Meseta de Popayan Decaf , Colombia
Meseta de Popayan Decaf
- Farm(ers): 65 small holders
- Region: Popayan, Colombia
- Varietal(s): Colombia, Catimor, Castillo, Caturra, Typica
- Processing: Ethyl Acetate Decaffeination
- Altitude: 1500-2070 masl
- Tasting Notes: Grapefruit, Toffee, Juicy
Why Do We Love This Coffee?
This coffee is delicious, and not just “for a decaf”. It’s bursting with citrus flavor, and is well balanced with rich toffee sweetness. The high quality of these cherries is apparent, and it serves as a testament to Ethyl Acetate processing. The integrity of this coffee was not sacrificed for decaffeination!
Why Do We Work With This Producer?
Helmed by Jairo Arcila, Cofinet is a leader in producing excellent coffee in Colombia. On their farm and in their processing center (La Pradera), Cofinet highlights exotic varieties and processing methods, pushing the boundaries of coffee quality in Colombia. They aim for sustainable, ethical, and long lasting relationships between coffee growers, roasters, and consumers.
They also partner with and support a large number of specialty coffee growers in Colombia. In addition to public coffee classes at La Pradera, Cofinet offers intensive internships, wherein producers are taught processing/fermentation methods, best growing practices, and given the opportunity to taste and evaluate their work. Cofinet hopes to assist farmers in producing outstanding coffees that will guarantee a high premium for their hard work.
Cofinet’s commitment to Colombia through coffee production draws us to work with them, and support the positive impact they have on their community.
Many specialty coffee enthusiasts and professionals have a love hate relationship with decaf. I.e. Decaffeinated coffee never quite tastes the same and carries a larger carbon footprint due to the fact that there are only four or five major decaffeinate plants worldwide. All that being said, we believe that there are a number of people who desire a great coffee experience yet cannot have or do not want caffeine. Thus, we believe it is our responsibility and craft to source, roast and serve the best decaffeinated coffee we can.
The Descafecol plant is the only major decaffeinate plant in South America and it is in the country of Colombia. Because it exists within a producing country the availability of fresh coffee is endless. This also means that the travel time and distance is minimal. This results in a smaller carbon footprint and fresher coffee to all who rely on it in the supply chain.
Descafecol relies on two key factors. The first is the fresh water coming from the snow capped volcano Navado del Ruiz. The second is the natural ethyl acetate derived from the sugar cane plants surrounding the city of Palmira. Ethyl Acetate is an organic compound with a sweet smell that is created during the sugar cane’s fermentation process.
Diving into the technicality of the decaffeination process, it begins with the steaming of the green coffee. This is done at a very low pressure to remove the silver skins. The beans are then moistened with hot water. This causes them to swell and soften and allows the hydrolysis of the caffeine to begin and bond with the salts of chlorogenic acid. The ethyl acetate solvent is then introduced and continuously circulated through the coffee until 97% of the caffeine is removed. Finally, a low pressure, saturated steam is applied to remove any last traces of the ethyl acetate. To prepare the coffee for export, the coffee is vacuum dried in large drums and is complete once the moisture level reaches between 10-12%.
In short, we believe that Ethyl Acetate is the best tasting decaf on the market and has the smallest carbon footprint which results in fresher coffee to enjoy.