You may be of the opinion that decaffeinated coffee has no place in the world, I mean, what’s the point, right? I drink coffee to get me up in the morning, I drink coffee to give me that extra boost, I drink coffee to stay awake and finish my dissertation, I drink coffee to make me more attractive to the opposite sex. Ok, that last one isn’t true (isn’t working). These points aside, I do actually drink the stuff because I enjoy it and no doubt most of you do too and it’s not just an addiction for us.
When it comes to decaf we tend to put it in its own bracket separate from the caffeinated version, for example when we buy a caffeinated coffee we might choose it based on its advertised characteristics. That cup of Colombian Cauca Inza for its fruit and nut chocolateyness or the Kenyan with the long unpronounceable name for its citrus acidity and full body. Then we come to decaf, it’s just decaf! No explanation, no origin, no choice (well, what do you expect as a second class coffee drinker.)
What I’m saying is that you are asked to choose between caffeine or quality. Thankfully that’s not the case any more. Without going into too much detail, there is a decaffeinating process known as the Swiss water process which doesn’t use any harmful chemicals when removing caffeine and more importantly, it doesn’t impair any of the taste of the bean.
So, if it doesn’t affect the taste of the bean then it means, in theory, you can get hold of any bean and make it decaf, which means a coffee roaster can play around with different roast profiles and mix/blend to his/her heart’s content. Obviously, there are market forces behind the reasons they are not doing this i.e there aren’t many of you out there buying decaf but there is definitely scope to produce one that doesn’t forego quality.
One the of the main reasons I am writing this blog is because I fell in love with a decaf! Yep, that’s right, you heard correctly. When my usual caffeinated mistress has become too much for me I fall in to the arms of my beautifully blended, full-bodied, slightly floral bit-on-the-side. It’s a blend of Fairtrade & organic beans from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Peru and Honduras no less!
As we continue down this road of coffee discovery and more and more of us are becoming discerning about our coffee, we will no doubt see more effort put into the decaf range and those of you that fancy a cup without the caffeine hit can order a cup without feeling like a douche!