Complete guide to the decaffeination process for your coffeePublished Date:
In love with the taste of coffee, but want to break up with caffeine? What you need in your life then is decaf coffee. We know that switching to decaffeinated coffee can be a hard decision, but we are here for you.
Get comfy and learn the diverse chemical and natural processes of how decaf coffee is made. Compare its taste and caffeine levels versus regular coffee, and get to know the multiple benefits of decaf coffee to decide if it is the best option for you.
What exactly is decaf coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee, also known as decaf coffee, is a coffee that has been processed to reduce its caffeine content. These industrial processes can make the caffeine levels of decaf coffee decrease, but they can not completely eliminate it.
It means that even decaffeinated coffee is not 100 percent free of caffeine.
So what is the point of taking the trouble to process it and drink it? Well, there are a lot of benefits to decaf coffee that you can enjoy while having your favorite beverage.
Maybe you need a lower caffeine level lifestyle, and you did not know it!
How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?
It is a fact that how much caffeine is in decaf coffee depends on every decaffeinated coffee brand's final product. The different types of coffee beans used in the process, in addition to how the decaf coffee is made, can make the caffeine levels of decaf coffee differ one from another.
But in accordance with the USDA, the final product should only have 0.1 percent of caffeine to be considered decaffeinated coffee. That means that the decaf coffee processes can take up to 97 to 99.9% of the caffeine content of the final product.
The importance of knowing how much caffeine is in decaf coffee
Let’s illustrate this with an easy example. Imagine you are having a nice cup of comforting and aromatic coffee. If you are having regular coffee, you will be ingesting 70 to 140 mg of caffeine. But if you change it for decaf coffee instead, you will only have up to 7mg of caffeine per cup.
Realizing how much caffeine is in decaf coffee, can help you think about the amount of caffeine that you are having day after day, and identify if high levels of caffeine are giving you any adverse effects.
Does decaffeinated coffee give you energy?
The property of the coffee that gives you that boost of energy is caffeine. Now you know how much caffeine is in decaf coffee, you can figure out that decaffeinated coffee would not have that energizing effect on you.
But that feature actually, is one of the benefits of decaf coffee, as ingesting a lot of caffeine may make it hard to fall asleep and may be linked to feelings of anxiety. We will dive deeper into this later and explore other side effects of caffeine. Good thing is, we can simply avoid them by having decaf coffee!
Does decaf coffee taste different?
There are many (so many) factors that can affect how a coffee finally tastes. The methods used to process it, the way you brew it at home, the kind of roast, the acidity of the coffee beans, etc.
Like regular coffee, decaf coffee has its own variations. It can taste slightly different from what you are used to depending on what types of coffee beans are used or how the decaf coffee is made. Some people say decaffeinated coffee can be just a little sour.
So don’t be afraid of tasting decaf coffee just as you would taste any other new coffee quality, such as a new roast, coffee bean type, or way of brewing. You can start your decaf coffee journey by trying this delicious Swiss water decaf Colombian coffee.
How is decaf coffee made?
Okay, time to dive deeper into how decaf coffee is made and how different processes can modify the beverage’s flavor and caffeine levels.
If you want to understand how decaf coffee is made, you should know that decaffeinated coffee uses the same processes as regular coffee, plus a decaffeination process at the end. Even the same varieties of green coffee beans are used to make decaf coffee.
How is decaf coffee made with the Swiss water process?
The Swiss water process (SWP) is a method that’s organic and free of chemicals to process coffee beans. It was created in 1933 and is the most effective method for extracting caffeine and the only one used for organic decaffeinated coffee. Try Swiss water decaf Colombian Coffee and taste for yourself!
The SWP method is based on two physicochemical principles: solubility and osmosis.
For this technique, coffee beans need to be soaked in boiling water for a couple of hours to dissolve caffeine (principle of solubility).
Then, the water with the caffeine is drawn away and filtered out in activated charcoal. The porosity of the activated charcoal makes it possible that only the large molecules of the caffeine get stuck on it, so the smaller molecules of flavor and oil can pass through (osmosis process).
How is decaf coffee made with the carbon dioxide process?
The carbon dioxide process, or CO2 process, is the most recent technique for decaf coffee. It uses carbon dioxide instead of chemical solvents to separate caffeine, as it releases only alkaloids.
The CO2 method is based on the selectivity principle.
Coffee beans are soaked in water, just as in the Swiss water process, and put in a special container named extraction vessel, which is made of stainless steel. The extraction vessel is sealed carefully and then pressurized with liquid carbon dioxide at a pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch to extract caffeine.
How is decaf coffee made with the direct solvent process?
