Just because you’re going for Decaf doesn’t mean it has to be dull, oh no. In fact, we make sure we work without sleep (no caffeine allowed) to make sure these beans are just as brilliant.
More Info from the farm:
Varietal: Caturra + Bourbon
Altitude: 1800 MASL
El Rincon is a 25 hectare farm situated in the corner of a valley of limestone hills, protected from warm, dry winds and climate fluctuations. The climate is very stable with high relative humidity, which, along with the chalky soils of Huehuetenango define the cup character of this farm. Roberto Molina was the cousin of Jorge Vides the first owner of Finca La Bolsa, and they bought and established the farms around the same time. Roberto passed away in 2009 and his widow Yolanda Galindo is now taking care of the farm. The farm is now run by Renardo Ovalle, who has transformed the production towards quality focussed microlots. Many of the plants are old bourbon and caturra trees from the early years of the farm, but the farm manager is in the process of planting new bourbon and caturra plants, along with other exotic varietals.
Coffee is fermented dry in tiled tanks for 18-24 hours, before being washed and graded in channels. After the mucilage has been washed off, the coffee is soaked overnight in clean water. This step is more common in African processing, and is rare in Guatemala, but adds to the unique cup profile of this farm.
The process is outlined below:
The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile. After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.
There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:
The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees. The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.