While a cup of coffee contains an average of 60-120 mg of caffeine, a decaffeinated maximum of 5-8 mg, according to EU directives, is up to 0,1 % , in USA 3 %. so there isn’t 100% caffeine free coffee because the caffeine is inside the coffee beans and can only be extracted from it by different processes. So the question arises: is decaf coffee healthy?
Is decaf coffee healthy?
Let’s see closer this question. It depends on which process we choose. Most decaffeinated coffees are produced by solvent process. These coffee are usually lower quality and not so tasty.
Fortunately, we can find high-quality decaf coffee which good for the health and really enjoyable, you don’t feel the difference because the taste and the aroma like caffeinated coffee.
How is decaffeinated coffee made?
Since the structure of coffee beans changes significantly as a result of roasting, the decaffeinated process is based on raw coffee.
The desired reduced caffeine level can be achieved by a number of methods. They are usually carried out on green beans, and procedures most often begin with steaming. Coffee beans then soaked in a substance that extracts caffeine from them so that the other fragrances and flavors in them remain intact.
The coffee contains more than 400 chemicals that are important for pleasure, achieving the perfect end result is a challenge.
There are 3 methods for extracting caffeine: organic solvent processes, “Swiss-water” and CO2.
Organic solvent processes
The essence of the procedure is to use a solvent to extract the caffeine content of coffee, which in this way achieves more intense dissolution in the caffeine reaction than if it were only in contact with water.
The oldest and less quality-preserving process. As a rule this used for cheaper coffees, the treated coffee beans lose a lot of flavors.
The main reason for the widespread use of the solvent method lies in its speed and efficiency. The most widely used solvent today is methylene chloride (dichloromethane, DTM), a drug that has dominated the decaffeinated market since the mid-1970s.
In recent years, thanks to continuous research, ethyl acetate extracted from fruits has appeared, the use of which is becoming more and more widespread in the industry. Coffee treated with ethyl acetate is often called naturally exempted.
During the direct procedure, green coffee is first treated with steam to loosen its primary structure, and then soaked in a solvent, which reacts with caffeine. Thus, the dissolution is much more intense than if it came into contact with “only” water. The grains will be dried again.
The disadvantage is that with the solvent not only caffeine, but also other substances can be released from coffee beans.
A more advanced version of the method is when the beans are soaked in water heated near boiling point, and then the caffeine-saturated water is milked into another container. This is where caffeine is removed from the water – the decaffeinated agent does not come into direct contact with the green coffee.
The danger of this procedure is that in addition to caffeine, other valuable substances (such as some of the oil essential in espresso technology) are released into the water. Therefore, it is important to return the caffeine-“purified” water to the original container containing the coffee, where raw coffee can absorb the substances dissolved in the water again.
The Swiss company Coffex developed the Swiss Water process in the 1980s, during which caffeine is released from coffee beans with the help of water. The method is completely environment-friendly, and coffee does not come into contact with chemicals.
Its new version provides even better results: only caffeine can dissolve during absorption.
Coffee is inundated with water with the same dissolved substance content as the dissolved substance green coffee, but does not contain caffeine. Then they dry and seal it.
In the most modern process, carbon dioxide is used for decaffeinated. In the supercritical state of carbon dioxide, it is suitable for selective extraction of caffeine, without affecting other soluble components. Co2 is then in the state between the gas and the liquid.
The difficult-to-imagine phenomenon can be created under pressure in 250 atmospheres (about 253 bar, which is more than 28 times the pump pressure of the coffee machine). The most expensive process, but worth it.
After all, each technology has a different effect on the taste of coffee. Solvent processes preserve acidic tastes, but reduce the body strength of coffee. The Swiss-aqueous method strengthens body strength, but can reduce acidity. However, the design of the coffee mixture allows you to balance these small changes. The consumer (ideally) should not notice that his coffee was made from a decaffeinated mixture.
Story of decaf coffee
The method of removing the caffeine content of coffee was discovered by chance by German coffee importer Dr. Ludwig Roselius. According to the story, in 1903 a shipment of coffee was flooded with seawater during transportation, and coffee beans were soaked for a long time. As a result, the coffee lost its caffeine content, yet the characteristic aroma of the coffee beans was preserved.
Roselius developed a method based on this, which describes this process under industrial conditions. He steamed the coffee beans with various acids, then soaked them in a solution of benzene, with the aim of extracting caffeine from them. A modern version of its successful method is still used today.
Surveys show that one in 10 coffee drinkers drink decaffeinated coffee, and around 18 per cent of worldwide coffee sales are made up of decaffeinated products.
Benefits of decaf coffee
Good for a liver
People who drink three cups of coffee a day for at least 10 years are less likely to have hepatitis and liver damage, according to research. This beneficial effect can be enjoyed by both consumers of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Reduce the risk of diabetes
According to one study, those who drink six cups of coffee a day are 33 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who don’t drink coffee. The effect also applies to those who drink decaffeinated – one cup of decaffeinated coffee a day reduces the chance of developing the disease by 6 percent.
Decaffeinated quality too!
As with all coffees, quality is a top priority for decaffeinated coffees. Fortunately, decaffeinated products can be solved while maintaining the taste and smell experience unchanged, while preserving the positive physiological effect of coffee, which is not caffeine-related.
The taste and aroma of a high-quality decaffeinated coffee can rival that of a caffeinated coffee, as it depends on the flavourings that develop during the roasting process. By refining the decaffeinated processes the flavourings will remain in the coffee beans, so you will continue to feel the flavors typical of arabica or robusta coffees.
So if you wanna enjoy a high-quality decaf coffee one of our recommendations is Volcanica coffee! You find Ethiopian Yirgacheffe just as Colombian or Low Acid. Last but not least their offer made with Swiss Water method what guarantee the result.