Best Swiss Water Process Decaf Coffee

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Finding a great tasting decaffeinated coffee that has been produced using a safe and natural process is a tough ask.

Many people drink decaf coffee for health reasons which is very ironic or sad even when you read about the strong (and potentially dangerous) chemicals which are used to produce 70% of the world’s decaffeinated coffee.

But more on that later.

The good news is that there is a safer and more natural process of decaffeinating coffee beans, called the Swiss water process and there are some very high quality coffees that are produced using this method.

Before I start going into any more detail about the decaffeination process, let me show you some of the most popular Swiss water coffees.

NO FUN JO DECAF: 12 oz, Organic Decaf Coffee, Swiss Water Process, Fair Trade Certified, Medium Dark Roast, Whole Bean Arabica Coffee, Certified Organic, Chemical Free Gluten Free, Nice Decaf Espresso
Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
2LB Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Swiss Water Process Colombian Gourmet Coffee Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - 2 Pound ( 2 lb ) Bag
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Colombian Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2 Pound Bag
Brand
No Fun Jo Decaf
Kicking Horse
Cafe don Pablo
Fresh Roasted Coffee
Size
12 oz
10 oz
2 LB
2 LB
Roast
Medium Dark
Dark
Medium Dark
Medium
Whole Bean
100% Arabica
Fair Trade
Organic
Price
$11.99
$9.16
$19.99
$23.94
NO FUN JO DECAF: 12 oz, Organic Decaf Coffee, Swiss Water Process, Fair Trade Certified, Medium Dark Roast, Whole Bean Arabica Coffee, Certified Organic, Chemical Free Gluten Free, Nice Decaf Espresso
Brand
No Fun Jo Decaf
Size
12 oz
Roast
Medium Dark
Whole Bean
100% Arabica
Fair Trade
Organic
Price
$11.99
Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
Brand
Kicking Horse
Size
10 oz
Roast
Dark
Whole Bean
100% Arabica
Fair Trade
Organic
Price
$9.16
2LB Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Swiss Water Process Colombian Gourmet Coffee Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - 2 Pound ( 2 lb ) Bag
Brand
Cafe don Pablo
Size
2 LB
Roast
Medium Dark
Whole Bean
100% Arabica
Fair Trade
Organic
Price
$19.99
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Colombian Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2 Pound Bag
Brand
Fresh Roasted Coffee
Size
2 LB
Roast
Medium
Whole Bean
100% Arabica
Fair Trade
Organic
Price
$23.94

Did you know that the USA has the highest percentage of decaffeinated coffee drinkers in the world?

According to this study, 16% of coffee consumption in the USA is decaffeinated.

Whereas only 1% of Greeks, Fins and Norwegians drink decaf. Go figure.

But let’s take a look in more detail at the Swiss water process to find out why it is so great.

What is Swiss Water Decaf?

Swiss water decaffeination is a method of decaffeinating coffee beans.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t use Swiss water but the name is derived from the fact that it was invented and first used in Switzerland- and it only uses water.

It was first developed in 1933 but it wasn’t until 1979 that it was looked at as a commercial process and later still that it was used on a wide scale.

It is a multi step procedure that uses three main ingredients (green coffee beans, Green Coffee Extract (GCE) and water) and involves natural chemical reaction.

It is quite a hard process to describe in words and so it might be helpful to watch the video below.

Green coffee beans are cleaned and then placed in water. Green Coffee Extract (GCE) is then placed in with the beans.

In the solution, caffeine from the (caffeine rich) green coffee beans is naturally absorbed by the (caffeine poor) GCE.

When the caffeine levels are the same in the Green Coffee Beans and the GCE, the GCE has the caffeine taken out of it using carbon filters.

The caffeine free GCE is placed back in with the coffee beans.

More caffeine flows from the coffee beans to the GCE until the caffeine levels are equal.

The GCE is then decaffeinated using carbon filters before once again being reintroduced with the green coffee beans.

This whole cycle is repeated until the green coffee beans are 99.9% free of caffeine- a process that takes around ten hours.

Other methods of decaffeination

Just like the Swiss water method described above, all methods of decaffeination happen with green coffee beans and not roasted ones.

There are three other methods of decaffeination.

Two of these are traditional solvent based methods and a third non solvent method that uses CO2.

Decaffeination Using Solvents

First, the two solvent methods. It is thought that 70% of all the world’s coffee beans are decaffeinated using a solvent.

Solvent methods use chemical solvents to remove caffeine.

The most common solvents used are methylene chloride or ethyl acetate.

In the direct solvent method, green coffee beans are firstly steamed in order to open up their pores.

They are then rinsed for about ten hours in methylene chloride or ethyl acetate.

The chemical solution and the beans are then separated.

The beans are steamed to get rid of any chemical residue.

Sounds scary doesn’t it?

The other solvent method is an indirect approach.

In this green coffee beans are soaked in very very hot water for several hours.

The beans and water are then separated and the beans are washed in methylene chloride or ethyl acetate for several hours.

The solvent decaffeinates the beans.

After the solvent and water are separated the beans are then soaked in the original water in order to reabsorb some of the natural flavours and oils.

