Coffee Knowledge Base

07 June 2024

The story behind our decaffeinated Colombian coffee: the sugar cane process

The story behind our decaffeinated Colombian coffee: the sugar cane process

Welcome to a deeper dive into the world of specialty decaf coffee. Today, we’re highlighting our decaffeinated coffee from the Caldas region of Colombia, which offers delightful tasting notes of brown sugar, sugar cane, and chocolate, with a full body and low acidity. But what makes this coffee truly special is the sugar cane decaffeination process that preserves its rich flavors while removing the caffeine. Let's explore the journey from the farms of Caldas to your cup.

Table of contents

Know where your coffee comes from

The Caldas Cooperative

Founded in 1960, the Caldas cooperative is a cornerstone of Colombian coffee culture. Home to over 3,600 allied partner producers, most of whom are small family farms, the cooperative operates across eleven municipalities in Manzanares and Marquetalia. These regions are known for their ideal coffee-growing conditions, with altitudes ranging from 1,600 to 1,950 meters above sea level and temperatures averaging between 9°C and 26°C.

Supporting smallholders

The Caldas cooperative features 15 points of sale and 'atención al productor' centers, where farmers can sell their coffee and receive crucial agricultural support. Agronomists working with the cooperative provide guidance on sustainable farming practices, ensuring that the coffee produced is of the highest quality. This region, part of the Eje Cafetero or Coffee Triangle, is historically significant in Colombia’s coffee production, with a current 63,051 hectares dedicated to coffee farming. Despite the rise of Huila as the top producer by volume, Caldas remains a hub for specialty coffee, with around 13,000 specialty coffee growers among its 41,000 small farms.

The sugar cane decaffeination process

What is sugar cane decaffeination?

Sugar cane decaffeination utilizes ethyl acetate (EA), a naturally occurring compound extracted from distilled sugar cane. This process is favored for its ability to maintain the integrity of the coffee’s flavor while effectively removing caffeine.

Step-by-step process

  1. Steaming the beans
    The coffee beans are first steamed to open their pores, making it easier for the decaffeination agent to penetrate.
  2. Circulating the EA mixture
    The beans are then soaked in a solution of water, acetic acid (vinegar), and ethyl acetate. The EA binds with the caffeine molecules in the beans.
  3. Caffeine extraction
    The caffeine is extracted from the beans, while most of the other flavor compounds remain intact.
  4. Rinsing and drying
    After the desired caffeine level is reached, the beans are thoroughly rinsed to remove any EA residue. They are then dried until they retain 10-12% humidity.

Why it’s special

We take great care in roasting our Colombian sugar cane decaffeinated coffee to enhance its natural flavors. The coffee undergoes a washed process with 16 to 18 hours of fermentation, followed by 15 days of drying (including 36-48 hours of mechanical drying). This meticulous process ensures a clean and sweet cup that highlights the coffee's inherent flavors.

How it’s roasted

This process not only effectively removes caffeine but also retains the coffee's distinct flavors, resulting in a decaffeinated coffee that doesn’t compromise on taste. Our Colombian sugar cane decaf coffee is roasted to perfection for espresso, offering a pleasant full body, low acidity, and notes of chocolate and sweet sugar cane.

Tasting experience

Our decaffeinated coffee from Caldas offers a rich and enjoyable tasting experience:

  • Flavor notes: expect delightful hints of brown sugar, sugar cane, and chocolate.
  • Body and acidity: the coffee has a full body and low acidity, making it perfect for a smooth espresso or a creamy cappuccino.


Our Colombian sugar cane decaf coffee is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the Caldas cooperative. From sustainable farming practices to innovative decaffeination methods, every step is taken to ensure you enjoy a high-quality, flavorful coffee without the caffeine. Experience the unique taste of this specialty decaf coffee and appreciate the journey from the small farms of Caldas to your cup.

We hope this comprehensive overview helps you understand and appreciate the meticulous process behind our decaffeinated coffee. Enjoy your cup of rich, flavorful, and caffeine-free coffee!