Decaffeinated or decaf coffee is just a regular coffee whose caffeine is removed with some methods. The thing is, these methods don’t guarantee the removal of all the caffeine content. According to some health and food organizations, decaffeinated coffee can have a maximum 3% of caffeine in order to be marketed.
With its low caffeine content, decaf coffee is the best choice for those who don’t want to be awake all night. In addition, if you have some health conditions that can be triggered by caffeine intake, you might want to consider drinking decaf coffee instead of the regular one.
Is Decaffeinated Coffee Bad for You?
The infamous question: is decaf coffee bad for you? The answer is we don’t know.
We know that decaf coffee has lots of health benefits. For instance, it is full of antioxidants just like the regular coffee, only it is 15% fewer in amount. That means decaf coffee might help you to be healthier if it’s consumed moderately.
In addition, we know that decaf coffee is considerably better in terms of lowering the risk of heartburn and acid reflux compared to the regular coffee.
Yet, we don’t exactly know all the side effects of it. Our advice is don’t go too hard. If you drink it moderately, the risk of encountering a problem will reduce. More importantly, if you have conditions that could be triggered by coffee, you should consult your doctor. To sum up, BE CAREFUL.
Does It Contain Caffeine?
Contrary to its name, decaf coffee does contain caffeine. It can keep up to 4 percent of its caffeine content after the decaffeination process is done and this content might vary from coffee to coffee.
To be more specific, in a 6oz cup of coffee, there can be caffeine 0 mg to 10 mg.
So, the answer is yes; contrary to popular belief, decaffeinated coffee can contain caffeine, but it’s far less then the caffeine in a regular coffee.
How to “Decaf” a Coffee
Decaffeinating a coffee bean isn’t an easy job; decaf coffee bean go through a lot of processes. Yet, three of them are more commonly used than the other methods.
First method is called “The Swiss Water” and it is done by adding the beans into the hot water to extract the chemicals and the caffeine from the raw beans. It is a rather safe method considering that it’s chemical free, yet The Swiss Water method heavily affects the flavor of the coffee. While removing the chemicals, it also removes some of the flavors too. Therefore, you may not be able to properly distinguish these coffee beans’ flavor.
The next method is called “environmental” or “natural. This method involves washing the beans with liquid carbon dioxide, which results in a caffeine-free coffee at the end.
Being the most common method, Chemical Decaffeination or Direct Contact method is the one which can be considered the most harmful one. This method involves treating the beans with a chemical called methylene chloride. After the roasting, the chemical and most of the caffeine will disappear.
Regular Coffee vs Decaf Coffee
Of course, the most frequently asked question is whether regular coffee and decaf coffee are different or not. The answer is, they ARE different. They differ significantly in taste, caffeine content, and preparation method.
Perhaps their taste may be the most distinctive feature of regular coffee and decaf coffee.
Due to the decaffeination process which removes most of the caffeine in green beans, decaf coffee loses some of its natural flavor and aroma. After the decaffeination process is done, decaf coffee becomes a milder and weaker drink than regular coffee. The reason why it becomes milder is the lack of chemicals such as caffeine that gives the coffee its flavor and strongness. Thus, if you want a stronger drink regular coffee might be the one for you.
As you might have already guessed, they mostly differ in their caffeine content.
Regular coffee’s caffeine level can change depending on the bean used. For instance, Robusta beans are superior to arabica beans with almost twice the caffeine content. Therefore, baristas’ choices are greatly affected by this fact. For instance, they use arabica beans to make coffees that are low in caffeine.
Decaf coffee, on the other hand, is widely believed to have zero caffeine in it. This is wrong. It may contain caffeine up to %3. To clarify, in a 6oz cup of decaf coffee, you might find 7 mg caffeine maximum.
Decaf espresso decaffeinated coffee is prepared by removing all of the caffeine in coffee beans that are used in the process. As caffeine and the other chemicals that are responsible for the flavor are removed, decaf coffee’s flavor becomes different than regular coffee.
As we mentioned above, there are three main methods for decaffeinating.
One of the methods is called “Swiss Water Process”. It can be considered as chemical-free as this method uses a charcoal filter to extract the caffeine instead of chemicals such as methlylene chloride.
Second one is named “Liquid Carbon Dioxide”. This process also doesn’t contain any chemicals and is considered to be one of the best methods. It is done by dissolving the caffeine in a mixture that contains water and coffee beans by using liquid carbon dioxide. Hence, the name.
The last and the most common one is “Chemical Decaffeination”. In this method, chemicals like methylene chloride are heavily used. To put it simply, a chemical is added into a mixture of coffee and water. Afterwards, the water is evaporated in order to remove all the caffeine content in it and voilà. You have your coffee without caffeine now.
Making regular coffee, on the other hand, is a much simpler process. All you need to do is cultivate the coffea plant’s berries and roasting them according to your own preference. Roasting levels can vary from light to very dark. As you might have guessed, coffee’s flavor and acidity will change according to it, too.
A proud coffee aficionado who is determined to share his passion and knowledge about coffee with others. Writing and sci-fi are sine qua non of my life. It is not a good day for me if I haven’t had my coffee in the morning.
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