The decaffeination process is usually performed on unroasted (green) beans, and starts with steaming of the beans.

They are then rinsed with a solvent that extracts the caffeine while leaving the other essential chemicals in the coffee beans. The process is repeated anywhere from 8 to 12 times until it meets either the international standard of having removed 97% of the caffeine in the beans or the EU standard of having the beans 99.9% caffeine-free by mass.

Coffee contains over 400 chemicals important to the taste and aroma of the final drink; it is, therefore, challenging to remove only caffeine while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations.