Colombian E.A. (ethyl acetate) decaf offerings are special in more ways than one: First, they're cupped specifically for their quality and sourced by single-origin, either region or farm. Cafe Imports call them Decaf De Caña because they're custom decaffeinated in Colombia, using a special, natural process that utilises a solvent of ethyl acetate, which can be derived from fermented sugar. Cafe Imports staff has personally visited the decaffeination plant several times, and we are impressed by the process as well as the quality in the cup!
Ethyl acetate (E.A.) decaffeination is a natural process that maintains the integrity of green-coffee flavour.
Ethyl acetate occurs naturally in many fruits, which is why this method is often referred to as natural decaffeination. This method requires a thorough steaming of the beans until they swell. An ethyl acetate aqueous solution is used to wash the swollen beans repeatedly. Ethyl acetate is a polar molecule, which makes it a good solvent for capturing the polar caffeine molecules from the coffee beans, since “like dissolves like.” The caffeine molecules bond to the ethyl acetate molecules and migrate through the cell membranes of cells of the beans.(The beans will contain a maximum of 0.01–0.03% caffeine.)