Crown Jewel Decaf Mexico Oaxaca Sugarcane Process CJ1517 – 29728-2 – SPOT RCWHSE

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This is a sugarcane process decaffeinated coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico, produced by loosely organized smallholders and processed to remove caffeine by Cafiver. 

The flavor profile is full bodied and sweet, with notes of caramel, butter, cherry, and chocolate. 

Our roasters preferred to treat the coffee gently, drawing out longer roasting styles for best results. 

When brewed, our baristas recommend ignoring the TDS meter and trusting your palate. Try raising the water temperature in your pour-overs and use a standard ratio when you dial it as espresso. 

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

It might seem redundant to note that this sugarcane processed coffee is, in fact, quite sweet tasting, but it’s also true. 

We first encountered this coffee as a sample roast, which impressed us with its complexity, excellent body, lush sweetness, and complete lack of any “processing” flavors sometimes found in decaffeinated beans. 

Doris’ Diedrich roast shaded the coffee a little darker, and we found deep dark chocolate and cacao nib tones paired with deep cherry flavor and a light persimmon note. Evan’s long but gentle Bullet roast pulled out more milk than dark chocolate, and he found some acidity in the form of apple and lime. And Isabella’s Ikawa roasts created dense nuggets of flavor with some compact citrus tones and hints of sesame. 

Mostly, it’s an easily approachable coffee that leans hard on sweetness and a syrupy viscosity and creates what, by all accounts, is a fully crowd-pleasing chugger – and one that can be enjoyed without limits since it’s caffeine free.  

Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell 

Imagine starting at sea level in the popular Mexican beach destination of Puerto Escondido and traveling along progressively steeper and curvier roads through villages, where the local population still wears traditional indigenous clothing, eventually arriving at a lush tropical forest intercropped with coffee, bananas, corn, beans, fruit trees, and views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance below. This is the Oaxacan coffee growing region where the Sierra Madre del Sur coastal mountain range is peppered with small family farms, each consisting of just a few acres of land. 

Nearly forty percent of the producers are women who rely on coffee income to support their families. Producers here continue to identify with their indigenous roots using organic practices to manage their farms and protect their environment. They harvest cherries, then depulp, ferment, wash, and dry the coffee using their own micro-mills. 

Once post-harvest processing is completed, the coffees are decaffeinated using Ethyl Acetate (EA), a naturally derived chemical created as a byproduct of fermenting sugarcane. In this method the green beans are steamed or soaked to expand the beans for caffeine extraction. The expanded beans are then soaked in EA, a naturally occurring organic compound found in many fruits and vegetables which can be synthesized for coffee decaffeination. In the presence of EA, caffeine bonds with the compound and is drawn out of the bean. The decaffeinated coffee is then removed from the EA solvent, rinsed thoroughly, re-dried and re-bagged for transport. 

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

This is our first Ethyl Acetate (EA), or “Sugarcane” processed decaffeinated Crown Jewel. A few years ago now, Royal Coffee stopped carrying decaffeinated coffees produced using sythetically manufactured Methylene Chloride, and have elected to replace that spot in our menu predominately with EA, which is common in nature and whose manufacture is low in environmental impact and not dangerous to humans. It’s also applied via indirect method, in which the chemical never comes in direct contact with the green coffee itself, but rather the coffee extract which is dissolved in water. 

At any rate, the beans here are somewhat expanded in size and bear the classic EA visual appearance, which is to say they appear a bit faded, the result of the hydration process common in all decaffeination methods. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that as a result, our roasters largely favor gentle treatment in the machines to avoid applying too much heat to these somewhat delicate beans. 

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido 

When roasting a decaffeinated coffee, I go as gently as I possibly can. For this roast, I chose a low-charge temperature and waited for turning point to start the gas. At that point I set for 100% gas and waited 4 minutes to start the lowering of the power till I reached 30%, all this before the color change at 292.9F. I got to spend 4:54 on the drying phase. Usually, on decaf coffees is hard to catch the color change but this coffee has an interesting aspect: it does not look fully brown as other decafs, and it had a greenish look with some black spots. It may look ugly to the eyes, but it makes color change easy to notice and this coloration seems to be normal due the cane sugar decaffeination process.  

