DECAF - COLOMBIA: El Cascabel - 100% Arabica
LOCATION: El Cascabel
ALTITUDE: 1800 masl
PREPARATION: Fully Washed
DRYING PROCESS: Sun Dried
DECAF METHOD: Sugar Cane Process
CUP PROFILE: Dark Chocolate, sweet orange, cherry
Rin's 1st Craic:
One of the most exciting things about being a coffee roaster is the immediacy of accessing coffee beans from across the world, without having to take a gap year and share a hostel with a dozen soon-to-undergrads reading Lonely Planet guides. As well as directly sourcing, we have also some wonderful suppliers who operate on the strictest traceability guidelines that allow us to sample the very best Arabica coffee, while ensuring coffee farmers get a fair payment for their labours.
Our latest offering is Colombia bean that is a Caturra varietal. It's decaffeinated using the sugar cane method provide a sweet mouthfeel with blackberry and sugarcane notes.
I've worked hard at roasting decaf to bring out the its best notes (can you hear the violins?). Unhinged fools in my position will tell you, roasting decaf is a dark world, where all but lovers of dungeons and dragnets, dare not venture.) Get it wrong (and boy, for the first few months of my roasting life, did I ever) and you might be sucking wet cardboard through a straw. But do some horse-whispering to that petulant pony and you might be onto a real winner. One thing's for sure, you just can't treat decaf like any other coffee bean. And whatever your views on decaf, as I roaster, I totally respect that and love the challenge.
These beans are decaffeinated using a sugar cane process. For more about this procedure and the farm's provenance, click on the "Nerd Zone" tab above.
(NOTE: you'll notice that this EL Cascabel roasted bean is much darker than all of our other speciality caffeinated coffees. This doesn't mean we've over-roasted it. Quite the opposite. One reason is the through the decaffeination process the raw "green" bean arrives much darker in colour. And secondly, due to the sugar cane process, this method produces a darker appearance, but is much sweeter than other decaf methods.)
El Cauca Cascabel Decaf is carefully sourced from different smallholder farmers which coffee trully represents the notes and very well known attributes of this region,such as the strong floral and caramel notes generated by the soil and weather conditions of southern Colombia. This particular lot came from the area of El Cascabel volcanic complex, located in the central-west mountains of Cauca.
Most of the coffee growers are indigenous people belonging to different ethnic groups (i.e. Nasa or Inza tribes). This ethnic diversity is reflected in the growers’ production practices working the land collectively and providing mutual support for every labor required by the plantations.
The farms have on average, less than 3 hectares of coffee. The production in this area is mostly artisanal and uses family laboUr, friends and other members of the community who support each other to continue a tradition that has notably influenced the quality of their beans.
Sugar Cane Process
The coffee first undergoes steaming at low pressures to remove the silver skins before then being moistened with hot water to allow the beans to swell and soften. This then prepares the coffee for the hydrolysis of caffeine, which is attached to the salts of the chlorogenic acid within the coffee.
The extractors (naturally obtained from the fermentation of sugar cane and not from chemical synthesis) are then filled with moistened coffee which is washed several times with the natural ethyl acetate solvent, to reduce the caffeine down to the correct levels. Once this process is finished the coffee then must be cleaned of the remaining ethyl acetate by using a flow of low pressured saturated steam, before moving onto the final steps. From here the coffee is sent to vacuum drying drums where the water previously used to moisten the beans is removed and the coffee dried to between 10-12%.
The coffee is then cooled quickly to ambient temperature using fans before the final step of carnauba wax being applied to polish and provide the coffee with protection against environmental conditions and to help provide stability. From here, the coffee is the packed into 70kg bags ready for export.
(NOTE: you'll notice that the roasted bean is much darker than all of our other speciality caffeinated coffees. This doesn't mean we've over-roasted it. Quite the opposite. One reason is the through the decaffeination process the raw "green" bean arrives much darker in colour. And secondly, due to the sugar cane process, this method produces a darker appearance, but is much sweeter than other decaf methods.)