What is the Swiss Water Decaf Process and why do we use it?

At Koa coffee we use the Swiss Water Process® to decaffeinate our beans, because as producers of premium Kona coffee, we believe in doing all we can to protect the integrity and unique characteristics of our product and ensure utmost quality from farm to cup.

In keeping with this philosophy, we’ve found the Swiss Water Process® to be an ideal, solvent-free decaffeination method that makes the most of three elements: water, temperature and time. While the process was originally developed around 1933, it was further developed and refined around 2007 into what it is today - a process free of harsh chemicals that lets us provide you with the same premium coffee you know and love, minus the caffeine!

To many coffee enthusiasts, decaf has struggled with a long lasting stigma due to harsh chemical processes, and less than ideal results have not done it’s reputation any favors... but would it surprise you to learn that this perception is outdated, and that the Swiss Water Process® is a clean, chemical free process that removes 99.9% of the caffeine while leaving everything else you love about coffee intact?

How does it work?

First, the green beans are cleaned then hydrated with pure water in order to prepare them for caffeine removal. Our premium Kona beans are not blended with any others varieties - Pure Kona beans go in, pure Kona beans come out - only the caffeine is left behind!

Then, Green Coffee Extract - water with soluble coffee compounds and no caffeine or flavor of its own, is introduced to the beans. The beans are immersed in this solution and the caffeine then begins to soak out of the green beans and into the GCE until the ratio of compounds in the GCE and beans reach the point of equilibrium.

Now that the extract is saturated with caffeine molecules, it is passed through proprietary carbon filters specifically designed to remove the caffeine. Once the extract is again caffeine free, it is passed back through to the green beans, and the cycle continues for roughly 10 hours per batch of coffee - with regular checks on GCE flow, time, temperature and more to ensure a 99.9% caffeine free batch of coffee is the result.