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Everything About Decaf Coffee A.K.A. The Devil’s Blend

Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee for relieving the tension and exhaustion that our hectic lives bring. A few sips of coffee and boom! We're all magically alive. There are two kinds of people in the world. Coffee addicts; those who require caffeine and the pleasant fragrance of that bean juice in the morning to survive. Then there are individuals who do not want, enjoy, or desire coffee. However, this classification excludes a third group: decaf drinkers. Decaf coffee lovers appreciate the flavor of coffee but don't want the energy boost of the caffeine. 

Among decaf drinkers, there are many individuals who’re perplexed as to why they should drink decaf coffee because they believe decaf tastes worse than regular coffee. Plus, there’s also the concern that decaf coffee is chemically processed and has a history of employing hazardous chemicals for the decaffeination process, giving the name a bad connotation.

As an alternative to ordinary coffee, decaffeinated coffee is available at almost every coffee shop. Contrary to common misconception, decaf coffee still contains caffeine, but in considerably lower quantities than normal coffee. If that surprises you, keep reading to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of drinking decaf coffee.

What is Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee is derived from coffee beans that have had the majority of their caffeine removed before roasting and grinding. The beans are often treated in organic solvents until all of the caffeine has been absorbed. A standard cup of coffee, for example, has around 95 milligrams of caffeine, but a cup of decaf coffee contains only 2 milligrams of caffeine.

The History Of Decaffeinating 

Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee dealer, devised the first commercially viable decaffeination procedure in 1905. According to Atlas Obscura, one part of the decaf myth suggests that Roselius got a cargo of coffee beans that had been steeped in seawater. Roselius opted to process and test the beans rather than trash them. He discovered that the coffee had been decaffeinated but still tasted like coffee, but a little salty.

The Popular Methods Of Decaffeination

Decaf coffee, like regular coffee, begins as green, unroasted beans. Because it's difficult to extract only the caffeine and none of the other flavor chemicals, the decaffeinated version is typically associated with less palatable coffee and decaffeinated coffee beans are infamously difficult to roast effectively. There are three methods for producing decaf coffee: the Swiss water technique, the carbon dioxide method, and lastly, the methyl chloride process. Here's a quick rundown of each of them.

The Swiss Water Method

This is the process of soaking green coffee beans in water until the water becomes saturated with the soluble components of coffee. Green coffee extract is made by filtering the caffeine out of the water and when this extract is mixed with caffeine-containing green coffee beans, the caffeine "makes its way from the beans to the green coffee extract as the beans and liquid seek balance until the beans are practically caffeine-free."

The Magic Of Methylene Chloride 

Chemical solvents, like ethyl acetate or methylene chloride, are used in the most prevalent techniques of decaffeination. The coffee beans are steamed and then repeatedly cleansed with a chemical solvent to remove the caffeine in this direct technique. The bean-flavored solution is restored to the beans after the caffeine is removed from the water with the solvent, enabling many of the oils and tastes to be reabsorbed.

Benzene was once the preferred chemical until it was shown to be carcinogenic. Companies have now shifted to using different compounds, the most prevalent of which being ethyl acetate and methylene chloride.

The CO2 Method  

The supercritical carbon dioxide technique, as it is known technically, employs carbon dioxide (CO2) to operate as both a gas and a liquid at high temperatures and pressures. This supercritical CO2 enters the cracks of coffee beans as a gas, yet dissolves caffeine as a liquid. The beans are subjected to supercritical CO2 for many hours after they have been soaked in water (which expands cell structures and makes it simpler to extract the caffeine molecules). After the caffeinated CO2 liquefies and evaporates, the beans are processed. There is minimal change in flavor as a result of decaffeination since this approach preserves carbs and proteins. 

