How is coffee decaffeinated - chemical free and delicious.
Removing caffeine, the Swiss Water way
Coffee beans consist of soluble compounds including caffeine. Only solubles can be dissolved by water. When green coffee beans are immersed in water which is already packed with solubles however deficient of caffeine, the caffeine moves from the coffee bean into the super-charged water. The result - coffee beans without caffeine.
Here is a bit more detail …
Ever wondered how the caffeine is removed from coffee beans? We are fans of the Swiss Water decaf process as it is 100% chemical free, environmentally friendly and keeps the beans tasty.
The Swiss Water decaffeination process has been around since the early 1980’s, when a group of German scientists in Schaffhausen, a Swiss town on the border of Germany, started looking for new ways to decaffeinate coffee without the use of chemicals. The process they invented only uses coffee, water, time and temperature to decaffeinate the coffee. That’s 100% chemical free! These days Swiss Water resides in Vancouver, Canada, using the high quality water from the Pacific Northwest to decaffeinate coffee from across the globe for consumers around the world!
Green Coffee Extract (GCE) – The clever elixir
Now, the biggest challenge in removing caffeine without removing the other tasty soluble compounds. The Swiss Water process uses a clever ingredient - the caffeine deficient green coffee extract concentrate called GCE.
This is where the GCE comes in.
GCE is created by soaking green coffee beans in very hot water. The soluble compounds (including caffeine) are now dissolved in the water. The water is then passed through a carbon filter. The larger caffeine molecules are caught by the filter and the other soluble compounds passed through the filter. The filtered water with the soluble compounds excluding the caffeine is called green coffee extract concentrate. The batch of green beans which was used to generate the GCE is disgarded and the GCE is used for the decaf process for a fresh batch of green coffee beans.
4 steps to remove caffeine from the coffee bean
- We start with fresh green coffee beans containing all its soluble compounds. These coffee beans are placed in the water which contains the GCE.
- Remember the GCE is water saturated with soluble compounds of coffee beans created from a previous extraction (minus the caffeine soluble). Now, there is an imbalance between the solubles in the coffee beans which include the caffeine and the GCE water which contains all the solubles except for caffeine. To create an equilibrium, the caffeine from the coffee beans slowly migrate (leach) into the GCE water until the caffeine in the coffee bean water and in the GCE water are in balance. Other soluble compounds in the coffee bean remain in the coffee, as they are already found in the saturated GCE water. Now that’s clever. So the result is decaffeination without loss of flavours.
- After the caffeine leaches from the coffee beans into the GCE water, it is passed through carbon filters to trap the larger caffeine molecules. This process is repeated using freshly flushed GCE until the caffeine is removed.
- This decaffeination process takes some hours but in the end the decaffeinated coffee maintains its original flavour characteristics, simply without its caffeine and is completely chemical free.
Does the decaffeinated coffee contain any caffeine?
99.9% of the caffeine are removed throughout the Swiss Water decaffeination process!
The result: amazing coffees without the caffeine. Try our delicious decaf coffee beans - Swiss Water decaffeinated Mexican organic coffee.