How is coffee decaffeinated?
A lot of people in the United States are coffee drinkers. Most of them believe a cup of coffee in the morning will bring them whole-day energy. However, there are some people like the taste and aroma of coffee, but want to avoid caffeine’s effect on sleep, pregnancy, or restlessness. Decaf coffee can be a great replacement. You may curious about how coffee is decaffeinated.
The Ways to Decaffeinate Coffee
The primary coffee decaffeination methods are solvent decaffeination, Carbon dioxide decaffeination and Water decaffeination. And the most common method of decaffeination is solvent decaffeination. There are two types of solvent decaffeination, direct and indirect. In the direct method, the green coffee beans are steamed and rinsed repeatedly with the chemical solvent to flush away the caffeine. The two most common solvents are methylene chloride and ethyl acetate. The chemical solvent will be wash away when the decaffeination finished. Any solvent residues remain below the strict limits fixed by law. And then, decaffeinated coffee beans will be dried to its original moisture.
In indirect solvent decaffeination, the chemical solvent won’t directly contact coffee beans. Coffee beans are soaked in the water for hours. The caffeine and other flavor compounds dissolve in the water. And the chemical solvent will be used to treat the caffeine-laden water.
Carbon dioxide decaffeination is the most expensive method among these three. Carbon dioxide under high temperature and pressure turns to be as both a gas and a liquid. It will selectively extract the caffeine. This is also the most efficient method.
Water decaffeination is created by Swiss. It’s the only organic method among all. Green coffee beans are soaked in water to extract caffeine and other compounds. Discard the soaked bean and filter the water with a carbon filter. Larger caffeine molecules will be removed from the water only. And then use this water to soak new coffee beans. The water is only a lack of caffeine, therefore, it will only extract caffeine from the new beans. All other compounds are retained in the beans. Now you have decaf coffee beans.
From these methods, we can tell which one will best remain other compounds while extract caffeine and which one has no need to worry about the residue of chemical solvents. However, the price must differ when using different decaffeination methods. But if you choose the decaf beans from trustworthy brands, you don’t have to worry about edible safety. Now you can make your decision to buy decaf coffee beans.