El Carmen decaf

Decaffeinated. Mellow aromas like pears. Juicy sweetness like plums. Soft body like nougat.


El Carmen decaf

Contrary to common prejudice, we are quite supportive of decaffeinated coffee. More and more people are into specialty coffee, but have trouble finding a good, fresh decaf. We decided to look and see if we could find a coffee with a good story in line with our vision, good specialty flavour and no caffeine. After a long search we finally found it.

Please note that we offer decaf as an additional service despite (relatively) limited demand. To prevent waste, we need to be more lenient than usual with our freshness. This coffee will still be sent out two weeks after roasting.

Follow this link for advice on brewing

The story

El Carmen is an association of coffee producers in Huila, Colombia. Their producers had faced very difficult times a couple of years ago due to inconsistent rainfall. This made it too risky to dry coffee on their patio, so they had to sell it before drying to another party for processing, meaning the farmers earned even less. El Carmen asked an importer, Raw Materials, for help.

This was the start of Raw Materials’ payment structure that they use with every Colombian partner. Regardless of fluctuations on the coffee market, they pay 1M pesos / carga (125kg), making it 5 times more profitable for farmers than selling to the local market. They stimulate farmers to invest these extra profits in their farms, for instance by building canvas and sheeting for the drying coffee to prevent the rain from ruining it again.
El Carmen’s township also donated space in the local community to serve as a hub for coffee producers. Over time, this space grew into a fully equipped QC lab where producers can get their coffee graded, roasted and cupped together with the buyers.

The process

Sugarcane decaffeination is often called the natural process decaf. Ethyl acetate is an organically existing compound and by-product found most commonly in the fermentation of fruits, and is present in ripe bananas and beer for example. This decaffeination plant uses natural water from the Navado el Ruis, a volcano between Caldas and Tolima, and natural ethyl acetate from fermented sugarcane from the southern region of Palmira.

The process begins with steaming the coffee, increasing its porosity and beginning the hydrolysis of the caffeine. The beans are then submerged in an ethyl acetate solvent until 97% of the caffeine is removed. A final steam is then used to remove residual traces from the compound. The ultimate residue of ethyl acetate that remains is roughly 30 ppm, which is dramatically less than what is found in a banana.

Thank you

There is very little choice regarding decaffeinated coffee. By choosing El Carmen, you don’t only go for better flavour, but you also contribute to the success of these farmers who have shown their willingness to build and improve.

Additional information
Weight N/A

Pitalito, Huila, Colombia


1,400 – 2,100 m.a.s.l.


Caturra, Castillo


Fully washed, sugarcane decaffeinated


Intense aromas like dark chocolate and red wine. Mellow sweetness like pear and plums. Heavy body like dark chocolate.


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