Many coffee roasters are increasingly using the “Sugarcane” decaf method, or the Ethyl Acetate decaffeination process as it’s called in the industry, but what is it?

Decadent Decaf investigates what is Sugarcane decaf is and how it’s manufactured.

In addition to the Swiss Water Process, the Sugarcane process stands out as a unique and flavour-retentive method of decaffeination through its use of ethyl acetate (EA), a compound derived from cane sugar.

So, what is the Ethyl Acetate decaffeination method?

Ethyl acetate, abbreviated as EA, is a natural compound primarily derived from cane sugar and various fruits.

The way EA works in the decaffeination process is by bonding to chlorogenic acids, which are inherent in caffeine.

Once EA forms this bond, it facilitates the extraction of caffeine from the coffee beans, thus starting the decaffeination process.

Indeed, the use of ethyl acetate, ensures that the intrinsic flavours of the coffee aren't compromised and it preserves the original taste. Its natural approach combined with its ability to retain the authentic coffee taste makes it a standout choice for coffee aficionados and enthusiasts alike.

Decadent Decaf Coffee Company currently doesn’t roast Sugarcane Decaf, but we may do in future!

How is Sugarcane Ethyl Acetate decaf manufactured?

Here’s a step-by-step guide of the decaffeination process:

  • Initial delivery - The coffee arrives in its natural state - green and unroasted, ready to undergo decaffeination.


  • Steaming the beans - Before any extraction begins, the coffee is subjected to a 30-minute steaming process. This is done under low pressure to ensure the pores within the coffee beans open up. This step is pivotal as the opening of these pores makes the extraction of caffeine more efficient.


  • Introduction to the EA solution - Once prepared, the coffee beans are submerged in the ethyl acetate solution. Over time, the EA in the solution bonds to the chlorogenic acid present in the beans and separates the caffeine.


  • Solution replacement - As the coffee beans absorb the solution, they reach saturation. To ensure maximum decaffeination, the saturated solution is drained, and the tank is refilled with a fresh batch. This cycle can continue for about eight hours or until the desired level of decaffeination is achieved.


  • Final steaming - Once the caffeine is removed, the beans undergo another steaming session. The purpose here isn't for extraction, but rather to eradicate any lingering traces of ethyl acetate from the beans.


  • Drying and polishing - Post extraction and cleaning, the decaffeinated beans are dried and given a polishing finish ensuring that the beans remain clean, free of impurities and are ready for packaging.


October 20, 2023 — Guy Wilmot

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