Decaf coffee may not be the golden child of coffee, but it certainly has its place in the coffeesphere. It packs all the usual antioxidants of a normal cup of coffee without the jittery effects of caffeine… and it can be quite tasty!
How is Decaf Coffee Made?
The decaffeination process is a scientific challenge to retain the components of a coffee bean that make it delicious, while stripping as much caffeine as possible. This is done using a combination of water and either methylene chloride, activated charcoal, CO2, or ethyl acetate.
There are two main methods for accomplishing the decaffeination: a solvent-based process and a non-solvent-based process.
The solvent-based decaffeination process involves using a chemical to eliminate the caffeine—though it’s not always the case that the chemicals actually touch the bean at all.
The non-solvent based decaffeination process is popular in Europe. The beans are soaked for hours in near-boiling water, washed with a chemical like methylene chloride, and then reintroduced to the liquid that contains coffee oils previously taken from the bean.
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