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Ever wondered how decaffeination of coffee occurs?

Although most enthusiasts drink coffee for its caffeine-related benefits, there is a considerable minority that loves the flavors and aromas of coffee but wants to avoid the high amounts of caffeine. For such coffee lovers, decaffeinated it has been a blessing. They can enjoy their favorite blends without dealing with the effects brought about by caffeine. Let us explore how decaffeination of coffee takes place, the challenges involved, and the product that is eventually consumed. It is important to point out that no decaffeination process is 100% efficient, so even the most effective treatment still has traces of caffeine and can never be advertised as such.

Swiss Water Process

As the name suggests, this process was invented in Switzerland in the early twentieth century. Currently, it is operated by the Swiss Water Company in Canada. This method does not rely on any chemical; only water and a carbon filter are required to remove caffeine, making it among the safer methods. When you buy coffee beans online check whether your decaffeinated selection was made using this process.

The first step is to boil the coffee beans in very hot water. After all the caffeine and flavors have dissolved into the water from these beans, they are discarded as they are of no use. The water, filled with caffeine and flavor, is passed through a charcoal filter, separating the caffeine from the water. The caffeine is also discarded. The flavor-rich water is used to boil another set of fresh coffee beans. It is these beans that will be decaffeinated. As the flavor-rich water is only devoid of caffeine, it causes only the caffeine from the fresh beans to seep into the water, making the beans caffeine-free.

Carbon dioxide method

This method is more expensive than the rest and the most recent to be invented. It relies on the use of liquid carbon dioxide to remove caffeine from the coffee beans. The first step involves dissolving coffee beans in water. After this is done, they are transferred to a chamber into which liquid carbon dioxide is poured under very high pressure. This causes the caffeine molecules to bind to the carbon dioxide and move out of the coffee beans. This process is particularly effective in ensuring flavor-inducing molecules are not lost from the beans as they are unaffected by the liquid carbon dioxide. The caffeine-containing liquid is transferred to another container where the carbon dioxide is transformed into a gas, which leaves the caffeine behind and repurposed.

As this is expensive, you only find it’s beans decaffeinated by this process when you buy coffee beans online, where exclusive varieties are sold.

Indirect Solvent-Based Process

This is the first process to be discussed that involves using chemical solvents to extract caffeine from coffee beans.

The coffee beans are placed in very hot water for a few hours, allowing caffeine and flavor compounds to leave the beans. This water is then removed into separate storage and treated with chemicals, either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, which binds to the caffeine. This mixture is further heated to evaporate the caffeine. The resulting liquid is mixed with the beans from the initial steps. This allows the beans to take up the flavor-rich water.

Direct Solvent-Based Process

This is considered a ‘direct’ approach because it involves contact between coffee beans and the chemicals, as mentioned earlier. Similarly, coffee beans are placed in hot water for a few hours. Then the resulting coffee beans are exposed to the chemical methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, which will bind to the caffeine. This caffeine-rich mixture is removed from the tank. The beans are steamed to ensure no chemical solvents remain in the container.

Conclusion

From the methods of decaffeination discussed, the safest processes are the ones not reliant on the use of chemical solvents. Since these expensive methods are only used to make the best quality of coffee. You will exclusively find such blends when you buy coffee beans online. They have a greater selection of decaffeinated it along with exciting flavors to try out. If considering the best place to buy coffee beans online UK. Please check out Hasbean, Assembly, or Coburg Coffee Company, among many others.