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What exactly is Decaf or caffeine free coffee?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023


Decaf or caffeine free coffee

When you think of coffee, the word "caffeine" probably comes to mind. After all, it's the caffeine that gives coffee that instant energy boost and helps us power through the day. But what if you love the taste of coffee but want to limit your caffeine intake? That's where decaffeinated coffee comes in. Decaffeinated coffee, as the name suggests, is coffee from which most of the caffeine has been removed. Here's a brief overview of its history and some interesting facts:


History of decaffeinated coffee:

1. Early Attempts:

   - The idea of decaffeination dates back to the early 20th century. Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee merchant, is often credited with the first commercial decaffeination process. In 1903, he accidentally discovered that a batch of coffee beans was decaffeinated after being soaked in seawater during transport. This happy accident sparked further interest in decaffeination methods.


2. Swiss Water Process:

   - One of the earliest commercial decaffeination processes is the Swiss Water Process, developed in Switzerland in the 1930s. This method uses water and activated charcoal to remove caffeine. The process begins by soaking the coffee beans in hot water, which extracts the caffeine along with other compounds. The water is then passed through activated charcoal, which traps the caffeine molecules while allowing the other compounds to pass through. The caffeine-free water is then used to remove caffeine from a new batch of beans, ensuring that only the caffeine is removed.


3. Chemical Solvents:

   - In the mid-20th century, chemical solvents like ethyl acetate and methylene chloride were introduced as more efficient ways to decaffeinate coffee. These solvents are still used today but in regulated amounts. The beans are steamed, which opens up the pores and allows the solvent to remove the caffeine. The solvent is then removed, and the beans are steamed again to remove any remaining residue. While these solvents are considered safe and are used in regulated amounts, some people prefer decaf coffee that has been decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process or the CO2 Method.


Interesting Facts about decaffeinate coffee:

1. Decaffeination Methods:

   - There are different methods used to decaffeinate coffee. The solvent-based method involves using chemical solvents like ethyl acetate or methylene chloride to extract caffeine. The Swiss Water Process, on the other hand, uses only water, temperature, and time to decaffeinate coffee without the use of chemicals. The CO2 Method involves using carbon dioxide as a solvent to extract caffeine in a controlled environment. Each method has its pros and cons, and the choice of method may affect the taste and quality of the decaffeinated coffee.


2. Caffeine Content:

   - Decaffeinated coffee is not completely caffeine-free. It typically contains about 1-5% of the caffeine found in regular coffee. While the caffeine content may vary depending on the decaffeination method used, it is significantly lower compared to regular coffee. This makes decaf coffee a suitable option for those who want to enjoy the taste of coffee without the effects of caffeine.


3. Decaf Varieties:

   - Most types of coffee, including popular ones like Arabica and Robusta, have decaffeinated versions. So, if you have a favorite coffee bean, you can likely find a decaf version. This means that you don't have to compromise on taste or variety when choosing decaf coffee.


4. Health Benefits:

   - Some people choose decaf for health reasons. Excessive caffeine intake may lead to issues like insomnia, anxiety, or digestive problems. By opting for decaf, individuals can still enjoy the taste and aroma of coffee without the potential negative effects of caffeine. Decaf coffee also contains antioxidants, which have various health benefits.


5. Taste Differences:

   - Decaffeinated coffee can have a slightly different taste compared to regular coffee. The decaffeination process may affect the flavor profile of the coffee beans, and some people claim that decaf is less robust or has a milder taste. However, advancements in decaffeination methods have minimized flavor differences, and many people find that the taste of decaf coffee is just as enjoyable as regular coffee.


6. Decaf Myths:

   - There are some myths surrounding decaffeinated coffee. One common myth is that decaf coffee is not as flavorful as regular coffee. However, this is not necessarily true. While it's true that the decaffeination process may affect the taste to some extent, advancements in decaffeination methods and the availability of high-quality decaf options have minimized flavor differences. Another myth is that decaf coffee is caffeine-free. As mentioned earlier, decaf coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine, but significantly less compared to regular coffee.


Some questions and answers about decaffeinated coffee

Is there caffeine in decaffeinated coffee?

The National Coffee Association (NCA) says, that the process of decaffeination removes 97% or more of the caffeine from coffee beans. Our decaf goes through a very special process of decaffeination called the Swiss Process Decaffeination. With this system, 99.9% of the caffeine is being removed - you may find more info about the process on Decadent Decaf 2023.


How does our coffee become decaf?

Our You Need Coffee Decaf goes through a process called the Swiss Water method. The green coffee beans are soaked in very hot water-soluble which is found in coffee - however whiteout the caffeine. Through the hot water - the coffee beans swell and become porous (sponge-like). Thanks to the porous character of the bean, the extraction the caffeine molecule can start. This process is repeated until 99.9% of the caffeine is removed. The process takes 8 to 10 hours.


Benefits of the Swiss Water process:

Thanks to this method the coffee beans are not burned. The water is a gentle process that helps extract more caffeine than through other methods. This method as well do not change the flavor or aroma of coffee bean. This process is also more healthy as drinking burned coffee can have some impacts on our health.


Can decaffeinated coffee affect sleep?

In general, a cup of decaffeinated coffee won't affect your night's sleep. As 99.9% of the caffeine is removed. However, if your body is used to get caffeine trough coffee in order to wake up or stay awake - it is possible that even through drinking decaf, the brain can receive false messages and keep you awake. If you add sugar into your coffee, this can also keep you awake. However this is not a rule and does not apply to everyone. In general Decaf will not bother you from falling asleep and makes it a nice warm drink before bed time or in late afternoons.


Can you drink decaffeinated coffee while pregnant?

During pregnancy, it is not recommended to drink drinks that have a high level of caffeine. These include coffee, energy drinks, caffeinated teas.

But caffeine-free drinks are in general fine. Thus, we recommend to rather drink decaf during pregnancy or drink weak coffees with milk (e.g.: cappuccino, latte...).

Especially thanks to our Swiss Water processed decaf - most of the caffeine is removed. However if you are not sure whether decaf is safe for you or you are experiencing some unusual symptoms talk to your local doctor.


You can buy decaf coffee in our store:

You may as well find the green beans of our decaf coffee:


Video: About Decaf Coffee (decaffeinated coffee)


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