Flat. Bitter. Weak. Boring. Bland. This is the most common sentiment around decaf coffee.
But what makes it so bad? And could it be better? Savorista’s founder, Kait, asked herself the same questions as she set out on her global quest for great decaf.
It's all about the beans,
Decaffeination can be costly. In order to balance the cost, many companies often resort to using lower quality or older beans for their decaf coffees.
We treat our decaf selection as a priority, not an afterthought. That's why we use only the highest quality arabica beans. These are beans grown at high elevations, in good soil.
Our coffee cherries, the fruit the coffee beans grow in, are hand picked when they are at their ripest. Picking the ripest coffee fruit ensures that the beans will be consistently better quality, compared to beans of varying ripeness. Think about the difference between bananas with bright green peels versus yellow peels. One is ready to be eaten and the other needs more time to mature. Coffee is the same way. You only want to pick a coffee cherry when it is perfectly ripe.
[The beans on the right are great quality and look like what we share, the ones on the left...well that may be your other decaf]
And how you decaffeinate them,
There are a variety of ways to decaffeinate coffee, either with natural ingredients or chemical solvents. All are approved by the FDA; however, our coffees are only decaffeinated with natural ingredients, like water or a sugarcane derived ingredient. Many of our coffees are decaffeinated with a natural ethyl acetate (EA), which comes from sugarcane. The sugarcane is grown in Colombia, and the EA is sent to a decaffeination plant in Colombia. EA occurs in fruit, and there is more of it in a banana than in our coffee. The rest of our coffees have been decaffeinated by Swiss Water, which uses only water from glacial runoff to decaffeinate.
And how you roast them.
Decaf can be a bit more challenging to roast and requires extra attention. If roasters don't prioritize the quality of their decaf, they may not focus on the quality of the decaf roast. And, starting with bad beans sets the coffee up with no interesting characteristics to highlight, resulting in over-roasting, or burning, the beans to cover up the bland taste that was there to begin with.
Our coffee is freshly roasted in small batches, and with attention to detail. It is a delicate balance of art and science to make sure it knocks your socks off. Because we want to taste all of those incredible flavors too!
We invite you to try out our coffees, and let us know if you can taste the difference.