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How Is Decaf Coffee Processed

Caffeine Content Of Decaffeinated Coffee

How Coffee is decaffeinated

To ensure product quality, manufacturers are required to test the newly decaffeinated coffee beans to make sure that caffeine concentration is relatively low. A caffeine content reduction of at least 97% is required under United States standards. There is less than 0.1% caffeine in decaffeinated coffee and less than 0.3% in decaffeinated instant coffee in Canada. To do so, many coffee companies choose to employ high-performance liquid chromatography to quantitatively measure how much caffeine remains in the coffee beans. However, since HPLC can be quite costly, some coffee companies are beginning to use other methods such as near-infrared spectroscopy. Although HPLC is highly accurate, NIR spectroscopy is much faster, cheaper and overall easier to use. Lastly, another method typically used to quantify remaining caffeine includes ultravioletvisible spectroscopy, which can be greatly advantageous for decaffeination processes that include supercritical CO2, as CO2 does not absorb in the UV-Vis range.

Both of these studies tested the caffeine content of store-brewed coffee, suggesting that the caffeine may be residual from the normal coffee served rather than poorly decaffeinated coffee.

How Does Starbucks Decaffeinate Their Coffee

In the CO 2 decaffeination process, water soaked coffee beans are placed in a stainless steel container called the extraction vessel. The extractor is then sealed and liquid CO 2 is forced into the coffee at pressures of 1,000 pounds per square inch to extract the caffeine.

My go to decaf beans are processed using âThe Swiss Water Process.â This is a gentle and ânaturalâ way to extract of the caffeine from your beans. The beans are soaked in hot water, allowing the caffeine to release, and then filtered until they are 99% caffeine free.

Each 10-ounce bag is full of whole coffee beans that have been decaffeinated using the Swiss water process, which is chemical-free. Additionally, Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf is certified organic by the USDA and fair-trade, so it is good for your cup and the farmers who grew it!

Starbucks Decaf Whole Bean Coffee, Pike Place, Medium Roast, 16 Ounce Bags, 2/Pack Whole Bean. 5.0 out of 5 stars. 16. $34.21.

Who Should Drink Decaf Coffee

A 2019 study about college students who drink coffee for varied reasons reflects the habits and the age of the coffee drinkers.

In a Kantar Survey, there was a tremendous leap by 43% on the number of teens who prefer drinking sweet coffee drinks over sodas. While on a separate study conducted in 2014, adult coffee drinkers aged between 50 to 64 years old remain the leading coffee drinkers in the US.

From these studies we can conclude that coffee over the years has become an all-time favorite beverage whether its a hot brew or cold brew. Giving up the habit of drinking your favorite joe every morning can be heartbreaking but must if its for health reasons, if prescribed by a physician.

With the help of decaffeination many people are still able to drink coffee but with lower caffeine content. Who should drink decaf coffee? Like regular coffee. Anyone can drink decaf IF it is consumed with moderation.

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Is Decaf Coffee Chemically Processed

As we’ve already mentioned, . Three if we’re being exact. It can be processed with water, a solvent or activated carbon.

For this article we’re going to focus on the chemicals that are used in the process to decaffeinate a coffee bean.

The solvents that are most typical in the process of decaffeinating coffee beans are simple enough to narrow down. More often than not they’re included on the back of a package of decaf coffee for full disclosure.

One of the main solvents used in the process is known as ethyl acetate. In it’s simplest terms, it is the by-product of acetic acid and is most commonly found in wines.

It is also prevalent in glues and makes for an excellent chemical to use in the process of decaffeination.

The other most important solvent in the process is called methylene chloride.

It’s most common use is that of stripping paint, which if you’ve ever seen happen, shows that it isn’t necessarily the most “mild” of chemicals out there and could be one to look out for.

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The Four Main Decaffeination Methods Today

How is Decaffeinated (Decaf) Coffee Made?

There are two groups of decaffeination methods, with two variations in each group. There are two solvent-based processes and two non-solvent based processes.

