Decaf - Sugarcane EA
Decaf - Sugarcane EA
FARM: Several small farmholders
REGION: Cauca, Caldono
ALTITUDE : 1200–2000 masl
VARIETAL : Castillo, Caturra, Colombia
PROCESS : Washed, EA Decaffeinated
FLAVOUR NOTES : Honey, peanut brittle and candied pecan
Grown by multiple smallholder producers, this Colombian E.A. (ethyl acetate) decaf is cupped as regular green samples and specifically identified for decaffeination, which happens in-country in Colombia before the coffee goes to export. This maintains both the integrity of the quality of the coffees chosen to decaf, but also extend intentional and responsible sourcing to decaf offerings as well as “regular” coffees.
The process works by soaking green coffee in a bath of water and a solvent called ethyl acetate, which is naturally derived from fermented sugar, among other natural sources. The solvent bonds to the salts of chlorogenic acid within the coffee, which allows for the extraction of caffeine. The coffee is removed from its bath and steamed at low pressure to ensure no traces of E.A. are left, and the finished product is almost entirely free of any but the most trivial (0.1–0.3%) caffeine content.
Coffee came to Colombia in the late 1700s by way of Jesuit priests who were among the Spanish colonists, and the first plantings were in the north of the country, in the Santander and Boyaca departments. Throughout the 19th century, coffee plants spread through the country, with a smaller average farm size than more commonly found throughout other Latin American producing countries.
Commercial production and export of coffee started in the first decade of the 1800s, but remained somewhat limited until the 20th century: The 1927 establishment of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (aka FNC, see below) was a tremendous boost to the national coffee industry, and Colombia quickly established itself as a major coffee-growing region, vying with Brazil and Vietnam for the title of top global producer.
Colombia still produces exclusively Arabica coffee, and though the country suffered setbacks and lower yields from an outbreak of coffee-leaf rust in the early 2010s, production has fairly bounced back thanks to the development and spread of disease-resistant plants, as well as aggressive treatment and preventative techniques.