Decaf - It'll keep your spirits high

Here, I'll say it for you. "Uh, WHAT?!?! Did, you actually just say that Decaf coffee will keep your spirits high? You are off your rocker and have no place working at Parlour!" Well, you're probably right about the rocker thing, and I'll leave my employment here up to the Norse gods that Nils' ancestors probably worshipped, but I stand by my statement. Why? Well, for starters, why would one drink coffee that is decaffeinated? Here are a few reasons, all legitimate (trust me I tried to think of some disparaging remarks about it, but I couldn't):

  1. They are with child and have opted to eliminate caffeine from their system. Respect.
  2. You like to sleep and you also like coffee. That works. Decaf can help with both.
  3. One day, they are walking down the street and, maybe they are feeling a bit off, like they got up on the wrong side of the bed. They see a bird flying through the sky and suddenly a thought, out of nowhere, occurs to them -- That bird could just fall right out of the sky, knocking off my spectacles, which land such that they cast a glare into an automobile drivers eyes, who, blinded by the light veers off the road and starts driving on the sidewalk ... ushering in the apocalypse. Their heart begins to beat eratically, their palms sweat, they have a weird momentary sharp painful headache that comes and goes called an icepick headache. Whoa! Bummer! That my friends, is very irrational and can be very real and if you seek appropriate medical attention, may be told that you suffered a panic attack or an anxiety attack. I'm with ya, and for a long time I myself drank only decaffeinated coffee. Why? Because the experience and social aspects of coffee drinking kept me coming back. My friends ordered whatever they wanted, I ordered something decaffeinated that tasted close to what I would normally get. That time has come and gone for me, and now I drink a billion coffees a day ... but I get ya decaf drinkers ... you are legitimate coffee drinkers, no matter how many people show you their lame "death before decaf" tattoo -- because well, with your anxiety, you already died a bit. Blamo! More like, "Decaf or die." I'd almost be inclined to say that hardcore decaf drinkers are more thoughtful about drinking coffee than many caffeine swillin' coffee addicts.

Ooops, got carried away there. Of course there are other reasons that are great. But this is what I'm really here to tell you: Our decaf is awesome. It was awesome nearly 4 years ago when we opened, and it's awesome now. We use the decaffeinated coffees roasted by Calgary's Phil & Sebastian who we trust to do as good a roasting job with decaf as they have proven to do with the rest of their coffee. It's good. 

Two methods of decaffeination are used at Parlour Coffee. If you don't have a chemistry degree (I don't either), read on and click the links. They are only moderately technical at times: 

Ethel Acetate - P&S have previously been roasting a decaf coffee from Colombia using the Ethel Acetate method of extracting caffeine from the coffee bean. This method has been slapped with the term "natural" because it exists in small amounts in ripening fruits. It has been found by many, including Phil & Sebastian and 49th Parallel (both roasters are featured weekly on Parlour's shelves) to yield a more "true" taste once the caffeine has been removed. It yields a better result, than, say, Methylene Chloride does. Both are solvent based methods of decaffeination, and while Ethyl Acetate is, in it's purest form, a naturally occurring compound, it exists in such small quantities in fruit that it is impractical to use in large scale coffee decaffeination. Instead, it is often "produced commercially from ethyl alcohol and acetic acid." The Ethyl Acetate used in the Colombian decaf from P&S was a byproduct of sugar cane production. The results they got were good, but it was just too difficult to trace the source of the producer.  Check out more info on solvent based methods here: Decaffeination 101.

Swiss Water Process - Many of you have asked if we were using Swiss Water process decaf and our lame response to you before was, "well, no ... it's Ethyl Acetate, which many think yield a better taste." We don't know, though. Swiss Water always seemed like a pretty sweet deal to us. P&S have told us they are finally roasting enough decaf to be able to feasibly have some of their coffee sent to the Swiss Water Process facility in Vancouver, Canada. This new Decaf is one of P&S' long-time producing partners - The Bonilla Family, in Costa Rica. 

In the opinions of Phil & Sebastian, who we trust and have proved their merit by consistently roasting amazing coffee, the people at Swiss Water are great and have advanced their process "many-fold" even in just the last five years. Sidenote for nerds: Swiss Water is based in Burnaby, but "Burnaby Water Process" sounds ... well ... we love you Burnaby! Truth be told, the process was invented in Switzerland so ... legitimacy! How does it work? Oh snap! I'm glad you asked!

  1. Soak a batch o' beans in piping hot water to dissolve the caffeine
  2. Get sad about how you lost loads of flavour when you performed that task
  3. Give this water a name because you're bored. Call it Green Coffee Extract (GCE)
  4. Throw away the green coffee and cry big tears into your pillow at night
  5. Come up with an innovative plan to run the GCE through carbon filters removing only the caffeine
  6. Take a new batch of coffee and soak it in hot GCE instead of H20 -- The GCE is already saturated with coffee oils and flavour compounds and so it doesn't take any more delicious flavours outta dem wee beans -- just caffeine
  7. Enjoy a coffee that doesn't make your heart flutter faster than it should and that still tastes like "dark chocolate, roasted nuts, and black raspberry." 

BTW -- Those are the tasting notes for the new Don Mayo Decaf, from Costa Rica. 

It's on the shelves now, but not yet in our grinders. We'll be pulling shots of this stuff soon so you can get as un-wired and sleepy as you want to be! Party off!!