In today’s health conscious world, we are all encouraged to take better care of ourselves and think about what we put into our bodies. Decaffeinated coffee is one of those pieces of advice that professional healthcare workers readily give to us, but where did it come from and how do they take the caffeine out of coffee.
Going back to 1903, when the first commercially successful decaffeination process was invented by two gentlemen, one of whom was the German coffee merchant, Ludwig Roselius, founder of Kaffee HAG. He did this by steaming coffee beans with a brine or salt water solution and then using benzene, which is a pleasant smelling natural constituent of crude oil as a solvent to remove the caffeine. Today in Amercia, Café HAG now is one of Kraft Foods brands, although benzene is no longer used due to healths concerns which were raised many years ago.
Today’s decaffeination is done using several various processes, but usually performed on unroasted or green beans and then steamed and rinsed with solvents until they meet the required standard to be called decaffeinated. The International standard is only 97% removal of the caffeine whereas in the EU this is 99.9%. So despite removing the caffeine many decaffeinated drinks still have about 1 to 2% of the original caffeine.
Coffee contains over 400 chemicals which all go to make up the final taste and aroma. So how much healthier is decaf than normal coffee. Well, experts say that decaf coffee has a higher level of acidity than regular coffee so may aggravate certain health problems like acid reflux or people with ulcers. So decaffeinated coffee may not be for everyone, but if you just can’t get through the day without your coffee fix, then a cup of decaf could the be answer.