March 6, 2020
Is your household made up of regular and decaf coffee drinkers? Well, for maybe the first time ever we have the same coffee available in both forms – OrganicGrown without the use of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, etc.: Organic coffee has been grown according to organic farming techniques, typically without the use of artificial fertilizers. Some farms... ...more EthiopiaEthiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that coffee arabica grew wild. Coffee is "Bun" or "Buna" in Ethiopia, so... ...more Dry ProcessDry process coffee is a method for taking the fruit from the tree to an exportable green bean. The whole intact coffee cherry is dried in the sun... ...more Limu Kossa Farm. A rare opportunity to enjoy a single, single-origin together!
The title says “vs.”, but this is no competition. No, they don’t taste exactly the same. After all, one’s decaffeinated which will always have an effect on flavor. But I think you’ll agree that a lot of what makes this coffee unique in the first place can still be found in the decaf counterpart.
We knew from the get-go that Limu Kossa would present well as decaf and we were right. Dry Process coffees are often bold with fruitedIn some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don't exactly see... ...more flavors, which have a way of withstanding the decaffeination process. Both versions are fruited and sweet, big bodied and with the potential to build incredible chocolateA general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? Usually described with more specifics.: Chocolate is a broad, general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of... ...more flavors when taken beyond City+City+ roast is an ideal roast level that occurs roughly between 425 and 435 degrees Fahrenheit in many coffee roasters with a responsive bean probe where First Crack... ...more roast level. For these reasons it is also a great dual-use coffee, working quite well in both brew and espressoA small coffee beverage, about 20 ml, prepared on an espresso machine where pressurized hot water extracted through compressed coffee.: In its most stripped-down, basic form, this is... ...more applications.
For those not familiar with what exactly dry processingThe removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural... ...more is, it’s when the outer cherryEither a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.: Either a flavor in the coffee, or... ...more and coffee seed (bean) are dried together, whole. Unlike wet processing – where all the cherry is removed immediately – leaving the fruit intact during the drying phase tends to impart fruited cup qualities, boost bodyAssociated with and sensed by mouthfeel, body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, caused by the percentage of soluble solids in the cup, including all... ...more and soften acidityAcidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem... ...more. This is a fairly accurate description of this coffee from Limu Kossa Farm and the effects of dry processing are still tasted in the decaf.
The decaffeination process breaks down the cellular structure some, posing the risk of losing volatile cup flavors. Some of the harsher chemical processes of old (and current, actually) in particular yielded a coffee that tasted like cardboard when roasted light, bittering ash when roasted dark. In this way, it was a great equalizer of coffee cup qualities; no matter what went in, they all came out tasting the same!
The Swiss Water decaffeination process is chemical-free, using only water to remove 99.9% of the caffeineAn alkaloidal compound that has a physiological effect on humans, and a bittering taste. It is found throughout the coffee plant but is more concentrated in the seed... ...more. Their patented method is gentle on the coffee’s organic structure and leaves much of the volatile compounds that affect aromaAroma refers to sensations perceived by the olfactory bulb and conveyed to the brain; whether through the nose or "retro-nasally": The aromatics of a coffee greatly influence its... ...more and flavor intact. That’s why in the case of Limu Kossa, the fruited, sweet coffee we sent off to them came back a fruited and sweet decaf in return.
Roasting decafs can be a little tricky because of the dark color of the un-roasted beans. The old methylene chloride decafs we used to buy bore a chocolate brown hue, not too far removed from that of fully roasted coffee. Thankfully, the Swiss Water Process yields a bean that’s still on the green side, making it much easier to determine roast development by sight.
We’ve also found that Limu Kossa decaf lets off a fairly strong, audible ‘pop’ when entering the beginning of first crackFirst crack in one of two distinct heat-induced pyrolytic reactions in coffee. It is distinguished by a cracking or popping sound in the coffee, and occurs between 390... ...more, which helps. As a general rule, I like to pull my decaf roasts a few seconds before I might normally pull a non-decaf. For example, if for a City roastCity roast is what we define as the earliest palatable stage that the roast process can be stopped and result in good quality coffee. City roast occurs roughly... ...more target I normally stop the roasting process 2 minutes after 1st crackAn audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.: An audible... ...more starts, I will pull the decaf at 1:45. This is due in part to the loss of bean densityThe density of a coffee bean is often taken as a sign of quality, as a more dense bean will roast more with a better dynamic. The density... ...more during decaffeination, therefore, roast progression moves at a faster pace. It’s also the reason you’ll likely see oils rise to the surface of the bean no matter how light you roast the coffee (you can see a little bit in the photo above).
We’ve tried both coffees at several different roast levels and they both offer a broad range of flavors. For the decaf, I’d steer clear of Full City+ as the less dense bean tends to char when taken too far beyond Full City and you’re left with an ashyThe smell or taste of ash, such as an ashtray, cigarette smoke, or fireplace. Often a roast defect.: A quality in aroma or flavor similar to that of... ...more tasting coffee. But other than that, I’d say grab a bag of each and test your hand at replicating roast levels from one to the next. It’s an incredibly versatile coffee that stands out on its own and also makes a big impression when used in a blend. One coffee drinker in my household who’s been cutting back on caffeine is blending the decaf and regular in equal parts post roast. With Limu Kossa Farm, it’s hard to go wrong!
Order Limu Kossa Farm Decaf here (….or here for Coffee Shrub)
Order Limu Kossa Farm Regular here (….or here for Coffee Shrub)
Check out a short video from our visit last December here