Our single origin Honduran Swiss Water Decaf coffee is perfect for those who love a rich, nutty beverage without the kick of caffeine. With its mellow body and notes of chocolate and praline, this is a deeply satisfying drink.
To ensure product quality, manufacturers are required to test decaffeinated coffee beans to make sure that caffeine concentration is relatively low. Many coffee companies choose to employ high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to quantitatively measure how much caffeine remains in the coffee beans. However, this can be quite costly so some coffee companies are beginning to use other methods such as near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy.
Although HPLC is highly accurate, NIR spectroscopy is much faster, cheaper, and overall easier to use. Another method typically used to quantify caffeine is ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy, which is often best for decaffeination processes that include supercritical CO² as CO² does not absorb wavelengths within this range.
The Swiss Water Decaf process is an effective method for the removal of caffeine from coffee. This process uses no organic solvents. Instead, only water is used to decaffeinate beans, a technique first developed in Switzerland in 1933 and commercialised by Coffex S.A. in 1980.
The Swiss Water process involves soaking green coffee beans in hot water and then filtering the extract through activated charcoal filters to remove the caffeine. Fresh beans containing both caffeine and the other components are added to this Green Coffee Extract (GCE) solution. The pressure gradient between the GCE and the caffeine-rich green coffee causes the caffeine molecules to migrate from the green coffee into the GCE. Because GCE is saturated with the other water-soluble components of green coffee, only the caffeine molecules migrate to the GCE.
The GCE solution is then passed through the carbon filters again remove the added caffeine and the process is repeated over 8–10 hours until the residual decaffeinated target has been met.