Angel, sourcing director for Belco
The green coffees selected by Belco for decaffeination are sourced by our teams only, with no intermediaries, and from the most recent harvests.
We decaffeinate your coffees using 100% natural methods, with no chemical processes. And because our coffees have nothing to hide, we systematically control their caffeine content and check there are no chemical residues in the organic coffees.
Our Belco lab has developed its own quality control method to most effectively meet the specific requirements of decaffeinated coffee.
Being able to offer quality decaffeinated coffee is one thing – being able to reduce its carbon footprint is another! To optimise sea transport, we prefer to decaffeinate them as near as possible to the area where they’re produced. We therefore process half of our green coffees directly in their countries of origin, in Mexico and Colombia. The other coffees are decaffeinated mostly in Europe, as near as possible to our Belco warehouses.
Water decaffeination uses the principle of osmosis, according to which two solutions separated by a permeable membrane will balance their caffeine concentrations, from the least concentrated medium to the most concentrated.
For the Sueño & Manzanilla coffees, Belco has partnered with two companies that specialise in water decaffeination, Descamex & Swiss Water.
Decaffeination with carbon dioxide is the most recent method, developed by Kurt Zosel in the 1960s. It makes use of natural liquid CO2, which becomes a selective caffeine extractor under subcritical conditions.
Belco is developing this technology in collaboration with the German company CR3, which has elaborated its own methodology: Natural Carbon Dioxide Decaffeination.
Under ideal (subcritical) temperature and pressure conditions, liquid CO2 can selectively separate caffeine from green coffee. In our experience, it is a method that respects the coffee’s original organoleptic characteristics.
Ethyl acetate is a derivative of sugar cane, which is commonly used for selective caffeine extraction. It gives the coffee fruity notes.
Once decaffeinated, coffee becomes slightly sweeter.