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Decaf Coffee - Colombia Cauca

12oz Bag

Type: Arabica

Varieties: Colombia, Caturra, Castillo

Region: Cauca

Tasting Notes

Chocolate, creamy and full body.


Descafecol is the only decaffeination plant in the Andean region of Colombia. The plant relies entirely on the pure water from the Navado el Ruis (a snow-capped volcano on the border of the departments of Caldas and Tolima) and natural ethyl acetate from sugar cane plants in Palmira, Colombia.

Ethyl acetate is an organic compound (C4H8O2) with a sweet smell—it’s created during fermentation and contributes to what’s often described as the “fruitiness” in a young wine.

At Descafecol, the decaffeination process begins with steaming the green coffee at a very low pressure to remove the silver skins. The beans are then moistened with hot water, which causes them to swell and soften and begins the hydrolysis of the caffeine, which is bonded to salts of chlorogenic acid. (Hydrolysis refers water interacting with a compound and causing it to loosen from other particles.)

The ethyl acetate solvent is then circulated through the beans multiple times until at least 97 percent of the caffeine is removed. A low-pressure, saturated steam is then applied to remove any last traces of the ethyl acetate, and finally the coffee is vacuum-dried in drums to remove any water and bring the final moisture level to between 10 and 12 percent.

The coffee is cooled to ambient temperature with fans and then polished with carnauba wax to protect it against humidity.

Decaf Coffee Questions

Decaffeination removes between 97% to 99% of the caffeine in coffee beans. The amount depends on the decaffeination process. A typical cup of decaf coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine, compared to a typical cup of regular coffee, which has about 95 mg of caffeine.

There are several ways to decaffeinate beans. This happens before they are roasted, when they are still green, unroasted beans.

At James, we rotate between two kinds of decaf beans. One is decaffeinated by Swiss Water process, which decaffeinates the beans through soaking them in water. The other method is using a mixture of water and ethyl acetate, which is an organic compound that is created during fermentation.

We are fans of drinking decaf coffee and spend time sourcing, cupping and researching the best decaffeinated coffee. Coffee beans is a natural product, so the taste varies from region to region, but we believe that decaf coffee can taste delicious when it is a high quality bean.

Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee merchant, invented the process and like all good inventions it happened by accident.

He received a shipment of coffee that was soaked in seawater and instead of tossing the coffee, he tested them and found that the beans had been stripped of its caffeine. His company was the first to sell decaf coffee under the name of "Sanka".