Our first decaf selection is here. But why are we doing this again? Here’s your answer.

Our first decaf selection is here. But why are we doing this again? Here’s your answer.

Time to make tasty decaf coffees more accessible. And to this end, we're partnering with a new batch of roasters including Man Met Bril

 

Have you ever had ‘too much’ coffee? I mean, so much that you actually started getting more tired? I have this all the time. Probably because I drink like 4-5 cups a day. This is often referred to as a ‘caffeine crash’ or ‘caffeine withdrawal fatigue’ and is caused by drinking excessive amounts of caffeine that can overload your nervous system and disrupt your body’s supply of adenosine, the neurostimulant that promotes sleep and relaxation.

I have told myself for the longest time that I can drink coffee even late at night because my body is so used to it now but that is also not really correct. It does have side effects. So what can you do when you still want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee without getting overcaffeinated? Well, you could consider having a really tasty cup of decaf and please do hear me out before you say ‘decaf? Are you serious? That stuff is garbage!’

Decaf has traditionally had a very bad rap because in all fairness, it used to taste really bad. Back in the day, it felt like the only people who drank decaf were people with a medical condition or pregnant women. If a café offered decaf at all, it was usually kept in some faraway cupboard, already preground or stale as f*ck. In a way, I feel like there are strong parallels between decaf and non-alcoholic drinks. Only ten years ago, you would find it near impossible to score a tasty non-alcoholic beer or alc-free sparkling wine. They either tasted like malt beer or sweet grape juice. Undrinkable.

Since I have been living my life 100% sober for more than three years, I’m quite familiar with the super positive developments that have happened in the no/low alcohol segment making it really easy to live your life sober these days. Gone are the days when drinking an alcohol free beer was embarrassing. The same is becoming ever truer of decaf but it still lacks the same level of visibility and availability that regular coffee enjoys. Thankfully, this is changing.

Earlier this year came one of the biggest celebrations of everything decaf when Man Met Bril, a visionary roaster from Rotterdam, opened a decaf pop up for one week. It was such a daring venture that it garnered a lot of press and interest from coffee lovers and curious folk alike. I found it so exciting that I drove down to Rotterdam one day to check it out and I was really impressed. Decorated in a gorgeous marine blue, a colour traditionally associated with decaf, this pop up was packed and buzzing with customers drinking Man met Bril’s various decaf options on site or taking bags of beans back home with them to enjoy later.

I later caught up with my friend and founder of Man met Bril Paul Sharo to ask him what motivated him to open this pop up. He explained to me that when he started in coffee more than ten years ago, he was always being told that you couldn’t roast Kenyan coffees for espresso or that you couldn’t light roast naturals. He felt like rather than seeing what could be possible, people were always telling him what was impossible.

There is a real demand for these sorts of coffees…

The same was true for decafs. Ever the ugly duckling, decaf was suddenly emerging as the handsome swan that noone saw coming. Paul recalled a cupping he organised for a bunch of local baristas who were adamant that decaf tasted bad. He snuck a few really high quality decafs into the cupping and thoroughly enjoyed seeing peoples’ reactions when they discovered how different decaf could taste. It tasted good!

These days, many importers are offering a growing number of decafs that are changing the way we understand and view these coffees and giving us access to a wider range of coffees than ever before. To this end, importers are employing a variety of decaffeination methods that include the Swiss Water/Mountain water, Sugarcane, CO2 and Dichloromethane methods. Each method has its unique characteristic and mechanic but what most of them share in common is that the green beans are steamed before they are treated with one of the aforementioned methods to extract the caffeine. Indeed, some are known to leave a more complex flavour than others and improvements are being made constantly.

Next to the fully decaffeinated coffees, what’s also trending at the moment are low caffeine coffees that have a significantly reduced level of caffeine either because the variety used has a low caffeine level or because the caffeine was reduced later. Again, I am drawing comparisons with the alcohol industry where there are also a growing number of low alcohol options that offer just a little buzz rather than the full monty.

What was interesting to learn during my conversation with Paul was that decaf has become a really big seller at Man met Bril’s cafĂ© in Rotterdam. “We are selling a lot of bags in our cafĂ© and online. There is a real demand for these sorts of coffees and the more we shed light on them, the more people are willing to try them,” Paul explained.

Indeed this was also part of the motivation why we wanted to add our own decaf selection to our monthly offerings. Though still comparatively small, there is growing demand from our customer base who are looking for tasty decaf or low caffeine options to add to their daily routine and I’m thrilled that we were able to partner with Man met Bril for the first such selection.

This includes two really tasty coffees from their current coffee lineup. One is a washed Colombian coffee from La Serrania that was processed with the sugarcane method and the other is a lovely washed Ethiopian coffee from Shakisso that was processed with the CO2 method. Both of these picks offer a flavourful and rounded cup with a nice acidity. While they might not have as much vibrancy and floral notes as their caffeinated counterparts, they are still super tasty and highly enjoyable and I’m glad we got to put them in our program.


To try our new decaf selection., order our decaf one-off box from our shop.

Pre-orders close on 15.06.2024 / Ships globally on 20.06.2024

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