Brazil – Decaf
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Regions: São João do Manhuaçu, Matas de Minas
Owners: Fazenda Dutra / Dutra Family
Process: Sparkling water (decaf)
Varietal: Red & Yellow Catuai
Notes: Clementine with hazelnut brittle and a smooth milk chocolate lasting creamy body
Find out more about the farmers
Sparkling water decaf process
The family business started in the 1950s when José Dutra Sobrinho (Zeca Dutra) – father of Ednilson and Walter – began cultivation in Minas Gerais, with just over 1 hectare of land. ‘Zeca’ Dutra saw the potential in the land despite the farm’s small size and applied his passion for coffee farming to expand and improve the farm.
Zeca Dutra passed away in September of 1999, leaving over 300 hectares of coffee to his sons, Walter and Ednilson. They decided that in order to make the most of their father’s legacy, they needed to invest heavily in their education as a means of moving the farms forward into the new century. They’ve worked tirelessly not only on the farms themselves but also to expand their base of knowledge so that they can apply the best possible practices to their farming. The brothers are producers of specialty and organic coffees that are synonymous with quality and differentiation, inside and outside the country.
Dutra Farms (Fazendas Dutra) are located in the beautiful region of Matas de Minas, in São João do Manhuaçu which is 300km inland from the east coast of Brazil. The coffee production takes place through hand crafted processes that make can be tasted in the final cup. Production takes place in a mountainous region, approximately 1400 meters above sea level.
The sparkling water decaffeination process
This process was first discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaffeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaffeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caffeine in coffee. It is a gentle, natural and organically certified process and the good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees a high retention level of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.
The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
- The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
- This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
- The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.
There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:
- The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
- The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
- The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees.
- The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.
There are more than 1300 hectares of land, among which, 800 hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of coffees planted in contour lines and the remainder destined to the production of more than two hundred tons of avocados together with coffee. In addition, the properties are self-sustaining in the production of eucalyptus, which are reused during the harvest period and in the coffee drying machines.
This lot comes from the lower levels of the farm between 1000 - 1200masl. Due to the topography of the land all harvesting takes place by hand. After picking the coffee is separated and then dried on patios for 13 - 15 days.