What is Decaf Coffee?

The coffee without the caffeine kick! You may be wondering, “why drink decaf coffee?” Many people prefer to make the swap for health reasons, such as being pregnant or those who suffer with anxiety or insomnia... some simply switch to decaf in the afternoon.

But let's talk about how decaf coffee is made... there are a few techniques and processes that can withdraw the caffeine from the coffee bean to make your brew decaffeinated. 

It's important to note that decaf coffee does not mean that your brew is exclusively caffeine free, it just contains a considerably low percentage of caffeine, similar to alcohol free tipples. 

So how is coffee decaffeinated?

There are 3 very different techniques used to make decaf coffee. Each decaffeination process begins when the beans are green, prior to the coffee beans being roasted.

The water method

The Swiss Water Decaffeination Process is a natural method that is 100% chemical-free. There are 3 elements of the Swiss Water decaffeination process: water, temperature and time. Small batches of green beans are placed into a pure water solution for 12 hours, ensuring that 99.9% of caffeine is drawn from the coffee beans. 

Speciality coffee is processed in small batches right from the start of the coffee beans journey, ensuring to maintain the unique flavours. So from decaffeination to being roasted at Edgcumbes, your Swiss Water decaf coffee beans have been carefully cared for.

Ready for the best bit? The Swiss Water method is the most environmentally friendly method of decaffeination. 

So, how can you be sure that your decaf coffee is processed using the Swiss Water method? It will be certified! Check your label, as this will always be clearly identified as ‘Swiss Water Decaf’ as you’ll see on our packaging too.

The chemical method

The chemical decaffeination process is one of the oldest methods that is still predominantly used today. There are two types of chemical methods used to make your coffee decaf: ‘direct-solvent process’ and ‘indirect-solvent process’. However, both methods use a chemical based solution to withdraw the caffeine from the coffee bean. 

This method of decaffeination is highly effective. So, what is the catch? The intense chemicals used to wash and rinse the coffee beans affect the flavour notes and quality. Therefore, compromising the taste of your decaf brew – that’s why we’ll always choose a natural decaf coffee bean for our range!

The CO2 method

The CO2 decaf method is also known as ‘Liquid Carbon Dioxide Method’ and ‘Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method’. You’d be surprised to know that this decaf process does not require green beans to be placed into a solution for a prolonged period of time. Developed by scientist, Kurt Zosel, the CO2 method is the most unique and technical process of decaffeinating coffee. 

Intrigued? Let us explain. Green beans are soaked in water and placed into an Extraction Vessel, which is essentially just a sealed stainless steel box. The coffee is then blasted with liquid CO2. Extreme pressures of around 1,000 pounds per square inch is forced into the container to extract the caffeine. 

Ready for the science? CO2 acts selectively on the caffeine components only. That means the taste and quality of the coffee bean is not compromised - pretty cool, right? 

So there you have it. Now you know how your coffee is decaffeinated. Learnt something new? Hopefully, you can now make an informed decision when shopping for your decaf coffee. 

Take a look at our our range of freshly roasted speciality decaf coffees – and remember, EDGE Coffee subscriptions get 10% off RRP every time.

Enjoy coffee lovers!