you surely know How are Coffee Beans Decaffeinated? For those who like to sip a cup of coffee but don’t want the effects of caffeine, decaffeinated coffee is the way to go.
Therefore, it is quite natural to wonder how coffee beans are decaffeinated. Is it safe? Is it healthy? Can I drink decaffeinated coffee every day? That’s what I’ll answer in this coffee info article.
The coffee beans are soaked in a methylene chloride or ethyl acetate solvent to remove the caffeine in the coffee bean.
Is drinking decaffeinated coffee safe?
The first question that crosses anyone’s mind when hearing this information is whether this is a safe process
Methylene chloride and the other chemicals listed above are dangerous and hazardous. With simple exposure and inhalation, it can irritate your nose, throat, and affect your nervous system. It is believed that these chemicals can slow down your nervous system and even be carcinogenic. However, there are standards in place to ensure the safety of decaffeinated coffee produced in the United States.
In short, yes, decaffeinated coffee is safe for consumption, but it hasn’t always been 100% safe. Currently, there are conventionally 3 methods used to decaffeinate coffee and all methods are safe.
The FDA has also set a rigorous standard to ensure that all of the solvents used to decaffeinate coffee are gone and the beans can be safely brewed. These standards are, after decaffeination, coffee cannot contain more than 10 parts per million of solvents. If you calculate it, that’s less than a thousandth of a percent of the coffee.
The beans are all washed, steamed and roasted at temperatures that evaporate and destroy the solvents used for decaffeination.
The decaffeination process
The decaffeination of coffee is a complex process that takes place in specialized factories separate from the roasters. There are a few roasters that have their own decaffeinated processing plants, but most roasters work with separate decaffeination companies that are not in-house to decaffeinate their beans.
There are 3 main decaffeination processes that are used.
Usually the process begins with the coffee beans being engorged while they are still green so that the caffeine inside the bean can be dissolved by solvents and chemicals.
The first method is water treatment. He uses water as a solvent to try to dissolve the caffeine from the coffee beans. The coffee beans are circulated in a container filled with water and rinsed then passed through a bed of activated charcoal, which absorbs some caffeine. Then they are treated with a carbohydrate, which helps absorb the caffeine without altering the flavor.
Another method is to use a solvent such as methylene chloride which directly dissolves the caffeine from the bean and removes it from the coffee. These solvents are applied to wet green coffee beans. Then the grains are washed and steamed to remove all traces of solvents.
The last method is to use supercritical carbon dioxide to decaffeinate the beans. It’s similar to the previous solvent method, but instead uses carbon dioxide to extract caffeine into high-pressure containers. At high pressure, carbon dioxide becomes supercritical and becomes a solvent that looks like a liquid but has the properties of a gas. When passing through the wet green coffee beans, it removes the caffeine.
After reading this, do you still want to drink decaffeinated coffee? In my opinion, caffeine is one of the best reasons to drink coffee. Learning about the decaffeination process scared me and I wonder what kind of chemicals we put into our bodies every day without realizing it.
Even according to Consumer Reports, it’s hard to understand how your coffee beans are decaffeinated. Personally, I wouldn’t want my beans to be washed in a chemical bath before being steeped in my morning cup of tea. Companies are not required to disclose how they decaffeinate their beans.
How decaffeination was discovered
This process may seem simple, but it’s not as easy as you might think. This process was discovered by Ludwig Roselius, the director of Kaffee HAG.
He believed that his father had died from too much caffeine and that caffeine was a “poison” in coffee beans.
The decaffeination process was discovered by accident while taking a shipment of coffee beans. The cargo of coffee beans had been soaked in seawater, producing coffee beans with less caffeine.
Ludwig uses it as a starting point to patent a method of decaffeinating coffee beans using steam, acids and bases. Benzene has become the gold standard for removing caffeine from decaffeinated coffee for a long time.
Benzene is no longer used for the decaffeination process due to its carcinogenic properties.
The future of decaffeinated coffee
No decaffeinated coffee is in fact 100% decaffeinated. There is always a slight amount of caffeine left over after all the washing and processing.
Scientists and food researchers are now trying to grow a “naturally caffeine-free coffee bean.” It will be based on charrieriana coffee, a type of bean that lacks caffeine. This gene could be grown in different coffee plants, resulting in beans without caffeine.