Facts About Decaf Coffee

Does Decaf Coffee Have Caffeine? The answer is yes. While USDA regulations stipulate that decaf should not exceed 0.10 percent caffeine on a dry basis in the package, comparison between brewed regular and decaf coffee shows that decaf appears to have at least 97% of caffeine removed. Therefore, the caffeine is Decaf coffee is insignificant. To put this into perspective, an average 12-ounce (354-ml) cup of coffee containing 180 mg of caffeine would have about 5.4 mg of caffeine in a decaffeinated state.Caffeine content in decaf coffee depends on the type of bean and the decaffeination process.

While 97 percent of the caffeine must be removed, the Robusta bean will have more caffeine left over than the Arabica bean after the decaffeination process is completed, which can lead to a lot of variance among brands.

The FDA does not require the amount of caffeine to be labeled on decaffeinated coffee products, but the upshot is that if you’re looking for less caffeine in your cup, you should pay attention to the type of bean that goes into it.

The average 12-ounce cup of decaf coffee – a Starbucks tall – usually contains between 3 and 18 milligrams of caffeine. (By comparison, an 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine) The average of amount of caffeine in regular coffee can vary significantly, usually between 140 and 300 mg.

How Are Decaf Coffee Beans Made

Decaf coffee beans are typically made by one of three methods, using either water, organic solvents or carbon dioxide to draw caffeine out of the coffee beans. However, the decaffeination process does alter the smell and taste of coffee, resulting in a milder flavor and different color.

All methods soak or steam green, unroasted coffee beans until the caffeine is dissolved or until the pores of the beans are opened. From there, the caffeine is extracted.

Here is a brief description of each method and how caffeine is extracted.

  • buy serpina Solvent-based process: This method uses a combination of methylene chloride, ethyl acetate and water to create a solvent that extracts the caffeine. Neither chemical is found in coffee as they evaporate.
  • Swiss water process: This is the only organic method of decaffeinating coffee. It relies on osmosis to extract caffeine and guarantees a 99.9% decaffeinated product.
  • Carbon dioxide process: The newest method uses carbon dioxide, a compound naturally found in coffee as a gas, to remove the caffeine and leave other flavor compounds intact. While efficient, it’s also expensive.

Decaffeinated Coffee Loses Antioxidants During Extraction

All decaffeinated extraction methods either soak or steam the coffee beans with water in order to extract the caffeine. Soaking the beans is like brewing a very strong, concentrated cup of coffee. Steaming opens up the pores of the beans so whatever solvent is used can enter the beans and remove the caffeine.

Boiling or steaming water changes the coffee bean’s phytochemical structure during decaffeination. This is due to the exposure to extreme heat and the resulting hydrolysis of coffee’s chlorogenic acids that are water soluble antioxidants. Decaf coffee becomes chemically-altered and degraded compared to natural, non-decaffeinated coffee beans. Although both decaf and regular coffee lose antioxidant compounds during the roasting process, decaf coffee has a higher loss of chlorogenic acids after roasting that may be due to the chemical changes the coffee beans underwent during decaffeination.




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