In the solvent-based decaffeination processes, there is the indirect-solvent and the direct-solvent method. With non-solvent based processes, there is the Swiss water method and the carbon dioxide method. As the names suggest, the categories differ based on the use of solvents.

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The Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Decaffeination Method

In this method, green coffee beans are soaked in compressed carbon dioxide. This is liquid carbon dioxide generated from typical carbon dioxide gas. When gaseous carbon dioxide is compressed and cold, it becomes liquid.

After soaking the coffee beans and hot water, high-pressure carbon dioxide acts as a solvent and removes caffeine from the coffee beans. This can impact the flavor of the beans.

When the pressure is removed, carbon dioxide returns to its gaseous state naturally. This removes carbon dioxide from the coffee beans.

Is Decaffeinated Coffee As Healthy As Regular

Because decaffeination itself is generally considered safe, the bigger question is whether decaf has the same health benefits as regular coffee.

This is a tough question to answer, says Angela M. Zivkovic, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis, and we dont yet have a firm answer.

A 2014 meta-analysis published in the journal Diabetes Care and led by researchers from Harvard found that those who drank six cups of coffee per day had a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank no coffee. The reduced risk was seen for both decaf and regular coffee.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008 found that coffee-drinking in general was not associated with a higher risk of dying from any cause, and even further, those who drank decaf were slightly less likely than those who drank regular to die from any cause.

Zivkovic says, however, that we should interpret such results with caution because it is very possible and likely that people who choose decaf are also making other healthy lifestyle choices.

In short, though some studies suggest that decaffeinated coffee is linked to health benefits, more research is needed.

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So How Is Decaffeinated Coffee Made Using Different Processes

1. Direct Solvent Decaffeination Method

This process is likely the most well-known decaffeination method. This method was used to create the first batch of decaffeinated coffee beans in the early 1900s.

This process begins with steaming green coffee beans which opens their pores. They are then soaked in a solvent. These days this solvent is either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. Earlier in history, the solvent used was benzene. However, it was eventually found to be carcinogenic.

The solvent absorbs the caffeine from the coffee beans. Unfortunately, some of the flavor compounds are also absorbed in the process.

The steaming, drying, and roasting of the decaffeinated beans removes any remaining solvents.

2. Indirect Solvent Decaffeination Method

Similar to the Direct Solvent Method, and just as the name indicates, a solvent is used to decaffeinate green coffee beans. However, in this method, the solvent does not come in direct contact with the beans.

Instead of steaming them, the green coffee beans are soaked in hot water where the caffeine and flavor compounds dissolve. After the beans are removed, the solvent is added to this water. The solvent absorbs the caffeine and a small amount of the flavor compounds from the water.

The water is then separated from the solvent. The green coffee beans are then added back to this water where it can reabsorb the lost flavor compounds.

After the beans are removed from the water, they are dried and roasted.

3. Water Processing

How Much Caffeine Does Decaf Coffee Have

DECAF COFFEE | How it’s Made | How to Make It Taste Good

Contrary to popular belief, the caffeine content of decaf coffee is not zero. Check the nutrition facts before you purchase decaf coffee. Decaf coffee you make yourself will probably have between two and three mg of caffeine.

On the other hand, decaf coffee produced commercially may have more than 10 mg of caffeine. If you are unsure of exactly how much caffeine is present, ask to see the nutrition facts before you order.

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Type 2 Diabetes Liver Function And Premature Death

Drinking coffee, both regular and decaf, has been linked with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Each daily cup may reduce the risk up to 7% (

21 ).

The effects of decaf coffee on liver function are not as well studied as those of regular coffee. However, one large observational study linked decaf coffee with reduced liver enzyme levels, which suggests a protective effect .

Drinking decaf coffee has also been linked with a small but significant reduction in the risk of premature death, as well as death from stroke or heart disease .


