Myth or Fact? You can't compete in barista competitions with decaf coffee?

Answer: Myth! 

Cole Torode, Canadian Barista Champion who placed third in the 2020 National Competition, presented Swiss Water Process Geisha in espresso and cappuccino formats with the goal of driving home decaf's flavour potential.

Myth or Fact? Decaf needs to be brewed differently from caffeinated coffee.

Answer: Fact!

Because caffeine is soluble, and the Swiss Water Process removes caffeine, there is less to extract in decaffeinated coffee. So, decaf coffee roasted and brewed in the same fashion as non-decaf will have a lower resulting strength in the cup.

So, we recommend using a higher brew ration (more coffee to water) for decaf coffee.

Myth or Fact? The decaffeination process affects the moisture content of the green coffee.

Answer: Fact!

Due to the hydration in every decaffeinaton method, decaf coffee needs to be re-dried. Thus decaf coffees will have a different moisture content than before they were processed.

Myth or Fact? Roast development affects the caffeine content of coffee.

Answer: Myth!

In 2020, Swiss Water Decaf conducted an experiment roasting a coffee five times and measuring the caffeine content. They found no consistent trend relating roast style to caffeine content.

Myth or Fact? Roasting decaf is the same as roasting caffeinated coffee.

Answer: Myth!

During the decaffeination process the cellular structure of the beans is changed, which is important to consider while roasting. This calls for a gentler approach in the roast process leading up to first crack. Some roasters opt for a shorter-than-average development time. Others go slower leading to first crack.

April 30, 2021 — Guy Wilmot

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