Guatemala Decaf Coffee Beans
Finca Primavera- Swiss Water Process Decafenaited Whole Beans
After the first trial of Swiss Water decaffeinated coffees last year, this year we focussed on selecting classic and accessible coffees that hold up well through the decaffeination process. A good example is this La Primavera lot from Finca El Pacayalito, which we featured last year as well. A classic Guatemalan cup profile with predominant chocolate and hazelnut attributes and a creamy mouthfeel. The decaffeination brings down the acidity quite a bit, making this a smooth and highly drinkable coffee for caffeine-free moments.
Finca El Pacayalito
El Pacayalito lies in the San Miguel Pochuta town of the Chimaltenango department in central Guatemala. The region is blessed with a fertile volcanic soil. Thanks to the sub-tropical climate, the coffee fields receive plenty of rainfall while growing in a steady temperature range around 20 to 24°C. The large estate spans over 200 hectares on an altitude range from 1320 to 1600 meters above sea level. This La Primavera lot is a traditionally washed mixed variety lot of Bourbon, Catuai and Caturra.
Swiss Water Process Decaffeination
The company behind Swiss Water Process is Canadian – not Swiss, surprisingly. The technology itself pioneered in Switzerland though. Coffees decaffeinated through the Swiss Water Process are different in that the technology does not use any kind of chemical agent to extract caffeine from the beans. The decaffeination process relies on osmosis and solubility characteristics of coffee beans.
Green Coffee Extract
First, they created a liquid called Green Coffee Extract. They obtained this by soaking a batch of green coffee beans in a tank of hot water. The water takes out caffeine molecules, but also good flavor oils and other soluble components. A carbon filter then filters this water. Due to the porosity of the filter, it only traps caffeine molecules. The result of this is a flavourful and caffeine-free liquid, super-saturated with coffee solubles on one side, and flavorless, caffeine-free green coffee beans on the other side. This batch of beans is useless and is discarded. What remains is the Green Coffee Extract (GCE). With this extract, the real decaffeination can begin!
Next, a fresh batch of green coffee beans is soaked in this GCE. Because it is already completely saturated with coffee solubles (flavor molecules and oils), the GCE does not extract any flavor from the new batch of beans. It will only remove the caffeine molecules. The GCE now contains the caffeine from the beans. The carbon filters in the system trap and retain the caffeine molecules in the liquid. These filters refresh the GCE, which is now free from caffeine as well. It flows back into the batch of coffee to extract more caffeine. This GCE flows continuously until the beans are 99.9% caffeine-free. The entire process takes 8 to 10 hours.
Since the Swiss Water Process does not use any chemicals for decaffeination, this type of decaf coffees can have organic certification. This assures you even more of the coffee’s cleanliness!