Swiss Water Decaf - Colombian ExcelsoColombia
About the coffee
Swiss Water® Process uses the elements of water, temperature and time to create some of the most intriguing decaf coffee. First, they start with small batches of amazing coffee and green coffee extract. Then they add local water and a dash of loving attention by monitoring time and temperature until the coffee is 99.9% caffeine-free, whilst protecting the unique origin characteristics and flavour and remaining 100% caffeine free!
This Excelso bean is smaller than it's sister the Supremo grade, but it packs a sweeter punch and has a deep body,which is characteristically smooth and mellow, with a slight caramel flavour note and pleasant acidity. The SWISS WATER® Process is a taste-driven and really enhances the original and natural flavour of this roast.
There is a new dawn occurring on the popularity of Swiss Water Decaf, as it is the ideal choice for coffee lovers for many reasons, e.g, pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised to limit their intake, while many find that caffeine disrupts sleep or can make some people more anxious, or for some people who enjoy simply drinking lots of coffee, but without the usual after effects.
About the growers
Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America and the only country in the region to have both Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The highland area which runs down the central-western part of the country is made up of three mountain ranges that form into the single Andean range in the south. To the east, and comprising almost half the landmass, is a vast area of flat plain-land and Amazon jungle. Colombia has been persistently disrupted by political violence for decades, funded in recent years by huge illicit revenue gained from drug trafficking. Oil and agriculture (including coffee) form the basis for legitimate export revenue.
Colombia is a country of great diversity, both geographically, culturally, and linguistically – it boasts over 68 ethnic languages as well as Spanish and even English in one of the archipelagos. Its land stretches from the Amazon Rainforest to the highlands of the Andes mountains, and was once the worlds largest producer of washed coffees, from three main geographical areas trisected by the Andes mountain range. This leads to two key harvest times in the country, with fresh coffee available all year. The varietals and farmers will change throughout the year, the work being done by the mills and our QC lab to ensure consistency in the cup.
When ripe, the coffee cherries are picked and go through an initial flotation sorting to remove underripes, sticks, and general debris before passing through a pulping machine and working their way down the washing channels to the fermentation tanks. Here, they will sit for typically 8-14 hours, before moving to the drying patios or guardiolas for controlled drying down to 10-12% moisture. Typically in Colombia, this is carried out on the farm, with processed cherries then being taken to a dry mill for careful grading, tasting, and blending. The coffee is stored in parchment until ready for export, when it is hulled at the dry mill and bagged for shipping. Bean sizes 15-16 are graded as Excelso.
Once picked, beans are shipped to our friends at Swiss Water Decaf in Vancouver, Canada, where they undergo soaking in fresh water ready to remove the caffeine. Swiss Water® is the innovative craft of using pure water to gently remove caffeine. The 100% chemical free process decaffeinates coffee in small batches.
This process involves an internally developed Green Coffee Extract (GCE) which is introduced to the beans and caffeine removal begins. Caffeine ventures out on its own, away from the coffee beans into the GCE until the ratio of soluble compounds in the GCE to the compounds in the coffee reach the point of equilibrium. Caffeine and GCE flow continuously through their proprietary carbon filters until all the caffeine is trapped and separated from the GCE. Then the GCE is refreshed so that it can be used again and again to remove more caffeine. For 10 hours the coffee is monitored for temperature, flow rate and caffeine before it finally becomes 99.9% caffeine free.
Growing Altitude: 1300 masl
Arabica Variety: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia, Typica
Harvest Period: December-April
Milling Process: Fully washed, sun dried
Flavour: Apple, Caramel, Lemon
Cupping Score: 81.5
- Sweet, with soft lemon and apple acidity over creamy chocolate and caramel.
- Aroma: Lively, dynamic, citrus-flower
- Body: Light body, mild intensity
- Flavour: Sugar Sweet
- Acidity: Clear and Bright
- Swiss water processed producing a lively and dynamic coffee, without the caffeine!
Select the grind type to fit your way of making coffee. To learn more about the different processes visit our Brew Guides.
Below are four of the most popular decaf processing methods. Swiss Water method, MC method, C02 method and the Sugarcane EA process.
The Swiss Water process is an organic, 100% chemical-free option for decaffeination. It was discovered in the 1930s in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and is commercialised by the Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company Inc, founded in 1988.
This method does not require the addition of chemicals, instead relying on a super saturated green coffee solution called Green Coffee Extract (GCE).
To decaffeinate coffee, fresh GCE is introduced to a batch of green coffee. As the GCE is already saturated with all the water-soluble compounds found in green coffee, minus the caffeine, the matching molecules won’t diffuse out of the coffee beans—but the caffeine will. The flavour is retained in the beans while the caffeine is removed.
Thanks to some scientific smarts and creativity, it’s possible to have decaf coffee that tastes the same – just without the caffeine!