When people hear someone order a decaf coffee they often respond with a groan, chuckle, or comment such as, " why bother" and "what a waste". This is really unfair as some people just can't take the caffeine. What makes this more unfair, is decaf coffees are often roasted with less care and craftsmanship than their caffeinated counterparts. Lets talk about decaf coffee and why these coffees can with some care be equally delicious and rich.
Firstly decaffeinated coffee is processed four different ways; the first two are through a chemical process involving Methylene Chloride or Ethyl Acetate. These two are the most common as they are the least expensive methods. Despite the scary chemical names attached to these methods, the coffee does not contain the chemicals in it after the decaffeination process.
The second two methods don't use chemicals but they are more expensive and less common. They are Swiss Water Method and Super Critical CO2. For our purposes we will focus on the Swiss Water Method as I have yet to find a Super C CO2 coffee to roast.
The Swiss Water Method is more expensive than the more common Methylene Chloride and Ethyl Acetate processes. It takes longer to process but if Organic Certification is important to you, it maintains its certification through the process.
Decaf coffee are more delicate and are less heat resistant than regular beans. This requires the roaster to take special care when roasting the beans. I prefer to use a lower charge temperature as to not scorch the beans. The crack is less pronounced, so it is important to monitor the roasting process more closely.
A lot of roasters will use the decaf beans to warm up the roaster and often rush through their beans to get to the regular roasts. I prefer the opposite. I like to roast the decaf beans at the end when the roaster is very stable and i can control the temperature more precisely.
Our decaf is a Peruvian Organic Swiss Water Method coffee. We choose it for its richness, suitability for both brew and espresso use, organic certification and Swiss Water Method Process. It has a rich nutty flavor that has a sweet finish and holds up well with milk. We found a corresponding regular coffee that has similar notes, so we named the duo "Santosha". Santosha is a great coffee to enjoy either regular or decaf and we hope that you will enjoy either version because just because you can't have caffeine, it doesn't mean that you can't have great coffee.