How Decaffeinated Coffee Is Made - WITHOUT Harmful Chemicals

Have you ever wondered how decaf coffee is made? We’ll give you the low-down on everything you need to know about decaffeinating coffee. 


The journey of decaf coffee traces back to 1905 when chemists embarked on the quest to remove caffeine from green coffee beans before roasting. Early methods employed harsh chemicals reminiscent of paint strippers—horrifying! 

Thankfully, modern techniques have evolved, yet some still raise eyebrows due to their questionable safety. 

For example, methods utilizing ethyl acetate and methylene chloride currently persist among the coffee world. However, just last week, an article on WebMD came out calling for methylene chloride used to decaffeinate coffee be banned or clearly labeled. The EPA just announced new rules in which the use of methylene chloride will be reduced or banned for industrial and consumer purposes. 

According to a 2020 report from an activist organization called the Clean Label Project, methylene chloride was found in 10 of 24 tested decaf coffee products - eek!

At Jim’s Organic Coffee, we remain steadfast in our commitment to water-based decaffeination, WITHOUT any harmful chemicals. 

At our core, we prioritize health and quality, which is why we swear by (and always have) the Swiss Water Process for decaffeination. 

Our decaf selection caters to all tastes, ranging from light to dark and even flavored options. Most importantly, ALL of our decaf coffees are made by using the Swiss Water Process. 

Here’s why we stand by the Swiss Water Process for crafting exceptional decaf coffee:

Swiss Water Process is an 100% chemical free and gentle method that eliminates 97% of caffeine. In this process, small batches of raw coffee beans mingle with pure water, employing osmosis to extract caffeine molecules. 

Beyond its efficacy, we applaud Swiss Water Process for its dedication to sustainability, supporting initiatives for water conservation such as Grounds for Health and World Coffee Research.

Here’s a closer look at how the Swiss Water Process unfolds:


Step 1: Coffee Beans arrive at a Swiss Water Processing Facility and are cleaned and hydrated with pure local water. The hydration of beans allows for the removal of caffeine.

Step 2: Green Coffee Extract (CGE) is introduced to the beans in tanks. The CGE creates an environment where the caffeine leaves the bean until the ration of soluble compounds in the CGE and the compounds in coffee reach the point of equilibrium. Caffeine and CGE flow through carbon filters until all of the caffeine is trapped and removed from the CGE. The CGE can then be used again in the next batch to remove more caffeine.

Step 3: Coffee is monitored for 10 hours to make sure that the temperature, CGE flow and time controls are exactly where they should be. This yields a coffee that is almost completely caffeine free.

Step 4: The unroasted beans are dried and shipped to us, where we roast them to perfection, package them in our one-way valve bags, and send them off to our customers.

Swiss Water Process has been the choice for specialty coffee roasters for years, and we’re proud to partner with them for all of our decaf coffees. Our commitment to delicious, healthy and safe coffee means that all of our beans have the SWP stamp right on the bag.

Check out our full line-up of decaf offerings here: SHOP JIM'S DECAFS