Starbucks response to "Decaf" questionsPosted on Jan 29th 2007 6:37PM by Brian White
I wrote to the PR folks at Starbucks over the weekend to have a few questions answered on how that company decaffeinates its various coffees.
The reason? Well, there are many ways to get the caffeine out of coffee beans and I was interested in the way Starbuck's does this with all the various 'flavors' of decaf it offers.
Here is the response I received -- enjoy!
Starbucks uses two methods of decaffeination: the direct contact method and the Swiss water process. With direct contact, a solvent (methylene chloride) is introduced to the green coffee beans as they soak. The solvent bonds with the caffeine in the beans and removes it. The solvent is then taken away from the beans and the coffee is roasted at over 400*F. Since the solvent has a much lower boiling point (114*F) the coffee bean that come from this process produce a cup of coffee that has no detectable trace of methylene chloride.
The Swiss water process involves using hot water and steam to remove caffeine from the coffee. Then the solution is run through charcoal filters (similar to a giant water filter) to remove the caffeine. Currently our retail stores offer one coffee that is processed using the Swiss water method. It is called the Decaffeinated Komodo Dragon Blend.