Caffeine is a major selling point for those of us who love a freshly brewed coffee. Regular coffee has loads of worthwhile benefits. However, if we didn’t love the amazing taste of coffee then we’d just chug down a nasty energy drink in the morning. But have you ever wondered how decaf coffee is made and why there is a market for it?
There are millions of people around the world who want to enjoy coffee for its taste but would rather avoid the caffeine buzz. That’s where decaffeinated coffee comes in. It’s a perfect solution for coffee lovers who are avoiding caffeine due to personal preference or for medical reasons.
What Is Decaf Coffee?
Decaf coffee is the shortened name for decaffeinated coffee. It’s a product that contains coffee beans that have been processed to remove their caffeine content.
Although the name decaf coffee suggests that there is zero caffeine in the product, this isn’t actually the case. However, 97% or more of the caffeine will have been removed. The small levels of caffeine remaining shouldn’t cause issues for most people.
One of the great things about decaf coffee is that it is available in all the usual blends. It can be brewed using the same techniques as regular coffee. Coffee shops also cater to those who prefer decaf coffee so it’s really easy to buy.
How Decaf Coffee Is Made
Decaf coffee is made in a few different ways but all of them involve treating the coffee beans before they are roasted.
Although people had successfully decaffeinated coffee in the past, Ludwig Roselius was the first person to commercialise the process.
- A decaffeinated blend with a perfect balance, lighter body, and a mild fruity aroma.
- Light and balanced.
- Strength: 2/5.
Founder of Kaffee Hag, Ludwig Roselius created the Roselius Process. With this method, coffee beans were steamed with a brine solution of water and salt. Benzene, a chemical compound was then used as a solvent to remove caffeine from the coffee beans.
Although effective, the Roselius Process is no longer used as benzene has been found to be harmful to health.
In the modern era, there are four methods that tend to be used to decaffeinate coffee beans:
Coffee beans are steamed to open their pores. The beans are then repeatedly soaked in a solvent such as ethyl acetate which removes their caffeine content.
Once the process is complete, the coffee beans are steamed again to get rid of any remaining solvent.
Coffee beans are first soaked in hot water. This helps to extract their caffeine content but also oils and coffee flavours. This water is then separated and kept to one side for a later stage of the process.
The drained coffee beans are then soaked in a solvent such as ethyl acetate which binds to caffeine. The solvent is then evaporated along with the caffeine, leaving decaffeinated coffee beans.
Finally, the coffee beans are soaked again in the initial saturated water. This allows the beans to reabsorb the initial oils and coffee flavours that were extracted.
Coffee beans are first soaked in water in a high-pressure extraction vessel.
Liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) is then forced through the vessel and over the coffee beans. This process extracts caffeine from the coffee beans without the need for chemical solvents.
Swiss Water Process
Coffee beans are soaked in a caffeine-free green coffee extract. This extracts the caffeine of the coffee beans into the extract while retaining flavour.
The green coffee extract is then processed through an activated charcoal filter which separates the caffeine from the rest of the extract, which is used again on a fresh batch of coffee beans.
Benefits of Decaffeinated Coffee
Decaf coffee has loads of great health benefits. It’s packed full of antioxidants and nutrients, just like like regular coffee. Decaffeinated coffee has also been shown to lower the risk of diabetes, protect the liver, aid in overall heart health, and even improve brain function.
Of course, one of the downsides of decaffeinated coffee for many coffee lovers is actually the missing caffeine. Caffeine provides benefits such as increased cognitive ability, improved athletic performance, and greater productivity. There’s also the bonus of caffeine reducing the risk of liver, mouth, and throat cancer.
- High power blades to complete the grinding process in under 15 seconds.
- Food-grade stainless steel bowl can be removed from the base for convenient cleaning.
- Achieve the perfect grind for all brewing methods.
However, some people are unable to tolerate caffeine as well as others or have medical issues. The advantages of drinking decaffeinated coffee may be less likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, stomach issues, and increased blood pressure.
Overall, although regular coffee does offer a few more advantages, decaffeinated coffee has lots of benefits. This makes it a good choice over other drinks. Plus, the flavour is still awesome.
Don’t forget, coffee beans are decaffeinated before they are ground. This means you can buy them as full beans. If this is your choice, you’ll need to remember to buy a coffee grinder.
When To Drink Decaffeinated Coffee
Decaf coffee can be consumed at any time of the day. For most people, a 97% reduction in caffeine content will mean there’s not much chance of suffering from insomnia, anxiety, or other negative side effects of caffeine consumption.
However, people who are very sensitive to caffeine may want to avoid drinking decaf coffee late at night, just in case. People with medical conditions should also be careful.
If you’re like me, however, you love coffee for both the flavour and the caffeine buzz. Therefore, decaffeinated coffee is reserved for a late-night tasty treat that won’t keep me awake.
Whether you’re a regular coffee drinker or someone who prefers a decaffeinated variety, enjoy.