I spent 4:33 in the yellowing area. I noticed that in the middle of this phase the temperature started dropping, which made me raise the gas to 45% to be able reach first crack safely. It looks like this coffee uses more energy than the other decafs I have roasted. Giving up the moisture wasn’t easy and resulted in me stretching the Maillard. For development, I dropped the coffee at 407F with a 1:45 minute time. It took me some time taking the trier in and out to call for the end of the roast. This can be noticed on the curve and on the taste.  

Overall, this coffee turned out to be heavy, creamy and a little buttery on the body, I was looking for 55-56 Agtron on ground coffee on the ColorTrack reader but instead I got 59.62, it was tasting a bit dark. Not a bad roast, but for the next one I would manage gas better to get through Maillard and make a shorter development. On the cupping table, I got a low acidity taste but a good sweetness and body: persimmons, orange, chocolate, fudge, milk chocolate, cacao nibs, maple, tahini with a low decaffeination process taste. For sure there are some changes that will be doing in the next roast, mainly on the gas management to improve on the Maillard area. 

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on, or by clicking on the links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

Another accession to the annals of delicious decaf. Affably quaffable, this is perhaps the pole position in our Crown Jewel offerings now, as far as decaffeinated coffees go. True to my own style, I wanted to take this one slowly and deliberately through the roast in order to mellow out any rough notes that may have resulted from the decaffeination process. Much to my delight, I didn’t even get a hint of processing throughout the experience of this cup. But onwards, to the roast. 

I started at 437F and allowed the coffee to ‘soak’ the heat up from the drum by beginning with P2 power and F2 fan. At turning point, I lowered fan further yet to F1, but increased heat application to P8 to really push this coffee to its peak rate of rise, where I increased fan to F3. I didn’t make further adjustments until yellowing, when I reduced heat application to P7, then P6 for a minute before returning to P7 – really trying to extend Maillard without losing too much momentum. I experienced the traditional peak in RoR around 365F and reduced heat to P6 for the rest of the roast, also adding airflow to F4, then F5 as I became bolder. I rode out these settings until dropping the coffee at 401F / 12:10, one of my longest roasts in recent memory. I did spend an even 43% of the roast in both Drying and Maillard, with the remainder in Post-Crack Development, a frequent goal of mine.  

Despite the long roast, I didn’t experience a flattening of flavor in this coffee. Super clean milk chocolatey sugars, bright and tart lime and apple, and a touch of vanilla really gave this coffee some dimension. There was also a nice cherry note that developed as the cup cooled, bringing me back for completely shameless extra sips. I made a point to keep drinking coffee after 3pm with this roast, knowing I could enjoy myself with a warm cup much later than usual.  

Try this as drip, try it as espresso, and try it as full immersion brew. You’re going to be thrilled with how clearly this decaf presents itself! 

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano 

Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here. 

Welcome our newest Crown Jewel from Oaxaca, and a decaf at that! A good decaf is few and far in between, especially one without the telltale processing flavors. The sample roast of this coffee was particularly dark which is atypical to our roast style. On first pass of the sample roast the team got notes of tahini, tamarind, rich chocolate, vanilla and cacao nibs. With little to no processing flavor the profile is not far off from your classic coffee flavor. I especially loved the tahini mouthfeel and slightly savory tamarind note on this roast. 

I was interested to see how this coffee would perform on the lighter Ikawa profiles to see what else this coffee had to offer. For the high-density roast, it had that same tahini mouthfeel along with cilantro, oolong, citrus, lavender, and oats, with a silky body. The low-density roast of this coffee brought out a bolder side with some caramel, marmalade, orange and produced a cleaner cup. It had less of an oat wafer feel to it and more tangerine reminiscent of a Sunny D. Josh, Doris, and Colin helped me with the analysis on this and they all preferred the low-density roast as they enjoyed the cleaner cup with the brighter flavors. I on the other hand, the lone wolf in this decision, really enjoyed the high-density roast. I was reaching for those chunky notes of tahini, tamarind and cacao nibs which made me prefer the hotter temp profile. This decaf will be moving on bar here very soon and I am looking forward to seeing these rich flavor notes actualize themselves on our menu.  

