Your Decaf Questions, Answered
Written by: Raj Jana
In many ways, decaf is just like drinking a regular cup of joe, and for a lot of people, it is the preferred choice for their daily dose. Made from the same beans as caffeinated beans, decaf beans emulate the same aromatic smell and tastes just as impressive.
When your coffee subscription service package arrives at your home or office, your decaf beans are ready to be ground and brewed the same way you usually would with any cup of joe. You may even forget you are drinking decaf cause it tastes so good the difference is practically unnoticeable.
While decaf may smell and taste like caffeinated beans, decaf has its own story that deserves to be known. Keep reading as we uncover some of the answers to your common questions and dive deeper into the exciting background and decaf evolution.
Rapid Fire Decaf FAQ
Is decaf better for me?
Answering this question will all depend on how your body is affected by caffeine. For most adults, consuming up to 400mg a day of caffeine is considered safe. However, if drinking caffeine makes you anxious, uncomfortable, or upsets your stomach, or if your doctor suggests you stay away from it, decaf has the potential to replace caffeinated beans in your cupboard.
Does decaf taste different from caffeinated?
Depending on what method is used to process the beans, such as the sugar cane method (outlined below), specialty decaf holds many of the same aromatic compounds you would expect from a regular caffeinated blend. With its sweet flavors, specialty decaf beans can be brewed beautifully in your french press to help pull out the full flavors these beans are known to possess.
Does decaf need to be brewed differently?
Certainly not! Decaf can be brewed the same way you would brew your common caffeinated beans. While the timing and the ratios used can vary from caffeinated beans, you don’t need to worry about the caffeine levels affecting you.
Should I change the grind settings for decaf?
When grinding the beans from whole, decaf can be brewed using any setting you like depending on your preferences and choice method.
A brief history of decaf
Similar to the drink itself, the history of decaf is widely underrated.
Its story began in 1819 when German literary great Johann Wolfgang von Goeth was on a mission to learn more about one of his more intriguing subjects, the java bean. Aside from being a literary great, Goethe was also an amateur botanist and therefore was highly interested in the effects these miracle beans could have on the body. Enlisting German scientists Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge’s help, the two could not solve the mystery of decaf, and it would remain unsolved until the next century.
Fast-forward to the early 1900s, as Germany was battling immense changes, German merchant Ludwig Roselius stumbled upon a shipwreck where he salvaged a shipment of java beans. Little did he know this discovery would soon blow the mystery of decaffeinated beans wide open. After testing the beans, he found that they lacked caffeine, but they had the same delicious taste caffeinated beans were known to possess. Although it was slightly salty, Ludwig patented the discovery, and in 1906 the first decaf company was created.
New-age decaf methods for the new-age decaf drinker
Studies show that 12% of the population prefers drinking decaf over more caffeinated options. Just as there are different ways to enjoy a cup of joe worldwide, so too are ways to brew your own cup.
Did you know there are over your favorite cup of joe consisting of over 900 different chemical compounds? Therefore, trying to extract the caffeinated portion alone is a very long and complicated process.
One of the newest methods for processing decaffeinated beans, CO2, involves using a process similar to making soda fizz when extracting the beans’ caffeine portion.
During this method, green java beans are immersed in water and pushed through an extractor to remove the caffeine components.
What remains is the delicious aromatics and taste, just without the caffeine.
First introduced in the 1930s, the Swiss Water Process did not become commercially available until the late 1980s. Today, there only remains one Swiss Water processing facility in the world. Other water processes are similar, such as the Mountain Water processing method used in Mexico.
In this method, the green java beans are soaked in a large water container, which creates a green extracted liquid. Then using activated charcoal, the extract is filtered.
Since the resulting liquid combines the green java bean liquid and activated charcoal, the only thing that can be pulled from the new beans is the caffeine compounds.
Sugar Cane Process
Probably one of the most popular methods.
The sugar cane process is the best option for retaining the full flavor you expect from your cup of joe. By using ethyl acetate, the same compound found in fruit, beer, or wine. Caffeine is extracted using the fermented molasses of sugar cane.
Many coffee subscription service providers will list the sugar cane process as the most natural of all bean processing methods because it allows the beans to retain their mild acidity but maintain their full-bodied flavor.
During this process, the green java beans are soaked in water until they are plump and swollen. Then using ethyl acetate, the caffeine is dissolved without affecting the rest of the bean.
A trip around the world with decaf
From Ethiopia, the caffeinated bean’s birthplace, to Brazil, Peru, and Papua New Guinea, there is a world of decaf to discover.
A coffee subscription service allows decaf and caffeinated lovers to travel the world through a cup or two of joe.
Each country and region has its own unique flavors and aromas to enjoy.