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  The Swiss Water Process  
   
  The Swiss Water process was developed by the Swiss firm Coffex S.A. in  
the 1980's as a means to decafeinate coffee beans chemical free using
water as the only solvent. This results in a premium tasting decaffeinated
coffee than previous conventional means. The whole process takes about
10 hours.
The first step of the Swiss Water Process is to pre clean the coffee beans
in which silver skin and foreign matter are removed. Next, the green
coffee beans are soaked in scalding hot water. The beans are milled but
not yet roasted. While soaking in hot water, the coffee beans release their
caffeine solids into the water thus becoming saturated in all the coffee's
flavor components except for the caffeine. The coffee beans are then
disposed of and the resulting liquid is passed through an activated
carbon filter that collects the caffeine while enabling the coffee's solids a
passage.
The result is an extract called GCE (Green Coffee Extract) which is
comprised of decaffeinated coffee solids that are subsequently used to
decaffeinate a new batch of green coffee beans. By using the GCE,
there is an even symmetry of all the flavor compounds in the solution
except for the caffeine and is then again sent through the activated carbon
filter where all caffeine is removed.
The next step in the Swiss Water Process is Rinse and Repeat. This is where
the coffee beans are dried out while leaving the flavor qualities active.
This process is repeated until the coffee beans only contain one tenth of
one percent caffeine.
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