The Shakisso farm can be found in the Guji zone of Sidamo in Ethiopia and has been fully organic-certified since it was founded by Haile Gebre in 2001. The land is over 640 hectares and has its own nursery farm where new coffee seedlings are planted. Ten permanent workers control coffee production throughout the year but during harvesting, Shakisso employs around 300 pickers who hand-pick the ripe cherries. As well as producing coffee, Shakisso works with a number of specialised farmers in the area who are at a higher altitude.
Our founder Menno has a close relationship with Haile. Together they have worked to upgrade the quality and quantity of coffee on his farm. Haile even regards Menno as family: the father of seven daughters calls Menno ‘his son’.
We’ve bought this high-quality decaffeinated coffee from the Shakisso farm for several years now. Thanks to the unique CO2 decaffeination process that retains most of the coffee’s natural flavours, most people can’t believe it’s a decaf. Also because we only use a fresh harvest: most coffee companies use old or leftover green coffee beans for their decaf.
Decaffeinated coffee is usually known for its metallic flavour. Due to Menno’s experience at Trabocca, he found out why: most of the time, very old coffee harvests are being used for this undervalued coffee. At Bocca however, we only use high quality, fresh harvest. Since a couple of years, we have an organic Ethiopian decaffeinated coffee in stock that comes from the Shakisso farm, owned by farmer Haile Gebre. The biggest complement we get is that people don’t even recognize it’s a decaf!
This is because of the way it’s being processed. During the so-called CO2 process, liquid CO2 – just as in soda’s we drink – is being used to absorb the caffeine in the beans. The CO2 selectively picks up caffeine in the beans and is then taken out of the vessel into an evaporator. There, it is evaporated and re-condensated so the caffeine is precipitated from the beans, then CO2 can be re-introduced to the coffee. This process is repeated over and over again, until the caffeine level in the coffee is less than 0.01%. The great thing about the CO2 process is that carbon dioxide is a 100% natural (and organically certified!) chemical. It is found everywhere and we consume it daily. It’s in the carbonated water that we drink and in the air that we breathe. So, as opposed to other processes which use products like methylene chloride, it does not leave any toxic material. CO2 also only extracts the caffeine from the coffee beans, leaving all the good stuff. This means that the flavour and aroma compounds stay right where they need to be – inside the bean.