Huila Decaf

Producer: Regional Blend
Cultivar: Castillo, Caturra, Colombia
Process: Washed – Caña EA
Altitude: 1400-2000m
Harvest: October – December
Notes: Chocolatey, granola, honey
Roast: Filter and espresso

Colombia is the 3rd largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil and Vietnam – exporting approximatley nine million bags of green coffee each year. Located in southwest of the country, Huila is nestled in-between the Central and Eastern ranges of the Andes, with the middle area called the Magdalena Valley. The variation in elevation results in Huila being one of the country’s most unique and complex regions of coffee production. Its terroir, climate, and harvest cycles all contribute to the quality of coffee produced here. The most impressive quality behind the coffees coming out of Huila lies in the people producing them. While Huila accounts for nearly 20% of the country’s production, 80% of coffee producers own less than three hectares per farm.
Although this offering is not traceable to a specific farm, this lot is representative of a regional blend of fine Caturra, Castillo and Colombia varieties cultivated by smallholder producers in the central Huila region. Selectively picked, the ripe, red cherries are brought to the washing station to be de-pulped, soaked in fermenaion tanks for and dried on raised beds. Once dried in parchment, the coffee is sent to a decaffeination facility to remove the caffeine from the seeds using ethyl acetate (EA) as a solvent.

Ethyl acetate is an occurring ester which is a by-product of fermented sugars – in this case, from sugar cane. It is used as a solvent to bond with and remove caffeine from green coffee. First, the coffee is sorted and steamed for 30 minutes under low pressure to open the coffee seeds’ pores and prepare them for decaffeination. The coffee is placed in a solution of both water and ethyl acetate, where the E.A. will begin to bond with the salts of chlorogenic acids inside the seeds. The tank will be drained and re-filled over the course of eight hours until caffeine is no longer detected. The seeds are steamed once more to remove the traces of ethyl acetate.
Sourced through our friends at Café Imports, we chose this decaffeinated coffee for its smooth flavour profile with notes of milk chocolate complimented by a honey sweetness. Since the decaffeination process changes the molecular structure of the seeds – and therefore make it challenging to roast due its fragile state – we opted for a very gentle and long omni-roast profile so that the sugars are slowly caramelised without burning the coffee. We’re super happy with the results and love the granola-like nuttiness that make this coffee very easy to drink with or without milk.

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