An in depth discussion of the decaffeination process and how it affects green coffee.
This podcast episode is a recording of a Zoom discussion Tom and I (Dan) had with Mike Strumpf of Swiss Water Decaf a couple weeks back. Swiss Water Decaf are a decaffeination plant in Vancouver, Canada known for their patented chemical-free water extraction process that produces 99.9% caffeine free coffee.
We were drawn to them early on for a couple of reasons beyond their claim of a “chemical free” processing. For one, they were open to processing smaller batches than most other plants, and welcomed the challenge of processing high quality coffees. This opened up a whole new world for us of what was possible for decaf. But most importantly, the decafs they return to us taste good, retaining some of the cup characteristics of the coffee we send. This fact alone has always justified the cost and is why we’ve done our best to carry mostly Swiss Water decafs on our list.
The purpose of this conversation wasn’t so much to learn about the Swiss Water process specifically (though we do cover that, and you can read our FAQ on Swiss Water HERE), but more so we could gain a better understanding of the impact decaffeination has on green coffee generally. Spoiler alert: it’s a bit of a rough road, but some processes are gentler than others.
Mike’s worn many hats at Swiss Water, and is currently the Director of Coffee. He has a background in Science, coffee education and training, and is an all around great person with an incredibly warm sense of humor. For these reasons, we knew he was the perfect person to answer our questions about the decaffeination process, and explain some of the technical details in a very digestible way. We were right!
Here’s the podcast episode.