Decaf coffee has come a long way from its early days when it was infamous for its harsh taste due to the use of chemical processes during decaffeination. Over time, there has been a remarkable transformation in the decaffeination methods employed, resulting in a much-improved flavor profile. At Radical Roasters, we take pride in offering a decaf coffee that not only promises a delightful taste but is also a product of sustainable and innovative practices.
The Not-So-Sweet History of Decaf Coffee
Historically, decaf coffee was often decaffeinated using harsh chemicals. While these methods effectively removed caffeine from the beans, they left behind an undesirable aftertaste, often described as bitter or medicinal. As a result, decaf coffee earned a reputation for being a compromise on flavor.
Decaf Revolution: Sugar Cane Decaffeination
Enter a new era of decaf coffee—enter the Sugar Cane Decaffeinated coffee proudly offered by Radical Roasters. Our decaf coffee beans are grown at altitudes ranging from 1700 to 2000 meters above sea level by selected smallholder farmers in Popayan, Cauca, Colombia. The beans, predominantly Castillo and Variedad Colombia varietals, undergo a unique decaffeination process using sugar cane.
Harvesting and Selection:
- The process begins with the harvesting of ripe coffee cherries. The coffee beans are then separated from the cherries.
Soaking in Water:
- The green coffee beans are soaked in water to open their pores and prepare them for the decaffeination process. This step is known as the "pre-wetting" stage.
Ethyl Acetate Extraction (Derived from Sugar Cane):
- Ethyl acetate, a natural compound derived from sugar cane, is used as a solvent in this decaffeination process. The ethyl acetate is applied to the pre-wetted coffee beans.
- Ethyl acetate selectively bonds with caffeine molecules on the surface of the coffee beans. This forms a compound that can be easily separated, carrying the caffeine away from the beans.
Filtering and Washing:
- The coffee beans are then thoroughly washed and filtered to remove any remaining traces of ethyl acetate and extracted caffeine.
- The decaffeinated coffee beans are dried to the appropriate moisture content, ensuring they are ready for roasting.
- The decaffeinated beans undergo the roasting process, where they develop their flavor profiles. The roasting time and temperature are carefully controlled to maintain the quality and taste of the coffee.
- The decaffeinated coffee is subjected to rigorous quality control measures to ensure that the flavor, aroma, and overall characteristics meet the desired standards.
The sugar cane decaffeination process is well-regarded for several reasons:
Solvent-Free: Unlike traditional decaffeination methods that use chemical solvents like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate derived from other sources, sugar cane decaffeination uses a solvent derived from sugar cane.
Natural and Environmentally Friendly: Sugar cane is a renewable resource, making the process more sustainable. Additionally, the use of ethyl acetate derived from sugar cane aligns with environmentally conscious practices.
Mild Flavor Impact: The sugar cane decaffeination process is known for preserving the natural flavors of the coffee beans more effectively than some other decaffeination methods, resulting in a coffee with a closer taste profile to its caffeinated counterpart.
Grown with Care: Popayan, Cauca
The coffee from Radical Roasters is sourced from selected smallholder farmers in Popayan, Cauca. This region, with its altitude ranging from 1700 to 2000 meters above sea level, provides the ideal conditions for cultivating high-quality coffee beans. The careful selection of farms ensures not only exceptional flavor but also a commitment to supporting local communities.
A Symphony of Flavors
Our Decaf coffee presents a flavor profile that stands shoulder to shoulder with its caffeinated counterparts. Experience the smooth embrace of milk chocolate notes, complemented by a honey sweetness that dances on your palate. As you savor each sip, you'll notice subtle hints of vanilla and a touch of orange acidity, creating a symphony of flavors that defy the stereotypes of decaf coffee.
The Radical Difference
At Radical Roasters, we believe in offering not just a product but an experience. Our commitment to quality, sustainability, and innovative practices shines through in every cup. By choosing our Sugar Cane Decaffeinated coffee, you're not just enjoying a delicious brew; you're participating in a movement that has redefined decaf coffee from a compromise to a connoisseur's choice.
In conclusion, the journey of decaf coffee has undergone a complete transformation. From the days of manmade, chemical-laden processes that left a bitter taste, we have emerged into an era where decaf coffee can be a delight to the senses. Embrace the flavorful revolution and try our decaf today!