Decaffeinated coffee has a bit of a pariah status attached to it; a social outcast in the coffee community. We even had a customer recently enter our shop, order a decaf flat white and, before we'd time to key in the order, ask if that was ok - ok to order a cup of decaf in a speciality coffee shop. Well, of course it is!
There are definitely strong opinions out there about the integrity of a coffee bean that passes through additional processes, but like any food product, it’s the process that dictates the outcome. However, if you can find one that delivers a flavour that is often indistinguishable from its caffeinated sibling, there’s 12% of regular coffee drinkers who’ll thank you for it.
The process that Bailies, our house roaster, use is known as the Natural Decaffeination method. Fermented sugarcane produces a compound called Ethyl Acetate. A bit of a scary sounding name, but it’s an organic substance found in many fruits, such as apples and blackberries. The coffee beans are steamed and rinsed with Ethyl Acetate to extract the caffeine. Then it's simply washed, dried and shipped. Is it as good as the real thing? I'd say no. But the combination of a high quality bean, a natural process to extract the caffeine and a roast profile that doesn't turn the bean into charcoal can yield surprisingly good results. Try it. We dare you.