swiss water decafeination process
There are about 10% of coffee lovers who would like to enjoy a good cup of coffee without the stimulating effect of caffeine and we at Caer Urfa coffee sell as whole beans or ground a fine decaffeinated Colombian coffee. We are often asked how these beans are decaffeinated as people seeking the health benefits of drinking caffeine free coffee do not want these outweighed by the residue of chemicals left by some of the processes used to remove the caffeine.
Our coffee is decaffeinated by the Swiss Water Process. This is a non-solvent method for decaffeinating unroasted coffee beans. It was introduced by Coffex in 1979, and was, at that time, the only commercial decaffeination method that did not use solvents. In 1988 the Swiss Water Method was finally introduced to the market and its facility is based near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This decaffeination facility is the only facility in the world certified organic by both OCIA and Aurora Certified Organic. In addition, they are also certified Kosher by the Kosher Overseers Association.
The challenge is to try to separate only the caffeine from the coffee beans while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations. Not an easy job as coffee contains somewhere around 1,000 chemicals that are important to the taste and aroma of this wonderfully complex elixir.
The Swiss Water Process relies on two concepts, solubility and osmosis, to decaffeinate coffee beans. It begins by soaking a batch of beans in very hot water in order to dissolve the caffeine. The water is then drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter. The porosity of this filter is sized to only capture larger caffeine molecules, while allowing smaller oil and flavour molecules to pass through it.
Consequently we end up with beans with no caffeine and no flavour in one tank, and caffeine-free “flavour charged” water (aka “Green Coffee Extract”) in another tank. The flavourless caffeine-free beans are discarded, but the flavour rich water is reused to remove the caffeine from a fresh batch of coffee beans. Since this water already is saturated with flavour ingredients the flavours in this fresh batch can’t dissolve; only caffeine moves from the coffee beans to the water. So the result is decaffeination without a massive loss of flavour.