There was a time when decaffeinated coffee was simply the byproduct of the caffeine extraction process. Those days are long gone, and now we find an entire industry dedicated to making great tasting, caffeine-free coffee. The beneficiaries of these efforts? Anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee but doesn’t want to feel that rocketship-rush afterward. These coffee drinkers are true diehards, consuming coffee not for its energizing characteristics but for its flavor alone. More than anyone else, this coffee drinking cohort surely appreciates the significant improvement in the decaffeination process we have seen over the last few decades.
Simply put, decaf coffee tastes better now than it used to. Although there are several reasons for this, chief among them is the focus on the emerging market for specialty-quality decaf coffee. Rather than using any old coffee to derive caffeine, starting with delicious coffee in the first place, results in better tasting decaf coffee in the end.
There are many different ways to extract caffeine from coffee, but at Equator we focus on one called the “water process” method. We only offer coffee decaffeinated with this method because it doesn’t rely on harsh chemical solvents to extract caffeine. While there are variations in the approach to water process decaffeination, the method typically begins by soaking green coffee in water that contains coffee-soluble components at a concentration level that’s just under equilibrium with the green coffee. This makes it so that no soluble components in the water can flow back into the coffee, allowing it to retain much of its inherent flavor. While soaking, caffeine is coaxed out of the coffee into the water solution while most of the coffee’s flavor stays in the bean. The water is then passed through carbon filters to remove the caffeine molecules. The caffeine-free solution is then reused, and the process continues until the coffee is 99.9% caffeine free.
If you enjoy decaf coffee, we suggest tasting this coffee while supplies last and each new single-origin decaf as it becomes available throughout the year. We also offer decaf blends throughout the year, including Decaf Equator Blend, Decaf Shakeout, Decaf Espresso, Decaf Eye of the Tiger Espresso and Decaf Instant Coffee throughout the year. Even those who don’t regularly drink decaf sometimes find themselves in need of a delicious cup of coffee at a time when more caffeine isn’t ideal, perhaps towards the end of the work day or with a late evening dessert. Whenever you choose to drink your decaf coffee, know that Equator is working hard to make sure it’s the best it can be.