The 2 sides Of A Decaffeinated Coffee Bean 

The Pros 

  • Caffeine has been linked to sleeplessness, heart palpitations, and a variety of other health issues. It is a stimulant, as well as a diuretic and an acidic substance. If you have heartburn, gastrointestinal difficulties, or trouble sleeping, decaf coffee can help you avoid the negative effects of caffeine while still letting you enjoy the goodness of coffee.
  • Anxiety is a typical adverse effect of coffee. Caffeine can cause jitters, restlessness, and anxiousness. It's crucial to remember, however, that while coffee does not cause anxiety, it might exacerbate symptoms in those who are already anxious. If you suffer from anxiety and consume regular coffee, you might have to consider shifting your choice to decaf before your situation worsens.

The Cons

  • Some decaf coffees contain methyl chloride, a chemical commonly found in paint strippers. In humans, excessive doses of this chemical can cause severe neurological consequences, and in animals, continuous exposure to this can cause central nervous system effects.
  • The effects of decaf coffee on cholesterol in humans have been studied in several research pieces. Some claim that it raises cholesterol levels, while others claim it has no impact.  Though the results are inconclusive for the time being, it's better to be safe than sorry.

What Does The Global Market Say About Decaffeinated Coffee?

The global decaffeinated coffee industry was worth USD 1.65 billion as of  2019, and it is likely to increase significantly over the next few years. Buyers are likely to switch to decaffeinated beverages as they are becoming more aware of the potential psychological consequences of caffeine, which is a stimulant ingredient found in regular coffee. Excessive intake of caffeinated beverages has been linked to jitteriness, restlessness, sleeplessness, and raised blood pressure in recent years, according to several health studies. As a result, consumers are spending more on caffeine-free refreshments like decaf coffee.

Here’s a graphical representation of the estimated Decaf Market Size from 2016 to 2027.

A Collection Of The Best Tasting Decaf Coffee Beans And Blends

  • Decaf Brazil Coffee - Social Brew
  • Brazil's Santos, a coastal region is recognized for its smooth, delicate, and mellow coffee beans. It's often referred to as a soft coffee since it's delicate and gentle, with just a tinge of sweetness. This decaf is made using the Swiss technique.  To assure you of the premium quality, it's gently roasted a little darker than our medium roasted coffees, which introduces overtones of rich chocolate. If you're a decaf convert, Decaf Brazil from Social Brew is an absolute must-try!

  • Decaf with a Colombian Twist - Savorista
  • With this decaf blend, you can enjoy all of the complexities of caffeinated coffee as the chocolate and caramel mingle with citrus to make a perfect medium-bodied bean.

  • Breakfast Blend Decaf- Green Mountain Coffee
  • Get the goodness of a light roast that has notes of sweetness with some playful nuttiness and a clean mouthfeel to finish.

  • No Fun Jo Decaf Coffee
  • A whole bean decaf coffee blend that's complex and will have you tasting blueberry while offering you the sweetness of milk chocolate.

  • Decaf La Cebia
  • This mix from Huehuetenango, Guatemala - Central America, features a fruity taste profile with overtones of plum and mandarin, as well as the nutty richness from brown sugar.

  • Decaf Columbia - Trailhead Coffee Roasters
  • This decaf's balanced medium roast is just what you need when you're too caffeinated. It comes from Oregon and is made incorporating a Colombian sugar cane technique.

    Decaf coffee is a softer version of regular coffee, with a mellower flavor and aroma and, of course, less caffeine. It's an excellent alternative for individuals who dislike the sharp hint of bitterness and the pungent odor of regular coffee. However, if you are addicted to coffee and consume more than a couple of cups of coffee a day, switching to decaf coffee could be one of the best solutions to limit caffeine intake while also satisfying the untimely cravings. In the end, it's all about personal choice. 

    If you’re exploring the parallel universe of coffee, try Social Brew. An e-commerce coffee company that enjoys bringing the flavor of the world's top gourmet and specialty coffees into the lives and routines of ardent coffee lovers like you. Also, almost half of our proceeds work on supporting the victims of Human Trafficking. Come join us and experience goodness that flows beyond the brim.