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here: 

Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast 

Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast   

Brew Analysis by Dion Wan 

With this new decaffeinated Mexico, we found a coffee that marries classic and contemporary flavors. Our goal with these pour-overs was to highlight classic, subtle sweetness of pipe tobacco flavor along with the bouquet of citrus and stonefruit we found on the cupping table. 

The first brews were a bit tough to wrangle in, specifically because the TDS results weren’t exactly what we were used to. To start, we used a F70 brew device, ground the coffee on 9.5, and used a coffee to water ratio of 1:15.79. As a result, the TDS was 1.25, which was a bit lower than expected. There were some great notes of vanilla, caramel, and grape – however there seemed to be more this coffee had to offer based on our experiences at the cupping table. 

To experiment with a radically different profile, we decided to switch to a V60, increase our dose, and coarsen the grind. This again gave us a lower TDS of 1.28. This brew gave us notes of bakers chocolate, raspberry, and spiced apple.  

Just to see what the brew would taste like if a more standard TDS were achieved, we made the grind significantly finer and increased the water temperature. A bouquet of floral, pear, and toffee arose, along with that classic pipe tobacco, however, there was an edge to the brew that indicated that perhaps the coffee just responded better to lower extraction percentages. With decaf coffees, it can’t always be assumed that the rules of brewing apply. 

Finally, we stayed with the Kalita Wave and did one more brew. The coffee was moderately ground at a 10 on our EK43s, and we utilized a 1:15.79 coffee to water ratio. We kept the temperature of the water relatively high as well, brewing at 205F. We achieved a brew time of 3 minutes and 10 seconds. The TDS was a 1.3, which we came to peace with because it finally achieved the balance of flavors we were searching for, with a sweet tobacco theme, but blending flavors of cherry, plum, and some almond sweetness. 

We recommend a moderate grind, on a flat-bottom brewer, with a slightly higher water temperature. This will give a lower TDS, but no worries, that’s the sweet spot for this coffee. 

Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith 

We get a lot of exciting, incredible coffees coming through our Crown Jewel program. However, I think I get the most excited about the decaf coffees that make the cut because it always blows my mind how caffeinated they taste, and this decaf out of Oaxaca, Mexico is no exception. This coffee truly took the term “Sugarcane Process” literally, as it’s one of the sweetest shots of decaf I’ve tasted in a very long time. Both recipes I’m going to touch on brought out some delicious, sugar-forward notes while still having some exciting fruity and spicy notes as well.  


Recipe 1: 

Dose: 19g, Yield: 38g, Time: 29sec 

It’s not often that the first shot you pull of a new coffee comes out tasting exceptional, but I guess I got lucky today! The coffee I’m using for this analysis is about 9 days off roast, so I wanted to start with a dose that was kind of in the middle of our typical dose range. It came out with a time of 29 seconds and a yield of about 38 grams. Right off the bat, I was greeted with notes of lime, piloncillo sugarcane, and milk chocolate, with some subtle-yet-enticing notes of cherry, rose, and habanero.  


Recipe 2: 

Dose: 19.5, Yield: 39.5g, Time: 28sec 

It’s hard to venture out when the first shot you pull tastes amazing, but for my second recipe, I wanted to see how this coffee would react to a slightly higher dose. I bumped the dose up just a little, to 19.5 grams, stuck with a faster brew time, 28 seconds, and increased my yield to 39.5 grams. This shot still had a lot of the same sweet qualities, with notes of caramel, cherries, and chilis, but that milk chocolate note from before developed into much more of a rich fudginess. This makes me believe that this recipe might be a little better suited for the larger-volume milk beverages, such as a latte or mocha.  

I’ve found that this coffee acts as a very versatile espresso, with a wide range of acceptable recipes to play around with. For this espresso on its own, I think I preferred the slightly lower dose. If I were using this coffee on an espresso bar where I might be making more milk-based drinks, the slightly higher dose might be better. Either way, this is a spectacular decaf coffee and I can’t wait to have it on bar down here at The Crown!