Can anyone help me find flavorful, rich beans that are decaffeinated? I've found bitter & bland but nothing to compare to my regular beans with caffeine, which I've been getting at Gourmet Garage in New York. Maybe there's a mail-order source?
At the risk of great flames from others on this and the other coffee site, try our online store at Tomascoffee.comNow roasting a Swiss Water Decaf from Guatemala.
Thanks. There are others that also have such fresh roasted beans.
That is the key, deal with a speciality or custom roaster and insist on fresh roasted beans. Please keep in mind that the speciality beans - Arabica beans- that most of us roast have a fraction (about 40% or less) of the caffine of store-bought-junk-coffee. Unless you are alergic to caffine, might not be a bad idea to try some of the (regular) Arabica beans.
OK. I'll say it. I know somethings are better known by all than spoken. But, Sybil is a new member and she deserves to know. . .
'...rich flavorful decaf beans' are an oxymoron. They ain't to be found when you compare 'em with Arabica (regular) beans. The decaf process has made great strides recently, but alas, decaf beans are not the same as regular beans. Period.
OK, folks, who's gonna stand up for the decaf beans?
Let's see "Good Decaf"...Hummm...That's a hard one. A great deal depends on what single origins you like, in addition, there are some good blends as well. You see decaf does not grow as decaf, it is a process that they go through after the cherries been picked. The next thing to consider is the roast. Some roast the %$#@ out of them and end up with bitter tastes, whereas others may not roast them quite as long which can also create a bitter taste. So to make a long story short, I'd have to agree with T.S., Unless you are alergic to caffine, might not be a bad idea to try some of the (regular) Arabica beans.[/i]
Personally, I think it is all in the roast. Most roasters, mentioned earlier in this thread, roast the heck out of the coffee, or underroast them. Someone who knows what they are doing, and actually cares about the end result can roast decaf coffees so that they are indistinguishable in flavor and aroma from their cafffeinated brothers. By the way-even if they are decaffeinated, they are still arabica. They come from the the same trees.
Agreed. They do come from the same trees. It's susprising how many people don't know that. I agree, decaf drinkers deserve just as much respect when enjoying a great cup of coffee as their counterparts. Any roaster that takes pride in what they produce will do their best to serve them as well. Fact is, some people have a hard time telling the difference between some of our decafs (single origins) and their counterparts.
You could also go to Batdorf & Bronson's site www.batdorf.com/ and look for their decaf espresso. I haven't had it, but I work with the woman who used to be their master roaster and have a lot of respect for every coffee she has worked on that I have tried.
Decaf for espresso is indeed a conundrum. My favorite technique is to blend a really good regular espresso 50/50 with a good decaf espresso blend and get "half-caf". That way I can drink twice as much espresso without getting jittery :grin:
Many people either can't handle caffeine and still want espresso or can't sleep at night if they drink anything with caffeine after a certain time of day. Rather than tell them that all decaf sucks let's consider what the least of all evils is....
IMHO that would be a fresh roasted decaf espresso blend that you buy on or just after the day or roasting. If you're not going to use the beans during the next 2 -3 days just package one day portions in small tightly sealed ziplocs, place them all in an airtight container and then put into deep freeze. Pull out a one day supply as need and never ever open the baggie until ti's thawed to room temp for several hours. This process ensures that moisture doesn't condense on the beans you pulled out and also doesn't affect the beans that remain in the freezer. Properly handled, these beans will perform really well for about 2 - 3 months after being frozen, possibly longer.
Regular beans have about a 7 - 10 day window for best quality if stored properly after roasting - decaf is perhaps half that (don't know why but I know it's true).
SWP (Swiss Water Process) is recognized or considered by many to be the most environmentally sound way of removing caffeine because it uses no chemicals. There are some other process for decaffeinating coffee that some prefer for taste reasons but SWP is fairly dominant.
One of the tricks for getting a good decaf espresso blend is to use multiple beans types in roughly equal proportions rather than relying on a neutral "base bean" such a Brazil. When blending caffeinated beans for use in espresso, the base bean supports and balances the flavor notes and highlights provided by more assertive beans of other varieties (e.g. one might use some combination of Indonesian, African, Indian or Yemeni beans in addition to the base bean). Decaf beans typically lack the punch and intensity of regular beans - using a large proportion of decaf base bean (e.g. a decaf Brazil or Colombian) in a decaf espresso blend typically yields a blend that is bland and lacks character - it's a common mistake.
I'm no guru or whiz kid when it comes to blending but when a friend of mine complained that all the decaf espresso he'd been trying really sucked, I roasted up a half pound of blend on the Alpenroast at home. I grabbed at random from the beans I had on hand
2 oz Brazil Prima Qualita
2 oz Sumatra (Indonesian)
1 oz Costa Rica Monte Cristo
3 oz Harrar (Ethiopian)
He was wowed - said it was the best decaf espresso he'd ever had (I'm sure many can do better - I'm not kidding when I say I'm an amateur in the blending arena).