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Decaffeinated Coffee

Decaffeinated coffee is a coffee that is prepared by using those coffee beans from which caffeine has been removed. The process of decaffeination of coffee beans causes omitting the ill effects of caffeine in the coffee brewed from them. Decaffeinated coffee is gaining popularity amongst health conscious people, who like to savor the rich taste of coffee without being subjected to the ill effects of caffeine in the drink.

Process of Decaffeinating Coffee Beans

During decaffeination, non-roasted green coffee beans are first subjected to steaming, and then to rinsing with a solvent that tends to extract the caffeine from these beans. The process is repeated 8 to 12 number of times, till the caffeine removed is 97% as per international standards, or 99.99% as per European Union standards. It is a difficult and skillful task to remove caffeine from coffee without altering hundreds of other compounds present in coffee beans that are responsible for its specific taste and aroma.

The decaffeinated coffee bean is then roasted and ground to the desired fineness and treated with water to prepare the brew as usual.

Different Mehtods of Decaffeinating Coffee Beans

Decaffeination of coffee beans has been carried out in many ways in the history of coffee. Modern techniques of growing coffee beans of decaffeinated variety are also under research stage. Here are two examples of methods for preparing decaffeinated coffee beans, amongst a host of many others -

Roselius process: The process was invented by Ludwig Roselius and Karl Wimmer in the year 1903. It involved steaming of the coffee beans with brine and then treating them with benzene to remove caffeine. It is not used now due to health risks associated with use of benzene.

Swiss Water Process: The process involves soaking unroasted coffee beans in water to remove all coffee extracts, and then, discarding them. The coffee extract is then passed through carbon filter which traps the caffeine but allows the rest of the constituents to pass through, and the resulting liquid is called 'green coffee extract'. This extract is then used to treat new coffee beans which tend to lose their caffeine to it, while retaining most of the coffee flavor.

Health Benefits of Decaffeinated Coffee Bean

Decaffeinated coffee incorporates the delicious taste of coffee sans the health risks of caffeine, which can be listed as under-

  • Caffeine is known to cause lack of sleep and shortening of sleep periods, which may result in poor overall health and lack of energy and alertness on the following day.
  • It inhibits absorption of adenosine hormone in the body, which is known to have a calming effect on the body. This results in short term alertness, but may cause lack of sleep later.
  • Caffeine can increase the levels of stress hormone cortisol in the body, which may cause other health problems in the body ranging from weight gain and mood swings to diabetes and heart disease.
  • It also increases level of dopamine in the system, which may result in dependence and low feelings in the long run.
  • It increases adrenaline levels in the system, resulting in immediate boost of spirit but feelings of fatigue and depression later on.

Decaffeinated coffee beans eliminate all the above ill effects of caffeine without compromising much on the original coffee taste.