Our latest decaf coffee and we're sticking with the Colombian Sugarcane EA method sourced by Raw Material from the Villamaria producer group they work closely with. We’ve been buying the washed Villamaria coffee for over 5 years and this is the first time we’ve had a decaf from their production.
This time we’ve opted for a naturally processed coffee (dried in the skin) which then went through the DESCAFECOL EA decaffeination process. Tastes like figs and prunes with a creamy texture and sweet finish.
Prior to Raw Material beginning their involvement in this region, high-altitude, high-potential cherries were being processed to a low final quality in the mountains of Villamaría. To change this, they invested in one central collection point at Finca La Aurora, and built large drying facilities down the mountain in Chinchiná where it is warmer.
This has resulted in extremely high quality lots (88-90pt) and consistent naturals from the cherries of Villamaría. This model is similar to that of El Fénix, RM's community wet mill and farm in Quindío.
Villamaría is a Colombian municipality located in the department of Caldas. The region is fed by numerous sources of water and natural resources. It is located a few kilometres from the city of Manizales, whose urban areas are surrounded by the Chinchiná River. Our drying station "Jamaica" is located in Chinchiná, Caldas. The station currently represents the harvests of 30 to 50 coffee producing families in the surrounding area of Villarazo, sitting at altitudes higher than the drying station itself. As Jamaica sits at a lower altitude of 1300 MASL, it is better suited to the processing of honey and natural coffee, due to the hotter temperatures found here.
The Sugar Cane EA Decaffeination method
Sugar cane decaffeination is often termed as a natural process decaf. Ethyl Acetate is an organically existing compound (C4H8O2) and by-product found most commonly in the fermentation of fruits, and is present in both ripe bananas and beer for example.
The plant Raw Material work with in Colombia uses water from the Navado del Ruis (a volcano between Caldas and Tolima) and natural ethyl acetate from fermented sugarcane sourced in the southern region of Palmira, Colombia. This process begins with steaming of the coffee, increasing its porosity, beginning the hydrolysis of caffeine, which is usually bonded to salts and chlorogenic acids in the bean.
The beans are then submerged in an ethyl acetate solution until 97% of the caffeine is removed. A final steam is then used to lift residual traces of the compound. The ultimate residue which remains is ≤30 ppm, which is a level dramatically less than that of a banana!
Raw Material have created a nice info graphic of the process here.