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What is the Swiss Water Decaf Process?


Today, we’re going to ask the question:

What is the Swiss Water Decaf Process?


The Swiss Water Decaffeination process  was discovered in 1933 in Switzerland, but it was only in 1980 that the Swiss Water Decaf Process was finally commercialised.

But, even so, the procedure was very inefficient and the result was often inconsistent batches and a coffee that was difficult to roast.

However, in the mid-2000s, the Swiss Water Process was perfected and resulted in high-quality tasting coffee that is 99.9% caffeine free.

But, how is Swiss Water Decaf process coffee manufactured?

The most important principles in the production of Swiss Water Decaf method is Water, Temperature and Time.

It takes about 10 hours for the process to be complete, but consists of a number of steps along the way to manufacture.

The first principle to understand is Green Coffee Extract or GCE.

GCE is pure water plus all the water-soluble solids that can be found in green coffee - except for caffeine.

But,  how do you make GCE?

GCE is  a natural solution, no chemicals involved, that contains all the naturally occurring water-soluble solids found in green coffee including chlorogenic acids, amino acids and carbohydrates

The GCE is made in 3 steps as follows:

Step 1 - First, green coffee is soaked in fresh hot water which allows the soluble solids to “leech out” of the coffee.

Step 2 - Once the solids are all dissolved into the water the coffee is then removed and disposed of.

Step 3 - The GCE is then filtered through a special  carbon filter, which remove only the caffeine and nothing else. All the green coffee solids remain in the GCE.

The other key component when making Swiss Water Decaf Process is Carbon

Carbon has a nucleus of neutrons and six protons surrounded by six electrons and is unique among the elements in its ability to form strongly bonded chains, sealed off by hydrogen atoms.

The carbon filters that are used for the Swiss Water decaffeination process have very specific pore sizes and  the pore size is the same size as the caffeine molecule, so that the pores trap only the caffeine and nothing else.

Now we understand the key proponents, let’s discuss the Swiss Water Decaf process step-by-step:

Step 1 - The  raw green coffee is cleaned and pre-soaked to expand the bean.

Step 2 - The caffeine-free GCE is introduced to the green coffee.

Step 3 - When this happens, the caffeine is transferred from the bean to the GCE in a process that is called diffusion.

Step 4 - After roughly ten hours, when the coffee is 99.9% caffeine free, the green beans are sent to the dryer.

Step 5 - After the decaffeinated beans have been removed, the GCE is now saturated in caffeine from the coffee and is therefore sent to carbon filtration, which traps the carbon molecules.

Step 6 – To clean the carbons filters of caffeine to start the process again, the carbon is incinerated and then reused again.

Step 7 - When the GCE is caffeine-free, it is regenerated and reintroduced to more green coffee.

Step 8 - The coffee is sent to the dryer, once dry they are bagged and ready to be shipped out to green coffee traders and roasters across the globe.

Here at, we recommend the Swiss Water Process of decaffeination, which uses water (no chemicals) to decaffeinate the coffee beans and is 99.9% caffeine free.

To find out more, please visit or check out our youtube channel for more videos on decaf, caffeine and coffee topics.

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