THE SPARKLING WATER DECAFFEINATION PROCESS
This process was ﬁrst discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaﬀeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaﬀeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caﬀeine in coﬀee. It is a gentle, natural and organically certiﬁed process and the good caﬀeine selectivity of the carbon di- oxide guarantees a high retention level of other coﬀee components which contribute to taste and aroma.
The process is outlined below:
When green beans are treated with a mixture of water and pressurised liquid carbon dioxide, the caffeine molecules become mobile and can essentially be washed out of the coffee. The carbon dioxide acts as a magnet to the caffeine which is then evaporated out of the water until the liquid becomes caffeine free. The beans are then dried gently ready for roasting.
The beneﬁts of using this process for decaﬀeination:
• The agent used for extracting the caﬀeine is entirely natural and the process can be classiﬁed as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coﬀee that has been decaﬀeinated in this way.
• The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaﬀeination has no eﬀect on the ﬂavour and aroma of the ﬁnished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to ﬂavour and smell.
• The cell structure of the green bean and the ﬁnished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coﬀees.
• The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.