Decaffeinated coffee is becoming increasingly popular.
Basically, coffee fans love the coffee not only for its taste but also for its stimulating effect, which comes from caffeine. Caffeine is like a little legal drug and as with anything, there can be “too much” in it.
For example, some people cannot tolerate caffeine or refrain from drinking coffee in the evening for fear of not being able to fall asleep. In these cases decaffeinated coffee is a great alternative that is becoming increasingly popular.
This is also because the taste hardly suffers from it and it is not comparable with alcohol-free beer, which tastes more watery than normal beer. You will find our selected decaffeinated coffees in an extra section in our shop. There you will find decaffeinated beans, ground coffees, ESE pods and capsules.
Decaffeinated coffee has become more and more popular, especially in Italy over the last 10 years, with a trade volume of 539 million euros in 2014.
In Italy, decaffeinated espresso is usually referred to as “decaff” (from decoffeinato) and traditionally associated with a light blue colour on the packaging. Take care of that.
Caffeine as an antidote in nature
In nature, caffeine is an antidote to predators. The coffee cherry stores most of its caffeine in the coffee cherry, the pulp around the coffee beans. So if a predator eats the cherry, he gets a multiple of caffeine than we do with a cup of espresso.
Resourceful food developers have therefore already developed teas from the dried pulp. If you really need or tolerate a lot of caffeine, you should treat yourself to one of these teas.
Anyone who tries to reduce their caffeine consumption or chlorogenic acid, which not everyone tolerates so well, does not necessarily have to resort to decaffeinated coffee products.
Since Robusta beans contain a lot of caffeine and chlorogenic acid, the Arabicas can be used because they contain less of it. So if you want coffees that are naturally low in caffeine, you should buy 100% Arabica blends online from us.
Decaffeinated is not always decaffeinated
Coffee beans whose caffeine content has been almost completely removed are referred to as decaffeinated coffee. The residual caffeine content may not exceed 0.1% in the EU.
The beans from which the caffeine has been extracted are therefore not one hundred percent caffeine-free. Therefore, it is similar to non-alcoholic beer, because it is not reduced to 0% alcohol content.
The most popular decaffeination processes for coffee
A large number of processes and methods for extracting caffeine are now available. Natural” and “chemical” processes are often referred to. It is a matter of definition to what extent naturally occurring solvents are described as natural or not. We have spoken of course in these cases below, even if the solvents are produced chemically on a large scale.
Chemical processes (rather unhealthy but cheap)
Process with benzene (possibly carcinogenic)
Ludwig Roselius developed the first method for extracting caffeine at the beginning of the 20th century. During this process, the unroasted, i.e. green beans are soaked in salt water. The caffeine is then removed from the coffee beans with the help of benzene. Since benzene has now been found to be carcinogenic, the process is now used with other chemicals.
- Natural process with water (complex and expensive)
- Indirect process (complex, without chemistry)
The Swiss Water Process was developed in the late 1970s. The beans are placed in hot water until all components are dissolved out. The coffee beans are then disposed of, the water now contains all the components of the coffee and passes through an activated carbon filter that removes the caffeine. The beans come into the water, where only the caffeine is released from the beans. This method is very time-consuming, as the process must be repeated several times. The process works completely without chemicals. However, the SGP is now rarely practised.
- Natural process with natural solvents (good & payable)
- Direct process with dichloromethane/ethyl acetate (vegetable solvent)
The beans first swell in hot water or steam for 30 minutes. Afterwards they come 10 hours in ethyl acetate. This chemical is obtained from fruit or vegetables and therefore has a fruity smell. Dichloromethane is also used instead of ethyl acetate. As soon as the caffeine content has risen below 0.1%, the solvent is rinsed out with steam. The gas is very volatile and evaporates at 40°C and can therefore be easily removed with steam. This process has been practiced for a long time and is of great importance for