Decaf? Legalize it! Our Legal coffee will surprise you with a creamy sweetness that lacks the kick of caffeine. With a residual caffeine content of 0.1% or lower, this is a great coffee to drink with milk, or espresso – or to use in desserts such as affogato and tiramisu.
We’re careful to give our Legal beans an extra-gentle roast to compensate for the ‘stress’ of the decaffeination process. The beans are decaffeinated by Descafecol, a company based in the city of Manizales, Colombia.
For the decaffeination process, Descafecol uses a combination of natural ethyl acetate (EA) and water. EA is naturally present in every coffee bean, as well as in many other fruits and vegetables, therefore no addition of any foreign substances takes place.
Large extraction tanks are filled with pre-moistened coffee and as the beans are washed with natural EA, the caffeine removal begins. The procedure has to be repeated several times in order to remove all caffeine.
Once the caffeine extraction is completed, the beans are stripped of any residual EA by passing a flow of low-pressure steam across the coffee. Descafecol ultimately delivers decaf coffee with no more than 5ppm (parts per million) of EA left in the coffee. International standards accept an EA residue of up to 20ppm and, in fact, bananas naturally have approximately 20 times the EA of our decaffeinated Legal coffee.
Natural EA is obtained from the sugarcane industry around Palmira, Colombia and is, together with spring water, the only other substance which comes into contact with coffee. This water-EA process allows for the gentle extraction of caffeine, avoiding excessive heat and pressure in order to keep the all-important cellular structure of the coffee bean intact.
The Cooperative Alto Occidente, the producers of our Legal beans, has its roots in taking a stand against exploitation. By the 1950s, the coffee growers from the region of Riseralda had had enough of being exploited by the intermediaries who at that point were the main buyers of their beans.
A group of farmers got together and formalised the constitution of the Cooperative Alto Occidente. The services provided by the newly formed Cooperative included coffee purchases, access to credit, and the provision of agricultural materials. All farmers who are members of the Cooperative are small-scale producers, which means that the labour on their farms is primarily provided by their own families.