Decaf Coffee - How do we do it?

16 February 2024
Decaf Coffee - How do we do it?

Are you curious about the intricate process of decaffeination and its natural methods? You've come to the right place.

Let's face it, decaf coffee often falls short in flavour due to the beans not being at their freshest. Typically, the beans used for decaffeination are older and stored in warehouses until they're sent to be processed into decaf as a last resort. However, there's a better way. Our decaf begins with freshly harvested coffee, processed naturally using raw cane sugar at its source in Colombia. By decaffeinating at the origin, we not only reduce food miles but also maintain maximum freshness, ensuring a superior quality product.

DECAF Colombia - Los Trapiches: Washed, Caturra

3fe Decaf Coffee

What method do we use to decaffeinate the coffee?

Our beans undergo the process known as 'sugar cane decaffeination'. This involves the fermentation of molasses from the sugar cane tree, which combines with acetic acid (vinegar), a natural organic compound. It's an artisanal approach to decaffeination, free from harmful chemicals, and celebrated as the 'natural decaffeination process'. And the best part? It results in a delectable cup of coffee!

Sugar Cane used for decaffeinating 3fe coffee

How is this process completed?

The coffee beans are sent off on a journey of transformation. Initially, they are steamed for 30 - 40 minutes to open their pores, readying them for the decaffeination process. Subsequently, they are immersed in Ethyl Acetate (E.A.), a natural compound derived from non-GMO Colombian sugarcane and mountain water, for a thorough rinsing lasting 10 hours. After this, the beans undergo another round of steaming to eliminate any residual E.A. Lastly, they are carefully dried using hot air until their moisture content drops below 12%. This meticulous process effectively removes approximately 97% of the caffeine, spanning an average duration of 24 hours.

What are some of the health benefits of drinking decaf?

While we're not scientists, evidence suggests several potential health benefits associated with decaf consumption. Decaf coffee may help in reducing anxiety and jitters, alleviating digestive sensitivity, and promoting improved sleep quality. It serves as an excellent option for individuals sensitive to caffeine or those seeking to moderate their intake. Moreover, decaf is known to be gentler on the stomach, boasts antioxidant properties similar to regular coffee, and may even contribute to enhanced memory function due to its polyphenol content.

What makes our Decaf coffee special?

Our decaf coffee, Los Trapiches, hails from Colombia, crafted by 20 small coffee growers situated in Pitalito, Huila. These dedicated farmers operate small-scale farms ranging from 1 to 15 hectares, nestled at altitudes between 1,300 - 1,700 m.a.s.l. Our chosen method of decaffeination, using raw cane sugar, not only preserves the coffee's natural sweetness but also ensures minimal interference with its inherent flavors, resulting in a truly exceptional brew.

What can you expect from our Decaf coffee?

The sugar cane decaffeination process imparts a subtle yet distinct flavor profile to our coffee. Upon indulging in a cup, anticipate a delightful interplay of flavors—a slight sweetness reminiscent of brown sugar coupled with a pleasant dark chocolate bitterness akin to a 70% dark chocolate bar. These notes are harmoniously balanced by a delicate lime acidity lingering in the background, culminating in a rich and satisfying sensory experience.


Decaffeinated coffee has become a popular choice for those looking to enjoy the rich flavours of coffee without the stimulating effects of caffeine. The sugarcane decaffeination process provides a natural and environmentally conscious approach to achieve this. Understanding the intricacies of this method allows us to appreciate the craftsmanship behind our favourite decaf brews and the potential health benefits they bring. Next time you savour a cup of decaffeinated coffee, you can relish not only the flavour but also the knowledge of the process that went into making it caffeine-free.

For your bag of 3fe decaf coffee, be sure to pop into any of our cafe locations. If you can't make it to one our coffee shops have a bag shipped to you by ordering online! Decaf is also available on subscription for those who need a regular schedule of coffee!