For this Spotlight, we thought it would be fun to follow the coffee from farm to cup. Decaf Mexico Altura started as seeds in coffee cherries from small farms, most under 10 acres, in the mountainous Chiapas and Oaxaca regions of Mexico. The farms all sit between 3000 and 5000 feet above sea level, perfect conditions to produce hard, flavorful coffee beans.
Once the green beans were washed and dried, a handful was roasted and cupped for flavor. The beans flavorful enough to withstand the decaffeination process were shipped east to a plant in Veracruz. There, the green beans were divided into batches, and the first batch of beans was soaked in very hot water until almost all of the caffeine and flavor from the beans were dissolved. The solution created is sometimes referred to as a green coffee extract (GCE). The soaked beans were then discarded, while the caffeine and coffee flavor solution was run through a carbon filter to remove the caffeine. Another batch of beans was added to the GCE solution to soak. This process continued until the solution contained all the flavor compounds it could possibly dissolve and the only thing the hot GCE removed from the coffee beans was the caffeine (about 98% of it). The flavor was left in the beans to be enjoyed once the coffee was roasted and brewed. Those were the beans collected in burlap sacks and sold to us as green Decaf Mexico Altura.
You can see why water-process decaf coffees are more expensive than other decafs. When it's done right, the process results in throwing away a lot of coffee. Luckily, the results are worth the cost. This year's Decaf Mexico Altura has all the qualities we love in a good Mexican coffee, without the caffeine. A smooth, easy-drinking decaf, at a light (City) roast level, its sweet flavor is brightened by a hint of light fruit and balanced by a lingering cocoa finish. Taken darker, the coffee becomes even sweeter, making it a great choice for Decaf Cold Brew.
We're very happy with our new Decaf Mexico Altura. Unfortunately, we were only able to get a few bags. If you enjoy decaf coffee, please don't wait too long to give this one a try.
Do you have a favorite decaffeinated coffee? If so, we'd love to hear about it. You can share your thoughts on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your opinion with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast