For the last few days (and even some nights) I've been brewing Relevant Roasters' Swiss Water Process Decaf Ethiopia coffee (whatisrelevant.com). I was originally very skeptical of the potential for loss of flavor/origin characteristics ...
in the decaffeination process; having researched the process, I'm still not 100% that the majority of the original profile is maintained. However, Swiss Water (swisswater.com), one of the few (possibly the only) specialty coffee decaffeinating companies out there today, thrives on its claim that its process removes 99.9% of caffeine from processed coffees. I did drink an Aeropress of Relevant's SW-processed Ethiopia late in the afternoon and was surprised that I was able to sleep as normally as usual.
A few people have commented asking how the Swiss Water process works. My best recommendation would be to head over to swisswater.com; they have a video that will interest you, whether or not it contains all of the information you could want. Here's a passage from their website that attempts to clear it up:
"Our internally developed Green Coffee Extract (GCE) is introduced to the beans and caffeine removal begins. Caffeine ventures out on it's 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 our 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."
So it seems that the mixture of green coffee extract into the coffee beans causes caffeine to flow out of the beans into the extra-coffee-ular space, following which it is filtered out by a patented carbon sieve. There are definitely some details missing here; after looking over their website, its impossible to grasp how green coffee extract, a seemingly simple product, is able to magically extract a complex chemical from organic material with 99.9% natural efficiency. From how SW makes it sound, mix GCE into your cup of espresso, push the mixture through a filter, and your espresso is precisely the same excepting its lack of caffeine.
Thoughts? Doubts? Concerns? Thanks again for reading, everyone; brew on!
- Shan Reddy, Daily Brew