Sometimes, you just don’t want that caffeine in your body. Nowadays, there are many options for decaffeinated coffees. Most decaffeination methods use water and a chemical agent like methylene chloride, activated charcoal, CO2or ethyl acetate to extract caffeine from the green beans. When the idea of chemicals in the caffeine extraction process doesn’t sound appealing either, Swiss Water Process decaffeinated coffees are the answer!
32cup Europe started a collaboration with Swiss Water in 2016. Now, the first container of these chemical-free and caffeine-free coffees are available from our Antwerp warehouse.
Swiss Water Process decaf
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.
First, they created a liquid called Green Coffee Extract. This was created by soaking a batch of green coffee beans in a tank of hot water. The water takes out caffeine molecules, but also good flavour 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 flavourless, 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 (flavour molecules and oils), the GCE does not extract any flavour 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. The GCE gets refreshed and 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 tot 10 hours.
Sustainable production – with organic certification
Swiss Water Process are widely popular for keeping their flavour after the decaffeination process. At the same time, no traces of chemicals stay in the beans. Since the process does not use any chemicals, this type of coffees can have organic certification. The coffees with this label are sustainably produced in origin following organic production standards. Next, they go to Canada for decaf processing.
Available from Antwerp
You can get your SWP decaf coffees from our warehouse in Antwerp. Currently, we have coffees from nine different origins. We also have two pre-blended lots for espresso roasts, to make your life a lot easier! The coffees from Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Indonesia have organic and fairtrade certification. Contact us to find out more, or read through the traceability profiles on the Our Coffees page.