SOPPEXCCA was formed in 1997 by a group of 62 farmers to improve the lives of its members and their communities to build a sustainable organisation. The union of 18 co-operatives located in the department of Jinotega in northern Nicaragua. It has since become grown to 650 members, 210 of them women (32%) and is Fair Trade certified.
The organisation’s values are based on sustainable production and protection of the environment. It has set up a youth movement to integrate young people into the organisation and promote education, positive values, gender equality and cultural and environmental awareness. It also runs school programmes to educate young people in agriculture and ecology and prepare them for careers in coffee production.
They produce around 825 tonnes of coffee a year on very small plots of land. All coffee is shade grown.
The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Method is the most recent decaffeination method. It was developed by Kurt Zosel, a scientist of the Max Plank Institute, and uses liquid CO2 in place of chemical solvents. It acts selectively on the caffeine, i.e., it releases the alkaloid and nothing else.
Carbon dioxide, when compressed, behaves partly like a gas and partly like a liquid, and has the property of combining selectively with caffeine. In the most widely used CO2 process the steamed beans are bathed in the compressed carbon dioxide and the caffeine is removed from the carbon dioxide through charcoal filtering, just as it is in the water-only process. However, the flavor components remain in the bean throughout the process, rather than being soaked out and then put back in again, as they are in both the Swiss Water and the indirect solvent processes.
Since carbon dioxide is the same ubiquitous and undisputably “natural” substance that plants absorb and humans produce, and since, in most versions of the CO2 method, the flavor components remain safely in the bean throughout the process rather than being removed and put back in again as they are in the Swiss Water process, carbon dioxide methods would seem to be the decaffeinating wave of the future.