Deep Dive

Swiss Water Decaf

Swiss Water Decaf is the choice for many coffee roasters to create a smooth, unaffected decaf. The process is beloved for not using any chemicals or imparting any flavours onto the coffee. Here is a deep dive into how the process works featuring Mike Strumpf, the Director of Coffee at Swiss Water.
“What I appreciate most about our process is that we aim to maintain the profile of the coffee before decaffeination. Some decaffeination methods tend to add flavours to the coffee, but our target is to have no change at all. This allows us to have decaffeinated coffees from all around the world that taste unique and distinct.”
STEP 1: A Green Coffee Extract (GCE) is created by soaking beans in water. This is the decaffeination solvent that consists of all the naturally occurring soluble solids from coffee, minus the caffeine.
STEP 2: Before the decaffeination process, the beans are rehydrated. This also removed dust, dirt, and silverskin.
STEP 3: The GCE is circulated around the green coffee for 8-10 hours. This process removes 99.9% of the caffeine. The caffeine is then removed from the GCE using a carbon filter system and sent to a regeneration furnace to burn the caffeine.
STEP 4: During the decaffeination process, the GCE is refreshed and renewed to ensure it is operating at its best.
STEP 5: Once 99.9% of the caffeine is removed, the coffee is dried, bagged and shipped to the roasters.
“At Swiss Water, we just pay attention to the coffee and not to caffeine. Most ‘decaffeinators’ will have an operation where they process the caffeine that was removed during decaffeination, refining the caffeine into a by-product to sell. We don’t process and re-sell our caffeine, so all we focus on are the beans.”