How To Choose Best Decaf Coffee Beans

Furthermore, however hard you try to remove only the caffeine, it is inevitable that the coffee will lose some of the oils and flavors that make a truly delicious cup.

This is something decaf drinkers will have to accept.

Finally, decaf is harder to roast. After decaffeination, the beans turn brown and contain less moisture.

This means they roast faster and are harder to control during the process.

The best advice is to opt for light roast since most decaf beans wont stand up to dark roasting.

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Drinking Decaf Coffee

There are several reasons why people may choose to drink decaf coffee. First, many of the antioxidants are preserved despite the decaffeination process. Therefore, a lot of the health benefits of drinking caffeinated coffee remain intact even if the caffeine itself has been removed.

Some people decide to drink decaf coffee to illuminate the side effects of drinking caffeine regularly. Caffeine can overwhelm the nervous system. This can create digestive issues, anxiety, and restlessness.

Furthermore, if caffeine is disrupting your sleep at night, you may want to switch to decaf coffee instead.

Finally, understand that decaffeinated coffee still contains small amounts of caffeine. No procedure is perfect and a cup of decaffeinated coffee may still have a few milligrams of caffeine. If you see coffee labeled as decaf, approximately 97 percent of the original caffeine content was removed.

This means that decaf coffee may still have two to three mg of caffeine present. Decaf coffee from coffee shops could have more caffeine present.

Do They Use Formaldehyde To Decaffeinate Coffee

Does Decaf Coffee Have Caffeine

There is a naturally occurring amount of formaldehyde already in coffee beans before they undergo the roasting process required to bring out their unique taste.

It’s because of this reason that some people report smelling it or having an allergic reaction to it when they are trying to enjoy their nice hot cup.

Formaldehyde is generally considered to be a thing of the past when it comes to the decaffeination process of coffee beans, regardless of the method that is used to get there.

It’s considered to be quite the dangerous chemical, so it’s okay to be a little bit worried about whether or not it’s present in your decaf coffee.

If it helps to ease your mind, there is no formaldehyde present in most of the top performing brands of decaf, though they do tend to use more of the chemical solvents in their process to get the most ideal taste out of the decaffeinated beans.

On the most part though, decaf coffee is perfectly safe for your health and shouldn’t warrant too much of a worry.

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How Does Starbucks Decaffeinate Its Coffee

A. After receiving your email, I got in touch with Starbucks and was surprised – and disappointed – to learn that they do, in fact, use a solvent called methylene chloride to produce all but two of their decaffeinated coffees. The decaf Komodo Dragon Blend and the VIA Instant Decaf Italian Roast are the only two made without chemical solvents.

Sitting at Starbucks and enjoying coffee is delightful itself, so the following are the ways to offer decaf coffee at Starbucks. 1: Any Espresso Drink The most significant thing that you need to know is that any of the espresso drinks can be taken as caffeine-free by removing caffeine from coffee beans.

Today, there are actually several different methods for removing caffeine from coffee. Each method for how decaf coffee is processed that is used today generally starts with green coffee beans and can be grouped together into three separate categories: use of a chemical solvent, carbon dioxide, or the Swiss water method.

With this decaffeination method, green coffee beans are soaked in highly compressed carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is in liquid form and is created from gaseous carbon dioxide under high compression and cool temperatures. Similar to the Water Processing, the green coffee beans are first soaked in water.

Which Organic Decaf Coffee Is Water Processed

Today, you can find several brands of ground decaf coffee on the market. Some of the best Swiss method decaf coffee brands include

  • The Organic Coffee Co., Gorilla Decaf, flavorful organic decaf coffee beans, Ground
  • Jeremiahs Pick Organic Water Processed Decaf Coffee
  • Kicking Horse Organic Decaffeinated Coffee, best Swiss water process decaf coffee, Dark Roast
  • No Fun Jo Decaf Organic Swiss Water Decaf Coffee, Fair Trade & USA Organic Certified
  • Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Swiss Water Process Colombian Gourmet Coffee Decaffeinated Medium-Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee

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How Does The Swiss Water Process Work

As we mentioned, caffeine is soluble in water, and the trick is to remove the caffeine without removing anything that gives coffee its delicious flavor.

