Region: Quindio, Colombia
Harvest: March 2021
The Cappuccino Kid says...
"Employing the age-old natural process to remove the cherry from the seed and the new school and cherished EA sugarcane decaffeination method, the Arcila Family is taking decaf into the land of specialty. An absolute stunner of a fruit bomb, no one on the cupping table pegged this as decaf. Super sweet and sticky, this is modern decaf."
Processing - EA Decaffeination
Sugar cane ethyl acetate or commonly known as EA decaf is a natural process of decaffeinating coffee. It is usually found in Colombia where sugar cane is readily available and starts with making molasses from sugar cane. Once created, it sits in vats to ferment. The bacteria produce acetic acid, much like fermenting coffee, and at the peak of fermentation, alcohol is added to make something called ethyl acetate.
For it to be applied to coffee first, the green coffee is steamed in tanks to elevate the moisture level — the beans swell, which allows the extraction of caffeine. Ethyl acetate is added to the mixture, and it dissolves the caffeine in the coffee. The coffee is then washed with water and laid to dry. In theory, the coffee should reach the same moisture content as it arrived in, which is somewhere between 11-12%. The most important part of EA coffee, and why it tastes so sweet, is it avoids high pressure and high heat, which degrades coffee quickly. This allows the natural terroir flavors to come through, making it a sweet and bright decaf.
About Cofinet and Jario Arcila
Grown and processed in the Quindio region of Colombia by Jairo Arcila a third-generation coffee producer whose sons Felipe and Carlos started Cofinet in 2019 to aid other farms and farmers in producing lots like this one. This Castillo lot was naturally dried (seed dried inside cherry) before being sent off for sugarcane EA decaffeination treatment. Decaff is rarely used on specialty grade coffee, low 80 point washed coffees are more often than not blended into one large (untraceable ) decaf lot. Cofinet is taking a different approach, creating specialty decaf coffee.
About Castillo Varietal
Castillo is the most common varietal of Arabica coffee grown in Colombia. It's modified dwarf size and resistance to leaf rust disease makes it a popular and common choice for farmers looking for high density cultivation. The "natural process" method that this castillo has undergone prior to decaffeination can be a tough thing to get right. When you leave the skin and fruit of the coffee cherry on the seed throughout fermentation and drying, that fruit begins to break down, imparting esters that influence delicate florals and fruit notes into the seed that survive the roasting process. If this drying of the cherry is rushed or handled incorrectly, off-flavors can occur in the coffee. Continual monitoring and turning of the cherries as they dry to prevent mold and rot is key.