Guatemala – Decaf MC – SHB EP B19273
SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) is a term used to classify coffees grown above 1350 meters.
Coffees of any process (Washed, Natural, Honey, etc) can be processed for decaffeination. The decaffeination itself takes place after the coffee has been harvested, processed, and had its parchment layer removed; most of the time, coffees need to be sent to specific facilities to be decaffeinated, rather than having the caffeine removed at the mill level.
At present, there is no such thing as genetically decaffeinated coffee, which means that decaf coffee needs to be created by physically removing the caffeine from green coffee seeds. Most of today’s decaf processing methods are sophisticated and thorough and can remove 99 percent of the caffeine naturally present in coffee.
Like those used in other decaffeination processes, methylene chloride - or MC - is a solvent that is used to bond with and strip caffeine molecules from the green coffee seed. The MC process first uses hot water to extract caffeine and other solubles from the coffee seeds, and then the seeds are removed from the water. Methylene chloride is then added to the water solution, and it bonds with the caffeine; because MC is not miscible with water, it is easily removed from the solution along with the bonded caffeine, and the coffee seeds are re-submerged in order to absorb their soluble compounds. The United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that MC is safe for use in decaffeination processes, and is harmless to humans in consumption of 10 parts per million (ppm) or less. Coffee decaffeinated using this method has been shown to contain a fraction of that safe amount.
For more information about coffee production in Guatemala, visit our Guatemala page.