To start off with, the Swiss Water Process is a non-solvent method for decaffeinating coffee. And despite the “Swiss” in the title, the coffee is not decaffeinated in Switzerland, but near Vancouver, Canada.

When was Swiss Water Decaf invented?

It was invented back in 1979 and, you guessed it, was invented in Switzerland!

What is the manufacturing process for Swiss Water Decaf?

Step 1

The coffee beans are soaked in caffeine free green coffee extract, which extracts caffeine from the bean. 

Step 2

The now caffeine saturated green coffee extract is then processed through activated charcoal to remove the caffeine.

Step 3

So, this green coffee extract is now caffeine free again and ready to extract caffeine from a new batch of coffee.

Step 4

The caffeine-extracted coffee beans are then dried to their originating moisture level and re-bagged. The result: Swiss Water Process coffee beans are 99.9% caffeine free.

What are the other processes of decaffeination?

Other forms of decaffeination generally capture caffeine through the introduction of some sort of volatile solvent (methylene chloride or ethyl acetate), so that the caffeine will attach itself to the solvent and then be dehydrated. 

However, in the Swiss Water Process, no chemicals are used. However, there is a disadvantage to the Swiss Water Process. It’s a more costly process than solvent decaffeination. Such is life.  You get what you pay for.

Why does decaf coffee often taste bad?

The general cost of decaffeination caused a broader problem in coffee over the past thirty years. Roasters have tried to price decaf and non-decaf at the same retail price. Yet, the costs of production of decaf are much higher.

So, what did the roasters do? They wanted cheaper decaf! And so, the decaf industry found the cheapest beans – lower grades and old crop coffee – to keep up with the demand for cheap decaf.

As a result, the roasters were happy because decaf retail price was on parity with non-decaf. But, the long term ramifications of these fateful decisions was poor tasting decaf coffee using the cheaper solvent methods.

This is what Decadent Decaf is leading the charge against! Changing hearts and minds one decaf at a time and challenging misconceptions that decaf is bad tasting and bad for you. The Swiss Water Process produces high grade single origin coffees using decaffeination process without chemicals.


July 17, 2015 — Gary Carruthers


Sandra Boyle said:

Is it possible to buy Swiss water processed decaffeinated coffee in Scunthorpe or in Lincolnshire?

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.