FAQs about Decaffeinated Coffee

by That's Coffee on August 15, 2011

As an alternative to regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee is growing in popularity across North America. Many coffee lovers appreciate that it won’t keep them up for hours at night and that it doesn’t make them jittery or affect their concentration.

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about Decaf Coffee Beans. We also introduce three new decaf coffees at the end.

Is Decaf Coffee 100% Caffeine Free?

Decaffeinated coffee is nearly caffeine-free. International standards dictate that coffee labeled as ‘decaf’ must have 97% of its caffeine removed. EU standards stipulate that decaf coffee must be 99.9% caffeine-free by mass.

Will I taste the difference in Decaf Coffee?

Coffee beans are made up of more than 400 different chemicals. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to remove just caffeine and not affect any of the other chemicals during the decaffeination process. Experienced and skilled coffee roasters have the ability to remove caffeine without compromising taste or flavors. Aim to purchase premium or gourmet decaf coffee beans in order to achieve indistinguishable flavors.

Do all coffees have the same levels of Caffeine?

No. Coffea Arabica (the more prestigious variety of coffee bean) has only half the amount of caffeine as Coffea robusta. More recently, the Decaffito coffee bean is being explored as it has very low levels of caffeine due to a genetic defect in the coffee plant.

Furthermore, the length of roasting affects the caffeine levels. The darker the roast or the longer the roasting time the less caffeine is left in the coffee bean. If you are seeking a coffee with lower caffeine content, select a dark roast.

What are some Common Methods to Decaffeinate Coffee Beans?

There are several processes used by coffee roasters to remove the caffeine from coffee:

Swiss Water Process

The Swiss Water Process is a multi-step process that begins with soaking green coffee beans in hot water to release caffeine and other coffee solids. The coffee beans are discarded and the water is carbon filtered to remove the caffeine. The solids that remain in the water are referred to as the “green coffee extract” (GCE) and is used to decaffeinate new green beans. The GCE traps caffeine diffused from the new green beans. The GCE is filtered through carbon once again to remove caffeine. This process is repeated several times until the coffee beans are 99.9% caffeine-free. The beans are removed and dried and maintain most, if not all, their flavor.

Direct Method

The Direct Method uses a natural solvent called ethyl acetate which is found in some fruits and vegetables. Green coffee beans are steamed for 30 minutes and then rinsed with the natural solvent for 10 hours. The beans are then drained and steamed for an additional 10 hours to remove leftover residue.

Indirect Method

The Indirect Method also uses ethyl acetate as a natural solvent but uses a different process. Coffee beans are soaked in hot water as if brewing a strong pot of coffee. A repeated process of soaking coffee beans in hot water, removing the beans and using ethyl acetate to evaporate caffeine from the water eventually brings a new level of equilibrium without caffeine. Many refer to this method as ‘water-processed’ because of the use of water.

New Decaffeinated Coffees

Our line of coffee beans is expanding. Check out these new decaffeinated coffees:

Decaffeinated E-Coffee Blend – a highly secretive recipe of 100% Arabica coffee beans compose this superior tasting decaf coffee that is only available online; medium-dark roasted.

Gourmet Decaf Sumatra Mandheling – world famous Sumatran coffee available as decaf; mildly earthy and chocolaty flavors make this medium-dark roasted decaf coffee a treat.

Decaf World Tour Coffee Blend – rich flavors of South American, Central American and African coffee beans come together in this decaf coffee that is fruity and chocolaty; medium roasted.

“Decaf FAQs”
courtesy of
your online coffee bean store:
Gourmet Coffee Beans

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