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Sugarcane Decaf Coffee

Sugarcane sure is sweet! But sugarcane is good for more than just sweetening up a cup of coffee, it is also great for decaffeinating it. That’s right, there is a natural, clean, and green method of decaffeinating coffee beans that uses that sugary treat, sugarcane. Let’s find out a bit more about this amazing method of decaffeination.

To be fair, this process doesn't use sugarcane per se but rather a natural compound called Ethyl Acetate which is formed from sugarcane mixed with water. So, basically deliciousness. Once this mixture is achieved, the green coffee beans are soaked and steamed. Next, the Ethyl Acetate is flowed around the beans to clear away the caffeine. Then, the Ethyl Acetate is cleaned off and the beans are pretty much ready to go.

Sugarcane decaf originates in Colombia, where it is still widely practiced today. Colombia is not just a powerhouse of amazing coffee bean varieties like the famous Huila and Caldas among others but is an innovator in the decaffeinated coffee scene, too. Coffee is not the only abundant crop in Colombia. Sugarcane is also in wide supply which helps to provide plenty of sugarcane for the decaffeination process.

Getting the caffeine out from coffee beans using sugarcane is a fascinating strategy for sure. The sugarcane is used to make molasses which is fermented and made into ethanol. This is then mixed with acetic acid to derive the ethyl acetate compound. Before the compound is applied to the beans, the beans themselves are first steamed at low pressure. This helps the seeds swell up and attain the moisture level ideal for caffeine extraction. 

Next, the beans are soaked in water along with the ethyl acetate. The ethyl acetate then bonds with the salts of chlorogenic acid that naturally occurs inside the coffee seeds. This process is repeated multiple times and naturally expunges about 97% of the caffeine out of the coffee beans. 

Now, it is time to clear away the remaining ethyl acetate. This is achieved by steaming the beans again. Next, the beans are dried, polished, cleaned, and ready to be shipped!

The sugarcane method is a special way of decaffeinating coffee. This is because even though any last traces of the ethyl acetate are burned away during the roasting process, the beans still retain a delightful sweetness! This makes the sugarcane method particularly tasty when enjoying beans that synergise with an enhanced sweetness like many Colombian or Central American coffee beans. 

Sweet Decaf

The sugarcane method of preparing decaf coffee is a natural, safe, chemical-free, and certainly sweet mode of decaffeination. Choose beans that have undergone the sugarcane method if you want some sweet beans that deliver all the lively flavour of fully caffeinated beans while supplying little to no caffeine in the process. Sugarcane is the sweetest way to decaf!