Lost in Translation: Decaf and The Swiss Water Process

Ethiopian Mordecofe Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated Coffee at Blue Beagle

According to The Coffee Guide, 16 percent of the total coffee consumed in the United States is decaf. While that number may seem low, decaf coffee consumption is higher in America than most of the world, especially compared to Italy, at seven percent, or Greece, at only one percent.

Traditionally, decaffeination uses solvent-based processes to remove caffeine from green coffee beans prior to roasting. The solvent used can be either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. While these solvents are not considered harmful, they are hardly natural.

The most natural way that also removes the most amount of caffeine is the Swiss Water Process (SWP) developed in 1979. SWP uses water from the pristine mountains of British Columbia in Canada to gently remove caffeine until the coffee beans are 99.9% caffeine-free. Non-SWP decaf coffees can be between 96-97% caffeine-free.

 Courtesy of The Swiss Water Process

Courtesy of The Swiss Water Process

Burlap and Bean breaks down the process. 

SWP takes a batch of unroasted green coffee beans and soaks them in hot water releasing caffeine and coffee solids (flavor). This process is repeated until all of the caffeine and coffee solids are released into the water. This water is now considered “flavor-charged” and the beans used for this process are discarded.

Next, the water passes through a carbon filter, which traps all the caffeine molecules but allows the water and coffee solids to pass through. New coffee beans are added to the water and the process to remove the caffeine is started all over. However, the flavor-charged water already contains the coffee solids so the beans being processed will not have any additional coffee solids removed. Only the caffeine is released, while the flavor remains. After 99.9% of the caffeine has been removed, the beans are removed from the water and dried retaining most if not all of their flavor and smell.


A decaf coffee drinker comes to Blue Beagle Coffee expecting excellent service and the best cup of decaf coffee in the area. Our responsibility is to provide a high-quality, excellent cup of coffee whether it is regular or decaf.

Decaffeinated coffee is generally described as lacking body and flavor. The decaffeination process usually strips subtle essentials of the beauty of the coffee. 

I wanted to create a profile that was both bold and tasty with plenty of flavor transitions. – Sal Garcia, Roaster at Blue Beagle Coffee

The organic Ethiopian Mordecofe SWP decaf coffee at Blue Beagle Coffee is roasted using our unique profile that was painstakingly tested and revised a number of times until the team could agree on the best tasting roast profile. Our proprietary roast includes two peaks. The first peak is to accent the body and boldness that you see in a typical French roast and the second peak is used to slowly bring out the caramelization. This caramelization adds transitions and provides the majority of the flavor profile. Our Ethiopian Mordecofe SWP decaf coffee has a full-body boldness, rich with chocolate and heightened by ripe fruit undertones. Sweet fudge, complemented by cashews envelop your senses with dried fruit and candy, finishing with a velvety earthiness.

SWP decaf coffee is 100% chemical free, and we invite you to come try a cup; taste the difference.



Jason - Former Tea Guy & Super Taster

Buy a lottery ticket if you catch Jason -- it might be your lucky day, because sightings of him are extremely rare.  You might see him only a few hours of the week at Blue Beagle, but his presence is definitely here.  He is always giving his input for every product we make or carry, using his super palate. When he's not at the shop, he's marketing something, doing homework, watching sports, and / or planning his next joke, meal or trip.