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Is there such a thing as truly excellent decaf?


Fat Guy
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If your not doing home roasting or if you'd enjoy a decaf coffee that tastes equal to or better them the majority of fresh brewed coffees i'd like to suggest trying a coffee that not as dark roasted as Starbucks or Peets, that are essentially from the same origin but to enjoy. Vienna Roast Decaf, brewed and roasted by the "Thanksgiving Coffee Company", located in Fort Bragg, California.

I have been recommending this to many different restaurants during the last 17 years, where it's been served either thru the standard drip method in carafes or brewed to order in expresso machines with great customer satisfaction.

For some reason the Vienna Roast has very good taste and character, and seems to please the many decafe drinkers who have gone out of their way to compliment or even purchase the brew.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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I never liked decaf until I started roasting. Now I love it. Its a great alternative. How about a sweet medium roasted organic fair trade Mexican brewed really strong in the French press with a bit of frothed 1/2 & 1/2 on top? Mmmm good!

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I still doubt there is a decaffeinated bean that is competitive with a regular bean of similar quality if both are home roasted.

I agree with the above statement but as regards whether there is such a thing as truly good if not great tasting decaf the answer is yes. It's worth noting that fresh roasted decaf has a much shorter shelf life than fresh roasted regular beans.

I rarely drink decaf but recentlytook home a half pound of fresh roasted beans (about two days after roasting them) to brew coffee for Thanksgiving guests. It was our standard SWP (Swiss Water Process) decaf blend - one third each of Colombian, Sulawesi and Sumatran. I brewed it in a vacuum pot and was really blown away by the result. Despite not being quite as full bodied and robust as regular coffee, it was so close to regular coffee that few people if any, would notice the difference.

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The La Colombe Monte Carlo decaf blend is about as tasty as one could hope for for decaf coffee. It still has a relatively deep flavor profile and doesn't taste watered down or "stripped" like a lot of decaf coffees do.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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So let's recap, shall we? Consensus, as I read it, tells us:

1) all decaffeination processes will impact flavour.

2) all decaffeinated coffees are not created equal.

3) fresh-roasted is a big plus, if you're so equipped and motivated.

So, what's the best approach?

1) Push the percentages a little bit. Since the decaf process demonstrably strips out some of the flavour from the beans, we logically wish to pick a decaf which begins with the best-flavoured beans our budget will permit. This may or may not allow us to select a process, but for most of us it probably won't.

2) Get the freshest-roasted beans we can. Some of us roast at home; for those who don't there are coffee vendors in many cities who roast their own daily-to-weekly. If we do not home-roast, certainly we could investigate the roasting schedules of our neighbourhood purveyors, no?

3) Learn to make good coffee, if we haven't already done so (most Gulletters will be up to speed on this, I'd expect). The best beans in the world won't do you any good in a $10 coffee maker from Wal-Mart. Tips, techniques, and hardware discussion are free and plentiful here.

Did I miss anything?

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Did I miss anything?

Not that I can see. I would add that a Melitta cone and filter are typically available for about $6 and can be used to brew directly into a cheap thermal carafe. That's what I was using until I switched to a vacuum pot and it made fantastic coffee. More work and a bit more mess than a dri[ maker but not by much and the results are consistently good.

I'll also advise that fresh roasted decaf does not have the same shelf life as fresh roasted regular coffee. If properly stored regular is good for ten days after roasting... make it about five for decaf before the deterioration really starts. Best to bag up 1 day to 2 day packs of beans in ziploc's and freeze them, then pull out by the single bagto thaw the night before using. Don't open the bag until it's thawed and you'll avoid condensation and moisture issues with the beans. For most of us it's not practical to stop at a roaster every few days and we often don't use up the coffee quicklyt enough anyway (not to mention that there are places such as where I roast that only sell by the half pobnd or pound).

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Caffeine is flavorless, odorless, colorless, is it not?
Barq's Root Beer contains caffeine"

Wait a minute, are you saying that caffeine gives Barq its bite?

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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Caffeine is flavorless, odorless, colorless, is it not?
Barq's Root Beer contains caffeine"

Wait a minute, are you saying that caffeine gives Barq its bite?

You are correct, sir.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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