In our experience, specialty coffee roasters sometimes treat decaffeinated coffee as an afterthought. Google decaf coffee memes and you're bound to find plenty of evidence to back up this claim - "Death before decaf," "Decaf: Brown Sadness Water," "There's a time and a place for decaf: Never and in the trash."
As funny as these might be, it's no wonder most decaffeinated coffees are terrible - the people who roast them don't care about them! While we're usually as caffeinated as most everyone else, we tend to think that decaffeinated coffee does have a time and place and is an important offering to get right. That's why FreeForm decaf is anything but an afterthought, but something we actually put a good deal of thought into.
Our latest single origin decaf offering is the result of a months-long sampling of decaffeinated coffees, and we're truly excited to present Decaf Colombia Sugarcane.
In previous years, we have sourced a smooth and nutty decaffeinated Brazil for our Decaf offering, and we've received a lot of great feedback from Decaf drinkers and cafes who have served our Decaf. This time, however, we wanted to shake things up a bit and bring in something with a bit more "punch" that could stand up to milk-based drinks while also offering a full-spectrum coffee flavor experience brewed as black coffee.
We only source decaffeinated coffee that uses all-natural decaffeination technique - no chemicals allowed in our coffee. Typically that means Swiss Water™️ or Mountain Water™️ Process, where coffee beans are washed and rewashed with a mixture of water and caffeine extract to bind to the caffeine molecules and draw them from the bean. This produces a decaffeinated coffee that is 99.9% caffeine free.
We still love water processed decafs, but this time around we tried something different - Sugarcane Process Decaf. Just as it sounds, this decaffeination process uses sugarcane juice to decaffeinate the coffee, or more specifically Ethyl Acetate derived from sugarcane juice.
Don't let the chemistry lab sounding name throw you off, this is a 100% naturally occurring compound in many fruits and vegetables, including coffee cherries. Ethyl Acetate, or EA for short, is an extract that, when isolated from sugarcane by means of aerobic fermentation acts as a solvent that specifically targets caffeine in coffee and removes it. Better yet, the process uses far less water and the EA can be reused many times, thus eliminating wasteful use of our increasingly precious resource - water.
As a result, we find that more of the character of the original coffee remains intact, and as a bonus, there seems to be (whether imagined or not) a hint of residual sweetness to the coffee due to the sugarcane juice.
We are roasting Decaf Colombia Sugarcane at a medium roast level to please the majority of palates, which results in a nice creamy body and notes of unrefined sugar, chocolate, and dried fruit.
Producer: Various small farmers
Varieties: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Elevation: 1400-1700 meters above sea level
Decaffeination: Sugarcane Process