Unfortunately, much of the other stuff in coffee that we want to keep is also soluble in water.

This means if you simply soak a batch of green beans in water, yes, youll remove all the caffeine but youll also remove a lot more.

Then, when you roast the beans and try to brew them, youll find that your coffee doesnt taste of anything much at all.

The Swiss Water Process involves using an ingenious trick to remove only the caffeine while leaving everything else behind.

First, a batch of green beans is soaked in water. Everything that is soluble dissolves and ends up in the water, including the caffeine and all the good stuff.

This doesnt matter because this batch of beans will be discarded. However, what you end up with is a solution full of everything that can be dissolved out of coffee. This is called Green Coffee Extract, or GCE.

Pact Coffee Uses The Co2 Method

How Coffee is Decaffeinated

We use the Carbon Dioxide Method which selectively extracts just the caffeine from the beans.

Heres how: after the coffee cherries are washed, the green coffee beans are brought into contact with pressurised, liquid carbon dioxide. The CO2 is circulated through the coffee, drawing the caffeine out of the bean.

An evaporation stage separates the caffeine from the CO2, leaving the beans with just 0.01% caffeine. This process is repeated until the beans are decaffeinated. The coffee is then gently dried until it reaches the original moisture content and is ready for export and roasting. Although this method is costly, its a chemical-free process, the Carbon Dioxide can be re-used to process multiple batches of beans and it also results in deliciously flavourful decaf coffee.

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Is Decaf Coffee Bad For You

Too much of ANYTHING can be bad. Thats why every doctors advice is to do things in moderation. The same thing goes with drinking coffee.

may look and smell like regular coffee, but it does contain less caffeine. To decaffeinate coffee, the green coffee beans undergo any of the known decaffeination processes explained above. Knowing whether or not a decaf coffee is bad for you depends on the method used in removing the caffeine and the amount of coffee you consume each day.

Though the Swiss Method and CO2 method has no defined health risks in decaffeinated coffee beans,Methylene chloride remains controversial as the caffeine extraction agent of coffee. Methylene chloride is a colorless, volatile organochloride compound with a moderately sweet aroma.

While it might be the best alternative to Ludwig Roselius benzene as an extraction agent, the fact that Methylene chloride can also be found on paint strippers, adhesives, and automotive products should raise your eyebrows.

However, the FDA assures the public that the trace amounts of methylene chloride in decaf coffee have little to no effect on our health. Thats because the agency strictly commands that the methylene chloride in decaf coffee should not exceed 10 parts per million in the final product.

Water Processed Decaf Or Swiss

The Swiss Water Process, also known as Water-Processed Decaf, relies on caffeine solubility and osmosis to remove caffeine from coffee beans. First, coffee beans are soaked in hot water to “dissolve” caffeine, however, sugars and other flavor compounds in coffee also dissolve into the water. In order to create flavorful coffee, the resulting mixture is run through a charcoal filter. Caffeine is a large molecule, so it gets filtered out while the sugars and flavor compounds remain in the water, which is called Green Coffee Extract. The extract is used to soak the next batch of green coffee beans, so the flavor is retained by the beans and only caffeine is removed and the process repeats.

This method will consistently be better over time. This process leads to tasting notes from the specific coffee to be retained, being that the process uses water as a solvent for caffeine as opposed to other solvents. You may see Mountain or Swiss water processes on a given bag of coffee. These are pretty much the same exact processes.

Swiss water is a patented name and can only be done a few places in the world. So often this process, although very much the same as mountain water process, is less sustainable because the beans usually need to be transported to another country before going to the beans’ final destination. Water-Processed coffees have cleaner, more pleasant flavors, although slightly less intense or muted and they degrade in quality slower over time.

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