May 25, 2007, Newsletter Issue #110: The Organic Coffee Process

Tip of the Week

To be labeled organic, a coffee must meet some strict requirement. One of those requirements is that chemicals are not used to strip away the caffeine. Instead, organic beans are water processed to remove the caffeine. And there are two methods of water processing.

One method of decaffeination is called the Swiss WaterŪ Process .

In the Swiss Water Process, the green beans are soaked in hot water to remove the caffeine as well as many of the compounds responsible for much of the flavor of the coffee.

The first batch of beans is thrown away and the caffeine is stripped from the solution by carbon filters. What remains is a water solution saturated with flavor compounds in which a new batch of beans will soaked.

The next batch of beans is soaked in water, partially saturated with coffee solids in preparation for caffeine extraction. Next, the beans are immersed in flavor charged water and the caffeine is diffused from the beans into the water.

Since the concentration of flavor compounds in the bean and water are equal, the caffeine is removed, leaving flavors in tact. The flavor-charged water is then recycled to the start of the process for the next batch of beans.

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