It might be indirect but it still sounds very scary…

Decaffeination using CO₂

This is the newest decaffeination method, which was stumbled upon by the German scientist Kurt Zosel in the late 1960s.

This process starts with green coffee beans being steamed.

These beans are then bathed in compressed CO₂ (which absorbs the caffeine.)

The caffeine is removed from the CO₂ using charcoal filters (which is the same approach as the Swiss water method.)

However, this approach is used in a very limited way commercially and one reason for this could be is that it doesn’t produce great tasting coffee.

Now that we have look at the four main methods of decaffeination, let’s have a look at some pros and cons.

Natural vs Solvent Based Decaffeination- Pros & Cons

The Swiss Water and CO₂ methods are more natural and don’t involve any harmful chemicals.

An advantage that the CO₂ method has over the Swiss water is that the beans are not soaked in any way which some people believe robs the beans of vital flavors.

I am not sure if any of the two chemical treatments have any advantages, apart from the fact that since the majority of decaffeinated beans are treated via chemicals, it must help to bring us cheaper coffee.

Cons
The solvent based methods use strong chemicals, which cannot be good for us or good for the planet.

Perhaps you could argue that the Swiss water method might be very water intensive but it does seem to produce better tasting beans that the CO₂ method and it is commercially much more successful.

No Fun Jo Decaf

Details

  • Size: 12 oz. 
  • Roast: Medium Dark
  • Grind: Whole Bean
  • Bean Type: 100% Arabica
  • Fairtrade: Yes
  • Organic: Yes

Description

The Jo coffee brand is an organic coffee brand which was created to respond to the growing demand on Amazon for top quality coffee.

The founder is Kevin Kapaun who has been roasting coffee since the 1990’s.

Made from the very best Arabica beans- only the top 2% of beans are ever used in No Fun Jo’s blends.

This blend is a medium dark roast which provides sweet blueberry and milk chocolate flavors.

This coffee is also certified organic and free trade.

Who Should Buy It?

This coffee is perfect for someone who wants to drink the highest quality decaf on the market.

Not only is the Swiss water method the most natural way to decaffeinate coffee beans but this coffee is certified organic and fair trade.

It would suit suit lovers of medium dark roasts who like a hint of chocolate in the taste of their coffee.

Lastly, this is a 12 oz. serving which is a relatively small bag. The person who buys this wants to drink some of the freshest tasting coffee available.


Kicking Horse Decaf

Details

  • Size: 12 oz. 
  • Roast: Medium Dark
  • Grind: Whole Bean
  • Bean Type: 100% Arabica
  • Fairtrade: Yes
  • Organic: Yes

Description

With a motto of “wake up and kick ass”, Kicking Horse coffee is proud of its Canadian roots.

This dark blend of coffee is a blend of Arabica beans from Indonesia and Central and South America.

Your coffee will taste of a little chocolate with a hint of pecan nut.

This is another coffee that is certified organic and fair trade.

Who Should Buy It?

Like No Fun Jo’s, Kicking Horse Decaf is for the most discerning and conscientious customer who is interested not only in drinking the finest tasting decaf coffee but who wants that coffee produced to the highest ethical standards.

And the combination of Swiss water process, certified organic and fair trade standards tell us that.

This is a dark roast which can be brewed using the French press, Drip machine, Pour over or Cold brew methods.

Coming in a bag which is the same size as No Fun Jo’s, this coffee will suit coffee lovers who like their coffee very fresh.

Cafe don Pablo

Details

  • Size: 2 LB | 32 oz. 
  • Roast: Medium Dark
  • Grind: Whole Bean
  • Bean Type: 100% Arabica
  • Fairtrade: No
  • Organic: No

Description

Don Pablo is a family owned coffee company that grow their own coffee in Colombia and manage the production of over a million coffee trees in South America.

This packet contains 100% Arabica beans of the finest quality, which have been decaffeinated using the Swiss water process.

These beans are ground in rich, volcanic soil and are a medium dark roast to provide tastes of caramel, chocolate with a hint of citrus.

They are roasted in small batches to preserve the unique flavors of the beans and the freshness of them.

Who Should Buy It?

This large packet of whole bean coffee would really suit people who are partial to roasts from South America.

This larger bag of beans might not suit an individual (unless they drink lots of coffee) but it would be an excellent choice in a small office full of coffee addicts who love drinking coffee that is great quality.

Fresh Roasted Coffee Colombian Decaf

Details

  • Size: 2 LB | 32 oz. 
  • Roast: Medium
  • Grind: Whole Bean
  • Bean Type: 100% Arabica
  • Fairtrade: No
  • Organic: No

Description

The Fresh Roasted Coffee company was formed only in 2009.

As well as providing the best tasting coffee, the company is committed to the best ecological and social practices in its coffee production.

This large packet of whole bean Colombian decaf coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans, all grown in one region in Colombia.

The beans have been medium roasted to provide a rich flavor with hints of honey and walnut.

Who Should Buy It?

This pack of coffee is a real must buy for lovers of single origin beans. And these beans have been grown in the Huila Region of Colombia.

Once again, the larger packet size suits work places where good quality coffee is made for groups of people.

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