Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roaster's Question 2: Is truly high-end decaf really even available?

Back in May we started this series on "roasters questions regarding decaf." The first question appears in the May 6 blog. Today's question: "Is truly high-end decaf really even available, since such large volumes of beans are needed for minimum toll decaffing?"

Answer: Available? Yes. Easy to find? No. And if you do find it, there might not be a lot of it. Artisan Coffee Imports is trying to help roasters overcome these two issues related to availability. Its business model is to become the "go-to" source for roasters who want a reliable and high quality decaf. They don't want to waste precious time searching through more than the average number of samples for something that meets their quality criteria, but is only 15-20% of their volume, tops.

The best ways to find out if an importer puts any time and effort into the quality of the decaf is to ask questions about the cupping scores and the traceability to origin. The importers listed on this webpage are places that will have reasonable answers to those questions. Or you can contact any of the roasters listed here and find out where they get their great tasting decaf. Finally, Coffee Review will focus on "decaf Blends" in their up-coming July 2010 issue. Check this blog for comments when that comes out!

Next roaster's question, "
how does one keep exceptional decaf beans from losing their exceptional character over time?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Research: Caffeine Users Not More Alert

New research in the U.K. appears to show that people who use caffeine on a daily basis are not more alert than people who rarely or never use caffeine. The article (click here), published June 2, 2010, in The Guardian, is unfortunately poorly written. They talk about "coffee drinkers" instead of "caffeine users", but the tests were done with caffeine pills. The fact that the author, Jacob Aron, equates caffeine pills with coffee drinking is strange for several reasons. First, since he's writing in the U.K., why wouldn't he equate caffeine use with tea-drinking? Second, he obviously hasn't heard of decaffeinated coffee, since it wasn't mentioned. And lastly, everyone in the specialty coffee industry should bristle when journalists project the idea that the coffee beverage is simply a liquid, widely available form of a caffeine pill!

The article would have been more impressive had the author mentioned that decaf coffee drinkers and non-caffeinated tea drinkers would be included in the "alert but abstaining from caffeine" group. And I would submit, at least this decaf drinker is better able to interpret the research on caffeine.

Find more information on great tasting decaf coffee at www.artisancoffeeimports.com.