As opposed to the other two decaffeination methods, which eliminate caffeine but also some of the flavor, using carbon dioxide — which is the same substance used to make beverages such as sparkling water and soft drinks fizzy — makes it possible to maintain all the aromatic qualities of coffee. Lavazza’s method is based on the use of carbon dioxide in its "supercritical" phase. During the first part of the process, the beans are moistened with steam until they reach a humidity level of 30-50%. They are then placed in an extraction cylinder in contact with gas in a supercritical condition. This condition is achieved
when the temperature and pressure reach a level at which the gas acquires the characteristics of both a gas and a liquid. Therefore, it diffuses like a gas, but has the solvent properties of a liquid, and can selectively extract caffeine. The carbon dioxide is then separated from the alkaloid with water, re-pressurised and reused. Once decaffeinated, the beans go through a second phase, in which they are dried out; the decaffeination process is then complete. In order to fully preserve the sensory profile of its coffee, Lavazza uses the carbon dioxide extraction method at its Pozzilli plant, which is dedicated exclusively to the decaffeination of green coffee.