The direct solvent process uses ethyl acetate or methylene chloride as chemicals for making decaffeinated coffee.
The direct solvent process using ethyl acetate is also called “the natural method”.
The pores of the coffee beans need to be open to receive the solvent, and in order to do that, coffee beans need to be steamed for half an hour. When the beans are able to receive a solvent, they are washed time after time with one of them (either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) for nearly 10 hours.
After that, the solvent that is full of caffeine is ruled out and drained away. And as a final step, coffee beans are steamed one more time to eliminate any remaining chemicals from them.
How is decaf coffee made with the indirect solvent process?
The first step to making decaffeinated coffee with the indirect solvent process is soaking the coffee beans in water that is close to the boiling point, for a few hours.
In doing this, the caffeine, oil, and flavor molecules will be extracted from the beans.
The water that contains these molecules is going to be separated, and the beans will be rinsed with the methylene chloride or the ethyl acetate for about 10 hours. The selected solvent’s molecules are going to bond with the caffeine ones by the selective principle.
Both the solvent and the caffeine can be removed from the water by heating it. Once they are fully evaporated, the coffee beans are put into the water again so they can reabsorb the flavor and oil molecules.
Benefits of decaf coffee
Everything you eat or drink affects your body. No matter how decaf is coffee made or how much caffeine there is in decaf coffee, you will probably see that with less caffeine in your life, you can feel better. However, if you have been a heavy consumer of caffeine, don’t be surprised if you struggle during your first days of detoxing from caffeine.
Now we are going to list the benefits of decaf coffee, to help you decide if decaffeinated coffee is the best option for you. You will be surprised about how many functions of our body are related to caffeine.
Benefits of decaf coffee for your heart
Regular coffee has stimulating and energizing effects due to the high levels of caffeine. Caffeine speeds up your heartbeat so high consumption may affect your cardiovascular health in the long run.
By drinking decaf coffee, you are likely to be putting less pressure on your heart. Not a big surprise maybe, since you already know the big difference between how much caffeine there is in decaf coffee versus regular coffee.
The increased heart rate may by some be interpreted as anxiety too, so if you feel nervous a lot, quitting caffeine may help. Instead, enjoy the potential benefits of decaf coffee by having a heart-warming cup of it and smelling its charming fragrance as aromatherapy!
Benefits of decaf coffee for your sleep cycle
Making you forget how sleepy you are and staying awake at night is maybe the most famous effect of caffeine. People tend to prepare a big cup of regular coffee when they feel very tired at the office or have to study all night long.
But having lots of caffeine so often has been linked with affecting your sleep cycle when you want to rest properly too. And as you were probably told as a child, sleeping well is thought to keep our bodily functions and organs healthy.
If you decide to have decaf coffee instead, the most probable scenario is that you can sleep like a baby whenever you want and you may potentially avoid insomnia because of how little caffeine is in decaf coffee.
Benefits of decaf coffee for sugar levels
There is one protein called human islet amyloid polypeptide (HIAPP) that is potentially linked to type 2 diabetes when it is accumulated in our body. This protein has been linked with the destruction of the pancreatic cells that produce the insulin needed to maintain our sugar levels low.
Three compounds present in the coffee: caffeine, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid, are thought to block the accumulation of the HIAPP.
Caffeic acid is thought to be the most effective of these three coffee compounds, whilst caffeine is considered the least beneficial of the three. So you can feel good about drinking your cup of decaffeinated coffee, no matter how little caffeine is in it.
Benefits of decaf coffee for acidity levels
Remember when we spoke about how much caffeine is in decaf coffee versus regular coffee? Well, if you drink regular coffee, the caffeine is thought to potentially trigger acid reflux issues.
So due to how decaf coffee is made, you can have a few cups of your favorite decaffeinated coffee, and still not be likely to feel heartburn from drinking them!
Benefits of decaf coffee for your daily intake!
Yep, one of the most exciting benefits of decaf coffee is that you can take as many cups as you want and be sure you will not get the side effects of caffeine.
Give decaffeinated coffee a try for a few days, and watch out for any changes in your body and your mind. Is your life better with decaffeinated coffee? Can you feel the benefits of decaf coffee?
You can be one coffee cup away from a more balanced lifestyle!
Is it good or bad to drink decaf coffee?
It is true that nothing is good if you take it excessively. But as we just said, one of the main benefits of decaf coffee over the regular one is that you can enjoy all the taste and aroma of a nice cup of coffee (or two!) without suffering the negative aspects of the caffeine.
To sum up, now you know all the benefits of decaf coffee, understand how much caffeine is in decaf coffee, and you are aware of how decaf coffee is made, you can select the best decaf coffee option for you, and start a new low-caffeine life!