I have been struggling to dial in my go to decaf blend. With my prior Lelit E it was hit and miss. With my new Decent it’s been mostly miss until I find the combination of a profile and recipie that works. Then I read this about bean quality. Could it be the beans that I buy? Any other suggestions (recipes or profiles) are welcome. The following is quoted from another forum.
*Decaf is a big reason I got into roasting. I drink decaf espresso roasted from small-lot 85+ green (un-roasted) coffee from noon onwards pretty much every day. It pulls pretty much the same as similar un-decaffeinated coffee on my lever machines. However, it does grind differently.
(“Specialty-grade” green (un-roasted) coffee is graded 80+, great specialty coffee is about 85+, awesome coffee is 90+. I’ve never heard of a 90+ coffee that has been decaffinated. A typical “punches through milk” espresso blend has maybe 10% specialty-grade coffee in it.)
The big issue is decaffeinating green beans costs money, so inferior beans must be used to hit the same retail selling price as regular coffee. For example, the un-decaf’d green coffees that I usually buy would sell at retail for, say, $25 a pound; the same coffee decaf’d would be over $30. Also, until fairly recently, the decaffeinating process had a fairly large fixed cost, so it was only practical for large lots, which are typically of lower quality than small lots sourced from individual farmers/collectives/washing stations. However, decaffeination companies like Swiss Water will now do smaller lots, so “specialty-grade” decaf green coffee is available, although there is much less choice, and, if it’s a green coffee that survived the decaffeination process really well, then my experience has been that it sells out fast. (Not all coffees do well in decaffination, which is another factor driving cost.)
A while ago, I did a business case to see if I could start a micro-roastery specializing in specialty-grade decaf espresso. Even with Swiss Water helping me, I just couldn’t get the numbers to work.
All that to say that if you find a good decaf that you like, then I would suggest to buy more than you need, seal it in Mason jars or vac-pack it, and store it in your freezer.*