An increasingly popular newish decaffeination process is the Ethyl Acetate (EA) decaf process, often called "Sugar Cane Decaf", but what is the EA decaf coffee process all about?
Simply put, the Ethyl Acetate decaf method uses a natural solvent - Ethyl Acetate - to decaffeinate the coffee beans.
Ethyl acetate is seen by some to be more “natural” than other chemicals since it exists naturally in minute quantities in ripening vegetation, such as sugar cane, apples and blackberries.
Therefore, since this solvent occurs in nature, it's often marketed as “naturally” decaffeinated or as "Sugar Cane Decaf" since Ethyl Acetate is usually sourced as a by-product from the fermentation of sugar cane during the manufacture of processed sugar.
But, according to various scientific sources (source: Coffee Confidential), because of the cost of gathering natural ethyl acetate, the chemical used for decaffeination is often actually synthetic.
This is because Ethyl acetate can be more affordably sourced and manufactured using ethyl alcohol and acetic acid, both of which are normally produced from natural ingredients and petroleum derivatives.
What is the scientific process for Ethyl Acetate decaffeination?
- i) The green beans are first soaked in water and then steamed in order to expand the cells of the bean.
- ii) The green beans are then soaked and washed in Ethyl Acetate solution, which attracts and removes the caffeine
iii) After the Ethyl Acetate wash, the coffee is then rinsed, dried and packed for shipping.
Note: Decadent Decaf only used Swiss Water Decaf Process coffee beans for our roast decaffeinated coffee range.