Swiss Water President and CEO Frank Dennis visited Australia on 4 October for the first time in six years.
To mark the occasion, Bennetts hosted an impressive turnout of industry professionals at The Craft & Co in Victoria to hear a presentation about 100 per cent chemical-free coffee without caffeine.
After his presentation, Frank was joined onstage by Andrew Kelly, Founder and Owner of Small Batch Roasting Co and The Auction Rooms café to provide questions from the perspective of Australian roasters and café owners.
Andrew spoke about the issue that caffeine content in coffee makes the beverage only really suitable for morning consumption. In response, Dennis talked about the pressure it puts on café owners.
“It doesn’t make sense that a café can only be open until 3pm when the lease is paying for 24 hours of occupation, just because consumers don’t want to drink caffeine later in the day,” he said. “For roasters, it means they’re only supplying as much as a coffee drinker needs for part of their day – they could be buying more if they weren’t concerned about inability to sleep.”
The forum also addressed the opinion that decaf is no satisfactory substitute for caffeine.
“Most companies that make decaf use chemicals such as methylene chloride, and by using these chemicals they are able to not just remove the caffeine – they can extract it for use in energy drinks and supplements,” Frank said. “This creates incentives to use Robustas in decaffeination, because it reaps double the caffeine dose of an Arabica. The result: better returns for the higher extracted caffeine quantity, but flavour becomes a lower priority.”
Frank went on to talk about how Swiss Water differs from the crowd.
“We go through all the quality-assurance process that you do as roasters before we, buy our beans,” he said. “But we do it twice over – once before, and once after the caffeine is removed.”
Frank said Swiss Water does not use chemicals in its product, nor does it recover the caffeine for an “added bonus”.
Instead of producing decaf, Frank said the goal of Swiss Water is to create “amazing coffee without the caffeine”, using only water and natural carbon to ensure a sustainable process, without affecting the flavour.
At the conclusion of the evening Frank expressed his admiration for the Australian food and coffee scene. “It’s just awesome. I’m always glad to come back,” he said.
In 2018, Bennetts will celebrate 100 years of connecting Australians with coffee. The family-owned business continues to cultivate lasting relationships with clients, including Swiss Water. First invented in the 1930s, Swiss Water is today a leading supplier of quality, chemical-free decaf, distributed daily across the globe from its Vancouver site.