Decaffeinated Coffee: Is it Okay to Drink?
There is some skepticism whether decaffeinated coffee is safe or not. This question, quite possibly, came from when coffee was first decaffeinated. In 1906, Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee merchant, patented the first decaffeination process. However, the “Roselius Process” is no longer used today because it used the organic chemical compound benzene, a known carcinogen, as a solvent to extract the caffeine from the coffee beans.
Today, coffee can be decaffeinated by four different methods. These methods are: indirect-solvent process, direct-solvent process, Swiss water process, and carbon dioxide process. All of these methods are considered to be a low health risk, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Indirect-Solvent decaffeination is a process in which the coffee beans are soaked in hot water for several hours to remove the caffeine. Now, the water consisting of caffeine is heated and treated with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. After ten hours, the now caffeine-free water is combined with the beans once again to bring back the flavors and oils to the beans.
Swiss water process is another indirect decaffeination process, however no chemical solvents are used. Instead, the water from the coffee beans is pushed through a charcoal filter which traps the caffeine molecules, but allows the flavors and oils to pass. The initial, now flavorless coffee beans, are then thrown out. And, the caffeine-free, flavorful water is used to decaffeinate a new batch of coffee beans. As a result, the caffeine can only be removed from the new batch of beans since the water is already over-full of flavors and oils that cannot break down and very little flavor is lost.
Organic coffee processors almost entirely use the Swiss water method for decaffeination.
In the Direct-Solvent decaffeination process, coffee beans are steamed to let the caffeine out. Then, the beans are rinsed over and over with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to dissolve the caffeine. The beans are steamed once again to remove remaining solvent.
Carbon dioxide decaffeination process places water-soaked coffee beans into a stainless steel vessel. Liquid CO2 is forced into the beans under very high pressure. The caffeine evaporates once the beans return to room temperature. This process leaves the beans 97% caffeine-free.
In summary, the solvents used to decaffeinate coffee beans (methyl chloride and ethyl acetate) evaporate at 104°F. So, if you take into account that coffee beans are roasted for 15 minutes or more at a minimum temperature of 400°F. And, appropriate brewing at is 200°F. Therefore, it does not make sense that your cup of joe would contain any of the solvent.
RiseCoffeeSupply.com offers a tremendous selection of decaffeinated coffee that are guaranteed full of flavor and freshness. Some great ones to try: Gourmet House Blend, Espresso Verdi, Organic Decaf ‘Swiss Water’ Peru, and Calypso Cream Flavored Coffee.
We would love to hear you thoughts on decaf coffee and look forward to your responses.