Decaf coffee and tea are the first options for those who want to cut down their caffeine consumption. However, many people wonder if the decaffeination process involves any risks for consumers.
There’s a wide variety of decaf coffee and tea, achieved through decaffeination. This process is the removal of caffeine, a chemical compound that’s in coffee beans and tea leaves. By definition, a decaffeinated product is one from which at least 97 percent of the original caffeine has been removed.
Caffeine can be removed in different ways, for example through a chemical method, where methylene chloride or ethyl acetate is used to draw caffeine from coffee beans on their unroasted stage. The solvent extracts the caffeine but leaves all the other molecules that give coffee its taste and nutritional values.
There are also non-chemical methods where green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to dry the caffeine on their surfaces. They stay immersed for several hours at a high temperature and soaked in coffee oils that were obtained from spent coffee grounds. During this process, the oils called triglycerides remove the caffeine from the beans, while leaving the flavor elements.
When it comes to decaffeinating tea leaves, the process is slightly different. It involves carbon dioxide, high pressure, and water.
All in all, decaffeination is completely safe and has no negative impacts on consumers’ health.
While all methods of decaffeination are proved to be safe, it’s usually difficult to make sure which decaffeination method was used in each case. This is where organic versions come in handy: consumers can trust these decaf products to have undergone the non-chemical method.