Q&A With Swiss Water Decaf
Swiss Water Decaf is the choice for many coffee roasters to create a smooth, unaffected decaf. We caught up with Swiss Water’s Director of Coffee, Mike Strumpf, to ask him more about the processing’s process:
What’s your fav thing about the Swiss Water Decaffeination process?
What I appreciate most about our process is that we aim to maintain the profile of the coffee before decaffeination. Some decaffeination methods tend to add flavours to the coffee, but our target is to have no change at all. This allows us to have decaffeinated coffees from all around the world that taste unique and distinct.
You do more than just decaffeinate coffee, you source coffee as well! What do you look for when finding coffee to source?
We have a wide range of coffees which we buy, decaffeinate, distribute around the world, and sell to importers and roasters. Some of these are perennial offerings that we always try to have on hand. For these offerings, we have a prototypical cup profile that we think nicely represents each country. When buying, we don’t think so much about what the process will do to the coffee. We know that our process will maintain the cup profile, so we simply buy coffees to fit our desired cup profile. We also buy coffees to pop in and out of our offerings, such as our Small Batch Series. When sourcing these, we focus on interesting cup profiles with as much traceability as possible so that we can highlight as much of the coffee supply chain as possible.
Have you noticed any trends in specialty decaf?
I have noticed specialty coffee professionals embracing decaf as coffee and not just as decaf. Paying attention to decaf means that roasters are buying nicer decaffeinated coffees and selling them with all of the source information and cupping notes they would include for their other offerings. Most roasters aren’t able to go through enough coffee to warrant their own custom run of a delicious coffee. Knowing this, we buy delicious coffees and then we can sell small quantities which allow roasters to have access to great decaf.
What makes Swiss Water stand out above the rest?
At Swiss Water, we just pay attention to the coffee and not to caffeine. Most ‘decaffeinators’ will have an operation where they process the caffeine that was removed during decaffeination; refining the caffeine into a by-product to sell. We don’t process and re-sell our caffeine, so all we focus on are the beans!