Decaffeinating coffee is not a perfect process. Coffee needs to be 97% caffeine-free to be considered decaf by the USDA. A typical 12 ounce drip coffee brewed by Specialty Coffee Association guidelines contains 180-235 mg. of caffeine. This means your 12 oz. decaf may contain 5-7 mg of caffeine.
Water Process Decaf
Water Process is one of 4 major methods used to decaffeinate coffee and the only one Sky Mountain purchases. The resulting decaf is 99.9% caffeine-free and utilizes water instead of chemicals to remove the caffeine.
How It Works
The green coffee beans are first immersed in water. This causes the water-soluble compounds, which include flavor and caffeine, to leech out of the beans and into the water. The coffee and caffeine-saturated water is then taken through a caffeine filtering process that removes the caffeine molecules. Finally, the green coffee beans are then re-immersed in the caffeine-free, but coffee flavor-saturated, water. After drying, the decaf coffee is repackaged for use.
What Is Bruising?
If you look at the picture above you notice that the unroasted raw decaf coffee beans look almost roasted. This is a side effect of the decaffeination process called "bruising". All methods of decaffeination bruise the beans, some more, some less.