Truly delicious caffeine-free coffee? Is that even possible? It is! The time of tasteless, stuffy beans is over thanks to a special process through which caffeine is extracted from coffee. Spoiler alert: er is alleen water, warmte en een beetje geduld bij nodig.
Oke, it's a little bit of a “don’t try this at home” process that has to be managed precisely. There are various ways to extract caffeine from coffee. We'll tell you about the process that involves the least chemicals: the Swiss Water® process, also used to decaffeinate our own coffees.
In short, the method is based on the solubility of caffeine by way of osmosis in water. It happens directly after the beans are picked, when they are fresh and green. Coffee roasters do not make the beans caffeine-free themselves. In this article, we will explain in 5 steps how caffeine-free coffee is created through this process. If the lingo is too confusing, just watch the video below.
What is caffeine?
To be able to follow the steps in the process, we have to learn a little bit about the chemical structure of caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that is found in a number of plants, like the tea, coffee, and cocoa plant. Alkaloids are organic compounds that have a least one nitrogen atom and have an effect on humans and other organisms. Caffeine is stimulating to most people. For plants, caffeine is a repellent that keeps unwanted animals and pests at a distance. Other alkaloids include quinine (the bitter substance in your glass of tonic), morphine, and nicotine.
Step 1: soaking the beans
To make caffeine-free coffee, green, clean beans are soaked in hot water directly after picking. This way, the caffeine and other chemical components find their way into the water. The tasty substances in the coffee bean also end up in the water. The caffeine is extracted from the bean in about 10 hours.
Step 2: cleansing with carbon filter
The water is now put through a reusable carbon filter. The nitrogen molecule in caffeine is relatively large, causing the caffeine to hang in the filter. The captured caffeine can not be reused and resold, making this method relatively expensive.
Step 3: another soak
The beans go back in the water (which is now coffee-flavored). They're soaked in the filtered coffee water without the caffeine molecules. This lasts about 8 to 10 hours after which the coffee is 99,9% caffeine-free and has recaptured the original taste.
Step 4: drying and packaging the coffee
After the final soak, the beans are carefully dried. Every coffee variety is separately soaked an dried, ensuring the unique aroma of each coffee's origin is preserved. Then the beans are packaged in a protected atmosphere. This way, they'll be usable for at least two years (this goes for all coffee varieties before they are transported).
Step 5: roasting and tasting
In our micro roastery in Rotterdam-West, beans are freshly roasted every week. The coffee's flavor profile is largely the result of the roaster's style. Evermore ensures that its beans are not roasted too swiftly and definitely not too darkly. After every new batch, the coffee is cupped after roasting to spot any possible defect and to gauge the ideal roasting profile. We often experiment with different brewing methods.
Coffee that is naturally low in caffeine
There is such a thing as coffee that is naturally very low in caffeine. These plants are vulnerable and the cultivator must go to great lengths to protect it from pests and plagues. A naturally low-caffeine arabica variety is the Laurina Pointed. We sell this variety upon request and roast it to order.
DECAF: Mexico Coffee Beans BIO€8,00 – €24,75