Industrial decaffeination was successfully introduced in 1905 by the German coffee company Café HAG. There are now various ways of extracting the caffeine from green coffee beans. To produce its caffeine-free beans, JURA uses the chemical-free method that was developed at the end of the 1970s by the Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company. Swiss Water Process (SWP)
The first step is to soak the beans in hot water until all the caffeine and other solids are released into the water. The beans from this initial stage of the process are discarded.
The water containing the caffeine and other coffee solids then passes through an active carbon filter, which retains the caffeine molecules. New coffee beans are then added to the now caffeine-free water. Because the water already contains dissolved coffee solids, this time only the caffeine is released and the other flavour components of the beans are retained. The process is repeated until 99.9% of the caffeine has been removed, as caffeine-free coffee is not allowed to contain more than 0.1% caffeine.
The beans are then dried, allowing most of their flavour and aroma to be retained. One disadvantage of this process is the relatively high costs, as the caffeine bound to the active carbon cannot be recovered and sold separately. Today, there are only a few factories worldwide that use the Swiss Water Process.