going up on the new wet mill.

The roof is going up on the new wet mill.

During their trip the baristas, and other students from Purdue University, had the opportunity to help construct the roof for our new wet mill, start seedlings for the new coffee nursery, and work on some small engineering projects. One of those projects was to install and train on a water filtration system so they can collect rain water for drinking from the roof of the mill.

Julio running the new water filteration system.

Julio running the new water filteration system.

The mill has been a dream for many years now and will greatly increase the production capacity for the Santa Marian farmers which means more and even better La Armonia Hermosa coffee for us here in the States! Construction started last summer with another group from Mississippi having come down to pitch in as well.

Greyhouse Coffee baristas

Greyhouse Coffee baristas

The project is the work of many hands, and though we “gringos” may not be the most skilled laborers, the relationships forged while working together with Julio Cuy and the community of Santa Maria has made a great impact on both sides of our coffee chain. You’ll no doubt be seeing many more updates on the progress of the mill and its inaugural use in this coming year’s harvest. In the meantime, fingers crossed, our fresh crop of La Armonia Hermosa will be here in a few weeks!!