If we had a coin for every time billions of people wake up and take coffee, we would rule the world now. In other words, Coffee is one of the most popular beverage drink in the world. This is primarily because it gives most people the strength, agility and the mental alertness they need to jumpstart the day. Caffeine is that magical substance in coffee that gives it this tremendous power. Conversely, some people don’t care much for the surge in the energy that a cup of coffee wields; they only want to enjoy the flavor and be on their way. This may be due to some health reasons or simply just a matter of life choice. Whichever, they just want to have nothing with caffeine.
What is the Decaf Coffee?
The decaf coffee is the same as decaffeinated coffee, i.e., the regular coffee void of caffeine. It is coffee culled from coffee beans, but that already have at least 97% of their caffeine removed. As the story holds, Ludwig Roselius, a German Coffee Mogul inadvertently discovered decaf in the early 20th century. It was said that some bags of coffee beans got soaked in seawater during, thus naturally extracting some of the caffeine. A few years after this discovery, Ludwig went ahead to obtain a patent right for what will be regarded as the first successful procedure of decaffeinating. This time, he deviated from the natural salt water process, the procedure involved using Benzene at that time. However, there was a boomerang as the inhaling of coffee was connected as first to mild effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. Later on, it was known to cause cancer, blood disorders, and gynecological issues in pregnant women. Thus, there have to be better ways to get caffeine out of coffee, hence the safer decaffeination methods used by most coffee manufacturers today.
The Process of Decaffeination.
There are more than one ways to extract caffeine from the coffee beans. We are familiar with at least three. There is the more common method of using a chemical solvent, using a liquid carbon dioxide, and the last which involves simply using water. The chemical solvent method utilizes synthetic materials such as the ethyl acetate and the methylene chloride in the process of decaffeination. The liquid carbon dioxide methods and the water soaking process do not require the use of any chemical substances. The Water Process is said to produce the best result in terms of flavor retention. But it is difficult, strenuous and more expensive to employ this process on an industrial scale. However, all of these processes involving soaking or steaming the unroasted green coffee beans until the caffeine is dissolved and their pore becomes accessible. The caffeine therein can then be extracted. After these process, the nutritional value of the decaf should be uncompromised and is more or less similar to the regular coffee. Though the flavor and aroma may become a little milder and the color may lose a little saturation. But that is understandable. Moreover, these noticeable will depend on the method used in the decaffeination process.
How much Caffeine Remains in the Decaf?
Here we come to the essence of the article. Bear in mind that not a single of the decaffeination method is capable of eliminating caffeine completely. Indeed, the FDA has a regulation in place that at least 97 percent of caffeine be removed from the coffee. But we have found that some decaffeinated coffee still retains up to 12mg of caffeine per cup. Thus, decaf coffee isn’t entirely of caffeine, but how much caffeine is too much caffeine for a decaf coffee?
Typically, caffeine composition in the decaf will depend mainly on the coffee bean. Most coffees usually contain a blend of two of bean types. They are the hardy Robusta bean and more delicate and sweet Arabica bean. The former contains twice the amount of caffeine in the Arabica bean. In the enterprise scene, instant coffee manufacturers such as Maxwell House and Folders tilt toward the Robusta blends. Meanwhile, coffee brands like the Caribou and the famous Starbucks are well known for using the pure Arabica beans.
The implication of this is that you will have to be one to determine which contains more caffeine manually. Here’s the trick, the Robusta bean will have more caffeine left in it than the Arabica means after the completion of the decaffeination process, hence, a world of decaf variance between among the coffee enterprises. Your critical attention to the caffeine level is made even more important since the FDA doesn’t mandate that the amount of caffeine must be labeled on the decaf coffee products.
Let us run some numbers so that you can understand what we mean better. A 12-ounce cup of decaf coffee from Starbucks will typically contain between 3 to 18 mg of caffeine. A Consumer Report from some years ago showed the level of caffeine in decafs from popular vendors. Most vendors turned in decaf cups that are less than five mg of caffeine, which is good. McDonald’s had the fewest.