Residual chemical contamination is not ok.
Some companies claim a so-called “natural” decaffeination process but still leave behind residual chemical contamination. These companies use chemicals like methylene chloride in an “organic” water process or ethyl acetate, a.k.a. “sugar cane” or “natural process”, which causes unnatural fruity flavors.
The Swiss Water Process is certified organic and uses no added chemicals. Ever. We use water, temperature and time to gently remove caffeine, leaving behind all the flavors and nuance of the original coffee. That’s because we are a coffee company first. We’re focused on great tasting decaf, not extracting caffeine for resale, like many other processors.
Give your customers a decaf coffee that is 100% free of added chemicals. Swiss Water coffee isn’t like other decafs,
it’s amazing coffee without caffeine.
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Know Your Process
Not all water processes are the same. Remember diffusion? That’s essentially how water process works. At its best, it’s a clean and natural way to remove caffeine, like in the Swiss Water Process, which promises zero use of industrial chemicals. But some water processes result in chemical residuals, even when they claim to be organic.
According to the EPA, methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is “a volatile and high production volume chemical that is used as a solvent in a wide range of industrial, commercial and consumer applications.” It has been banned in paint removers due to “acute fatalities” and is implicated in concerns about climate change. Use in decaffeination can leave residual amounts of the chemical in the coffee and it is prohibited in Japan and South Korea. It does, however, come in handy if you are trying to resell caffeine for use in energy drinks or other products.
Ethyl Acetate (A.k.a “sugar cane process” or “natural decaffeination”)
Ethyl acetate, or acetylated ethyl alcohol, is frequently used in glues and nail polish removers and is highly flammable. It can be naturally derived, but at commercial scale synthetic production is required. When used to decaffeinate, it changes the flavor of the coffee, adding an unnatural fruity characteristic, and, like methylene chloride, allows processors to resell the caffeine to companies that make energy drinks and caffeinated toothpicks.
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas that can be distilled or produced. In decaffeination, high-pressure vessels are employed to give it ‘supercritical’ properties that enhance its usefulness as a solvent. Supercritical CO2 is a decaffeination process that is free of chemical contaminants.