What do you know about Decaffeinated Coffee?

Is decaffeinated coffee good or bad?

Is it bad after all? Do all the procedures use chemicals to produce caffeine free coffee? Are those chemicals bad to our health?

At the start of the 19th century, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, was the first to achieve the caffeine isolation from coffee beans, without trying and being able to commercialise the decaffeinated coffee. However, German merchant Ludwig Roselius and his coworkers in 1903 discovered this method by luck, when Roselius tasted a coffee which had previously been submerged into water, resulting in the coffee losing most of its caffeine.

The four most commonly used processes for decaffeination nowadays are divided into main categories.

Those are the solvent based processes and the non-solvent based processes.

In  solvent based process, the caffeine is disconnected from the beans with the help of a specific chemical solvent (methylene chloride or ethyl acetate). 

It is worth to mention that although the aforementioned chemicals are both solvents, their use as a decaffeination agent, is not considered as a health risk. In fact, the ‘Food and Drug Administration’ has confirmed that any potential health risk is as low ‘as to be non-existent”. In addition to this, although that these solvents vaporise at 40 degrees (Celsius), the ‘roasting process’ (204oC) and after the ‘brewing’ (93oC) temperatures make sure that is unlikely any of the solvent will remain at the coffee bean. 

The solvent process, includes the following types:

Indirect solvent process (or ‘European Method’) involves coffee beans that have to remain under hot water (just less than 100oC) for few hours, where the extract of the caffeine, as well as the oils and flavours of the beans, are naturally generated. Then, the beans are transferred in a different tank where they are soaked for about ten hours into a solvent. After that, the particles of caffeine bond with those of the solvent, as they are heated and their evaporation is achieved. Lastly, the beans are re-introduced to the initial liquid, to absorb all the oils and flavours of the coffee.

Direct solvent process (or ‘Natural Decaffeination Method’) involves producers to steam the coffee beans for about half an hour. These beans open up their pores due to the vapour and become receptive to the solvent. Then, they are rinsed with the solvent for about ten hours and lastly steamed again to remove any residual chemical substances. 

The non-Solvent based process, includes the Swiss Water Process (SWP) and the CO2 process.

SWP process, was pioneered in Switzerland in 1933 and entered the market in 1988. This process, relies on osmosis and solubility without any chemicals being used. It starts by sinking a ‘bunch’ of coffee beans in near-boiling water, where the caffeine and flavour are extracted. The water with the isolated substances mentioned, enters an activated charcoal filter, which holds only the ‘caffeine’ from the liquid and leaves all the coffee oils and flavour. Then, this new ‘caffeine-free water’, full of flavour and aroma, is used to extract the caffeine from a new ‘bunch’ of coffee beans, but without washing away its flavouring substances. Therefore, the effect of this process, is the natural decaffeinationof the coffee beans, without a massive loss of flavour.

The CO2 process was developed by Kurt Zosel and belongs to the latest decaffeination method today. In this process, the CO2 is used inside a stainless-steel container and under vast pressure, the caffeine is then removed, leaving all the flavouring components and aroma. Then, the CO2, after having absorbed the caffeine, is relocated to a different container where finally releases the caffeine. As CO2 can be considered natural, this technique could become the preferred method for the future.

Our Decaf Blend – Dark Sweet Sensation

Our pure Arabica mountain high grown Mexican blend is decaffeinated using the healthy spring water decaffeination technique with no added chemicals. It is roasted to perfection in our unique way to provide a sweet, full aftertaste without any caffeine. If you are looking for a strong decaf blend with a unique flavour, this coffee is ideal for you. 

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