The Truth behind Decaffeinated Coffees
Written by Bacha Coffee|21 January 2021
|3 mins|Coffee Culture
What you need to know to choose the right decaf
Decaf coffee is often associated with producing bland, tasteless and weak brews. Many coffee lovers avoid decaf coffees because they are convinced that they can never taste good.However, when done right, decaf coffees can taste as good a regular coffee – just with less caffeine.
Here are three factors to consider when choosing the right decaf coffee for you:
1. Opt for chemical-free decaffeinated coffees
Chemical-free decaffeination ensures that the coffees are kept in their purest form, making it safe for coffee lovers who are concerned about what they put into their bodies.
Natural carbon dioxide extraction
In natural carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction, green coffee beans are steamed and then added to a high-pressure vessel where a mixture of water and carbon dioxide is circulated. This is a slow process that may go on for up 12 hours to ensure that as much caffeine as possible has been removed. While the process may sound tedious, it ensures that only caffeine is dissolved into the carbon dioxide, while all the aromatic and flavour compounds of the coffee beans remain intact.
Bacha Coffee uses the natural carbon dioxide extraction method to create its decaffeinated coffees. Celebrated for preserving of all of their original characteristics, Bacha decaf coffees retain their subtle variances in intensity as well as their rich flavour and complexity. View our selection of over 17 decaffeinated single origin, fine blended and fine flavoured coffees here.
Decaf coffees can taste as good a regular coffee – just with less caffeine
Another chemical-free process is the Swiss-water method created in Switzerland in the 1980s. This process is less common as it is more costly and can result in coffees with much more muted flavours.
2. Avoid decaf coffee made using solvent-based processes whenever possible
Most coffee is decaffeinated by using chemical solvents such as methyl chloride or ethyl acetate. These solvents are used to extract caffeine from green coffee beans. However, they can sometimes strip off the natural components that give coffee its bold flavour and characteristics. Decaf coffees made this way may not taste as good. You may also find chemical residues in coffees decaffeinated using solvent methods.
READ LABELS CLOSELY
Some coffees are labelled “chemical-free” or “naturally decaffeinated” when they are decaffeinated using the solvent ethyl acetate — a natural compound found in ripening fruits.
However, the natural compound is rarely used. The synthetic version — also used in household items such as paint and cleaning items — is often more common.
FUN FACT: The Origins of Decaf Coffee
The first commercially available decaf coffee was discovered in Germany in the early 1900s by Dr. Ludwig Roselius. He patented a method that involves steaming coffee to remove caffeine from moistened green coffee beans. This process of steaming coffee to remove caffeine is still a process which is used today.