Swiss Water Process
The gold standard in decaffeination, the Swiss Water Process removes up to 99.9% of the caffeine content while allowing the coffee to retain most of its natural flavors and aromas. This process preserves the integrity of the coffee by soaking unroasted beans in green coffee extract instead of water to safeguard against flavor loss. Gaggia decaffeinated coffee use the Swiss Water Process exclusively.
Much harsher than the Swiss Water Process, the Solvent Method makes use of methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to strip the beans of caffeine, after they have been steamed for approximately half and hour. This is a relatively inexpensive method of decaffeination.
Carbon Dioxide Method
Though less environmentally friendly than the Swiss Water Process, the Carbon Dioxide Method can also be used to remove caffeine. With this method, carbon dioxide is added to water to create sparkling water, which is then used to draw the caffeine out of unroasted beans.
Next time you're shopping for decaf, consider the process and methods behind the buzz-free beans.