Millions of Americans drink decaf coffee to satisfy their desire for coffee without the jitter of caffeine. But is decaffeinated coffee really free of caffeine, and why do some of them taste boring or even flat? And what about chemical residue in decaffeinated coffee?
Here is the truth about decaffeination. FDA regulations specify that for coffee to bear a decaffeinated label, 97 percent of the original caffeine must be removed from the beans. The coffee we use here at Tico Coffee Roasters is actually decaffeinated to European Standards which requires 99% caffeine removal.
The caffeine is removed from green coffee beans, before they are roasted, and there are a number of different ways of decaffeinating, all of which affect the roasting process and how long the coffee stays fresh.
Most commercial coffee brands use the so called Direct Decaffeination Process, which involves the use of a chemical called methyl chloride. Methyl chloride, used in this process, is listed as a possible carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute, but FDA regulations consider up to 10 parts per million (ppm) to be safe for consumption. Trace amounts of the chemical have been found in most commercial decaf coffee brews, but most blends have a concentration at or below 1 ppm.
The other method used for decaffeination is a processes utilizing CO2 and water, the so called Water Decaffeination Process, pioneered originally 1933 in Switzerland and considered a Natural Processes. This is also the only method that can be certified organic.
It begins by soaking a batch of beans in very hot water in order to dissolve the caffeine. The water is then drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter. The porosity of this filter is sized to only capture larger caffeine molecules, while allowing smaller oil and flavor molecules to pass through it.
Consequently we end up with beans with no caffeine and no flavor in one tank, and caffeine-free “flavor charged” water (aka “Green Coffee Extract”) in another tank. And here’s where the magic happens. The flavorless caffeine-free beans are discarded, but the flavor rich water is reused to remove the caffeine from a fresh batch of coffee beans.
Since this water already is saturated with flavor ingredients the flavors in this fresh batch can’t dissolve; only caffeine moves from the coffee beans to the water. So the result is decaffeination without a massive loss of flavor.
How do I know that I buy Water Processed Decaf?
So next time you feel that you want a cup of Joe without caffeine, make sure you look for water processed decaf and these logos to make sure you get the best decaf.
We at Tico Coffee Roasters only use Water Processed Decaf as it not only produces amazing tasting decaf coffee, but also is a decaf coffee without chemical residue in the beans. Add your water processed decaf to your shopping cart now!