Enjoy the great single-origin flavors of Ethiopia without the buzz of caffeine.
This natural-processed decaf coffee comes from the Asikana Cooperative, which is made up of more than 100 smallholder coffee producers in the Aira region of Ethiopia, and was decaffeinated via the Swiss Water® Process.
Flavors of raspberry, pie crust, black tea, and Meyer lemon.
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Asikana Cooperative, Buri Washing Station
Prior to a few years ago most of the coffee exported from Ethiopia flowed through the government-run Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, an entity that was established in 2008 to ensure the development of an efficient trading system and to protect the rights of those involved. While the system has some advantages, such as providing market access to smallholder producers, one of its glaring weaknesses is traceability. Historically, Ethiopian laws have restricted who can export coffee and farmers were often left with no choice but to sell their coffee to the Exchange. Many coffees would then get mixed to create large regional blends and individual lots would lose their provenance. Easing of these restrictive regulations in recent years has resulted in many privately owned washing stations obtaining their own exporting licenses and prioritizing lot separation and traceability with the intention of improving quality and increasing the price they receive for their coffees.
This decaffeinated coffee is one such traceable lot produced by members of the Asikana Cooperative. Meaning “We Start From Here”, Asikana is made up of more than 100 smallholder producers in the Aira region of Ethiopia and outlying areas. Founded in 2008, the cooperative has focused on coffee quality and improvement for its growing slate of producing members, as well as environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Until just before the pandemic, Asikana—founded by Bodja Gelalcha and operated by his family and a small staff—had operated primarily as a domestic operation. A partnership with San Cristobal importers led to quality improvements and attention from a global market. San Cristobal’s work within Ethiopia has allowed for traceability of its coffee exports, a beneficial aspect for both purchasers and growers.
Why We Love This Coffee
Decaffeinated coffees go through intense processing that can diminish the structural integrity of the beans, so generally we use a gentle application of heat throughout the roasting process to ensure we highlight the coffees’ inherent flavor characteristics. Decaf Ethiopia Asikana Natural has a delicate flavor profile making gentle heat application even more paramount.
Prior to being decaffeinated, this coffee was processed using the natural method, where the seeds are dried-in-the-fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed. The resulting flavor is dramatically different, in the best cases exhibiting fruit-forward intensity and sweetness.
This coffee was decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process of caffeine extraction, without the use of chemical solvents. The coffee soaks in a water saturated green coffee extract that contains soluble coffee components just under equilibrium with that of the coffee beans, so soluble coffee components such as caffeine, only flow out of the beans and into the extract. The caffeine laden extract then passes through activated carbon filters that catch the caffeine molecules and the process is repeated until the beans are 99.9% caffeine free.
Good Coffee, Better Planet
Asikana is a certified Smithsonian Bird-Friendly organization. Also contributing to the coop’s ecological role is a secondary business in honey. Bees are crucial to the cross-pollination of coffee and supporting their habitats is beneficial for coffee growers, as well as bees, of course!