What are the best decaf coffees?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
dkny3939
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Postby dkny3939 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:11 pm

What are your favorite decaf beans for (1) espresso and (2) drip/press coffee?

I bought some decaf Red Bird and it was really good (both for espresso and press), even my wife who doesn't normally drink coffee is impressed. Any other awesome beans out there that you would recommend? I am hoping to try out something not too expensive. I am currently looking to get some beans from Metropolis in Chicago. Both Red Bird and Redline seem like good value. On the other hand, the Black Cat beans are really expensive (not sure if they are worth it, since I have never tried).

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Postby Bak Ta Lo » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:00 pm

I am a huge fan of this decaf from Coffee Shrub, Guatemala La Maravilla SWP Decaf.

I buy it from a local roaster who bought a large lot from Coffee Shrub and roasts some for me each week. I use it to make SOE shots and it is one of my favorite SOE's. The flavors in it are amazing, and I cannot pull a bad shot with it, it has a very wide range. It is a good evening time bean, you can pull shots late and still sleep at night. :)

If you Google it I think you can find some US roasters selling it via mail-order. Try some, it is really a spectacular decaf.
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Postby genecounts » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:17 pm

I roast a lot of different coffees, decaf and non. My wife's fav's are the decafs. She says she has not had a bad cup past few years. I feel like that is because of the emergence of the Swiss Water Process method that has proliferated. Through the years have ordered lots from Sweet Marias. Past few years have learned to search out coffee's decaffed by the Swiss Water Process method.
In evaluating one decaf last year Tom says he can't taste the difference between decaf and non-decaf in describing the one SWP coffee.

What thrills me is getting green decaf beans from a small local commercial roaster recently. What was important was he showed me the bag....it was imprinted, "Swiss Water Processed". Hey, I snapped up 20 pounds on the spot at $5 per because I knew it was a winner.
Decaffing has come a long ways in recent years.

The SWP Peru I just roasted to City+ is a killer. Even at this light level has fab chocolate and so smooth.
When I get the Cremina in next few days(getting unbearably antsy) it will be my "test" coffee. And I echo Jeremy, hard to pull a bad shot.

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Postby d2addict » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:20 pm

Most of big names in roasting industry has decaf options on their list.
http://www.klatchroasting.com/Klatch_Coffee_Decaf_Specialty_Coffee_s/24.htm for example.

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Postby yakster » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:33 pm

News broke last week that La Colombe will be opening a decaffeination plant in Philly using a modified SWP dubbed the Philadelphia Water Process.

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Postby dkny3939 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:54 pm

Decaf is really good because I like to drink coffee after dinner but don't want my enjoyment of coffee to interfere with sleep.
It's kind of annoying switching beans in and out of the grinder. I may just weigh out my beans each time, I think that should solve the problem.

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Postby genecounts » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:24 am

Chris:

Extremely exciting. Best decaf I've ever had came from Sweet Marias. Tom took one of his really good Kenyas and sent it out of country and back. It sold out quick and I was only able to get ten pounds. This will really help us to get really affordable, great tasting decaf.
Please let us know what his mods are when you hear more. Maybe same process except greener?
Thanks Chris.
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Postby yakster » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:11 pm

I don't have any insider information or scoop on the Philadelphia Water Process, but I do keep my ear to the ground and monitor Sprudge and other coffee news and rumor sources.

I do think it is exciting when Sweet Maria's and also some of the major roasters send out their great SOE and Blends to be decaffeinated so that they can offer good, decaf coffee. I'll roast decaf for family members, but also have been known to enjoy a good decaf on occasion at the end of the day.

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Postby JohnB. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:14 pm

I picked up 10lbs of SM's Sumatepia Decaf Blend last December based on Tom's tasting notes & I wasn't disappointed. Sweet fruity shots without a hint of the typical decaf taste. Looks like it's sold out but they have the Shanga Babor blend listed now. Anyone try it yet?

Jeremy - Thanks for the heads up on the La Miravilla as I've got some of SM's Fall 2009 batch tucked away in the freezer I'd forgotten about. Suppose I should roast some & try it on the Strega.
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Bak Ta Lo
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Postby Bak Ta Lo » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:40 pm

John,

Yes, roast that up and pull some SOE shots on the Strega and let me know what you think. It is remarkable. It is a bit different in the roaster, maybe this applies to all decafs, but seems we have to drop it pretty fast after first crack to get a good SOE, at least it seems faster than the times I see my roaster normally using for non-decaf. It is also really hard to judge the roast color, it looks darker than the roast tastes in the cup.

Jeremy
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