Hand Roasted Decaf Coffee
Why drink decaf coffee?
There are several different ways to decaffeinate coffee without using harmful chemicals. The Swiss Water Method uses concepts of solubility and osmosis, which draws the caffeine out of the beans by passing them through carbon filters. This process is regularly audited to ensure it’s 99.9% caffeine free, and it’s also environmentally friendly.
The best decaf coffee is one that has been naturally decaffeinated before being freshly roasted to bring out the best flavours. Iron and Fire’s popular decaf coffees are naturally decaffeinated and roasted to ensure the natural flavours of the bean remain intact. Why compromise?
See our selection of best decaf coffee beans
The History of Decaf
Much of the history of decaf coffee is shared with that of regular coffee. While it is made from the same beans and collected in the same way, it is the processes later on in its life cycle that differentiate regular coffee from decaf. The difference in decaf lies in the caffeine content, something German physician Ludwig Roselius flagged as the reason behind his father’s death. This drove Roselius onto the path of discovering how to remove the caffeine from regular coffee beans to avoid the health implications. Purely by accident, he found that the caffeine content in beans that had been exposed to saltwater was far lower than those that hadn’t, this was the first step toward the discovery of decaf. Over the next couple of years, he began to flush coffee beans with water and different chemical solutions to create decaf coffee as we know it today.
What Are the Benefits of Decaf Coffee?
The main reason that people drink decaf versus regular coffee is due to the lack of – or reduced quantity of – caffeine in the beverage. While for some this takes away the entire purpose of coffee as a stimulant, quality decaf speciality beans that have been well roasted bring a superior flavour that rivals their fully caffeinated alternatives. For regular coffee drinkers, the high caffeine concentration might deter them from having a cup later on in the evenings at the risk of losing out on sleep, decaf looks to remedy this and provides an often-identical taste without the repercussions of being up all night.
Tips on How to Enjoy Decaf
As is the case with regular coffee, bean storage is key when it comes to producing that perfect cup. Cool, dry, and dark places are where beans should be kept and if you’re a frequent drinker you may wish to invest in airtight containers. Failing that, ensure your bag of coffee is tightly rolled up after use.
A big factor in the quality of decaf coffee is that of water. Different geographical areas have different water hardness and dissolved minerals meaning you’re never really going to get the same taste across locations. A basic carbon filter should increase your water quality for regular coffee drinkers, while some aficionados look to purchase bottled water specifically for decaf coffee.
Doe decaf coffee taste as good as caffeinated coffee?
Yes. Well roasted quality decaf certainly tastes as good as caffeinated coffee. In many documented blind tastings decaf can often win over its caffeinated counterpart. It is all about the quality of the bean and the roasting in order to ensure the flavours are brought out and not lost in the roasting process. Decaf is harder to roast so buy fresh roasted from a roaster who knows how to roast cares about quality decaf! Then you can enjoy an uncompromised brew that is truly delicious.
Poor tasting decaf is more likely with mass produced supermarket decaf or chain coffee shops where the flavours are lost.
Is decaf coffee as healthy as caffeinated coffee?
There are indications in studies that decaf is nearly as healthy as caffeinated. Studies lack big numbers but most of the data points towards decaf having similar health properties in terms of the polyphenols. The key is to source well roasted, quality decaf that will still contain the polyphenols. Industrialised methods in mass produced decaf along with poor roasting methods will kill off the beneficial polyphenols.
Does decaf go stale quicker?
Yes. Decaf is less dense so when it is roasted the oils come to the surface. This means it is more porous and can taste stale more quickly. This means decaf that is pre ground from the supermarket will not taste as fresh. For a fresh decaf, buy from a roaster who grinds to order, or even better, grind it at home prior to brewing. freshness is key!
How is coffee decaffeinated?
There are different methods but they all bind the caffeine into a solution without taking other elements out of the coffee. Decaffeination can be done with water or with super critical carbon dioxide or the ethal acetate process (known as the sugar cane method).
All methods are completely safe and done well sould have limited effect on taste!
Is there a coffee that is 100% decaffeinated?
Unfortunately not, decaffinating coffee will strip an extremely large portion of the caffeine content in coffee however not 100% remove it fully.
Decaffeination is carried out on coffee beans at the raw seed stage. It has to be 99.9% caffeine free at the end so it is a very effective process. A coffee that is grown with a naturally low caffeine content is a varietal known as Laurina, part of the Bourbon family and this typically contains around 0.3 to 0.5 % caffeine content as opposed to regular arabica varietals which usually sit around 1.5% +. However, this varietal is extremely rare and has recently sold at auction for a mind boggling $141 USD per pound!