GUATEMALA Las Terrazas (Sparkling Water Decaf)
GUATEMALA Las Terrazas (Sparkling Water Decaf)
Roaster's Tasting Notes
Apple Cake, Pear Tarte Tatin, Sugar Cane, Werther’s Toffees, Orange Macaroon
How did coffees come to be decaffeinated then? For this, we may have to thank Goethe, the German poet and statesman, who requested the chemist Runge to examine coffee in the same way that Runge had examined the properties of Belladonna extract. Runge went on to achieve success in this endeavour, isolating and discovering caffeine from coffee c.1820
The Cafe H-A-G brand was the first commercially available decaffeinated coffee, introduced c.1906 after another German scientist Ludwig Roselius and his team patented a process involving soaking green coffee beans in various acids and bases and then using Benzene as a solvent to remove the caffeine.
The principles involved in removing caffeine from coffee remain largely unchanged to this day, but thankfully, modern methods rely far less on chemicals such as Benzene (which is today recognised as a carcinogen) to achieve the desired result, whilst preserving the intrinsic coffee flavour as much as possible. These methods are all variations on and refinements of Roselius’s original method. Popular methods today include those which use organic compounds such as dichloromethane, triglycerides and ethyl acetate as the solvent. Other methods, even more refined, rely on a combination of water, green coffee extract and charcoal (Swiss Water) or, as in the case here, water and pressurised carbon dioxide (Sparkling Water).
The Sparkling Water method uses supercritical carbon dioxide as a means of decaffeination. It was developed by Kurt Zosel, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute in 1967, and further refined by the CR3, a German decaffeination company in 1988. It uses carbon dioxide, heated and pressurised above its critical point, to extract caffeine. In this process, green coffee beans are steamed and then added to a high pressure vessel. A mixture of water and carbon dioxide is circulated through the vessel at 300 atm and 65°C. At this temperature and pressure carbon dioxide is a supercritical fluid, with properties midway between a gas and a liquid. Caffeine dissolves into the carbon dioxide; compounds contributing to the flavour of the brewed coffee are largely insoluble in carbon dioxide and remain in the bean. In a separate vessel, caffeine is scrubbed from the carbon dioxide with additional water. The carbon dioxide is then recirculated to the pressure vessel, until the desired caffeine content is reached, typically resulting in at least a 97% drop in caffeine. For reference, a typical 8oz cup of regular arabica coffee contains around 200mg of caffeine, whilst an 8oz cup of decaffeinated arabica would contain around 6mg of caffeine.
The decaffeination process by definition, leads to the cellular structure of green coffee to be slightly compromised. For this reason, the best decaffeinated lots tend to be higher grown washed Arabicas, which have higher bean density to begin with and so can handle the decaffeination process better and are able to stand up to the post-decaffeination roasting process better too. Which brings us to the high altitude Guatemalan farm which supplied the coffee for this lot.
Las Terrazas is situated in the middle of a limestone valley in la Libertad, Huehuetenango. The valley creates a stable microclimate, protecting the farm from extreme weather conditions. This, along with the chalky soils contributes to the dense, syrupy body, and pronounced malic acidity in the cup. Coffee grows at up to 2100 masl here, giving the cup a very refined acidity and floral characteristics.
Las Terrazas was purchased by Renardo Ovalle Vides in 2012, with the intention of growing different varietals such as SL28, Pacas, Pacamara, Typica and Geisha. Renardo has also been experimenting with honey and natural processing, and has built a parabolic drier in order to create a clean cup in the humid conditions. Large parts of the farm are protected areas of wild forest, much of which is used to prevent soil erosion and reduce the plants exposure to winds. This is based on a permaculture model, with the intention of sustainability and respect for the environment, to try and recreate coffee’s natural habitat in high altitude forests. This coffee was fermented in tiled tanks for 18 hours before being washed and graded in channels. After grading the coffee was soaked in tanks for 12 hours. This lot contains a mixture of different varietals from Renardo’s farm and includes Bourbon, Typica, Caturra and Pache. However, the screening process has been exacting and the coffee is very evenly sized and shaped indeed, making it a pleasure to roast.
Roasted for espresso only, this decaffeinated coffee is soft, sweet, and medium-bodied, with great clarity. Shots need to be pulled slow and long, with the resulting espresso working beautifully in all manner of milk and alternative milk drinks. The classic washed high-grown Central/Latin American profile shines through for a sweet, clean, fully-developed cup. Don’t be taken aback by the dark chocolate coloured roast or coffee oils appearing on the surface. Decaffeinated coffees take on more colour because the greens start out much darker compared to regular coffees, and the weaker structural integrity of the beans causes natural coffee oils to appear on the surface much more readily, even at a medium roast.
Flavour notes of toffee, baked fruit tart, biscuit and raw sugar cane are in evidence, with contrast from subtle citric and malic acidity helping cut through milk nicely. This coffee would also work well brewed through a Moka Pot, aeropress or cafetiere. We are proud to present this 83+ point scoring specialty lot, but with most of the caffeine taken away, so you can continue enjoying drinking coffee through the day - full of taste and nuance, but without any of the jitters!
Sourced by Falcon Coffees.