Getting a Good Decaf

Justin Kagan, roastmaster at Deep Cello, often says that it is hard to find good decaf green coffee. The same process that withdraws the caffeine also damages subtle flavor chemistry in the coffee bean. Justin’s favorite method is “Mexican Water Process,” which seems to be aclone of Swiss Water process (SWP).  In SWP, the beans are soaked in water, then the slurry that remains after the soaking is decaffeinated with a carbon filter, and that water is used to soak *new* beans that then give up their caffeine as they soak in the filtered slurry water.  The process repeats until the desired level is reached.

The process, while very kind to the beans, makes the beans roast morequickly, and makes them more vulnerable to oil release and other signs of over-roasting. Sweet Maria’s recommends deciding they are done by aroma and the “cracks’ than by temperature, which is what Justin does atDeep Cello anyway. “You have to see what the coffee is doing that particular day,” say Justin.

In 2004, the coffee world went wild with the announcement of a coffeeplant that produced theobromine instead of caffeine.  Theobromine you might know is the active ingredient in chocolate. The plant, from Camaroon, is being intraspecies hybridized, in Brazil (we think), to make it commercially stable. There is a gene sequence missing that prevents the plant from converting the theo to caffeine. They’ve been working six years to make it ready for prime time. The discoverers have also trademarked the name “Decafitto.”

Our latest decaf, under the Black Tie™ Decaf label, is so yummy. Evocative of dried blueberries, blackberries, and peat, its super yum (for a decaf). Since we drink so much coffee at Deep Cello, we’ve switched to decaf mostly; and we are super glad that we have Black Tie Decaf!

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