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Caffeine and Decaffeination - About Decaffeination

Written by Tanya Thomas, B.Com | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Aug 18, 2014
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About Decaffeination

Decaffeinated coffee is choice for those lovers of coffee who wish to enjoy the taste and aroma of coffee without experiencing the mild stimulant effects provided by the caffeine.

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In the European Union market decaffeinated coffee is a coffee with a caffeine content reduced to 0.1% or less in roasted coffee beans, and to 0.3% or less in soluble/instant coffee.

The taste and flavor of coffee is usually well-retained by decaffeinated coffee and the original aroma does not change.

The Decaffeination Processes – The decaffeination processes are performed on the green coffee beans when the coffee is being produced and treated in the industrial plants.

Decaffeination is done in a controlled environment of temperature and pressure for a fixed time and the caffeine extraction step is based on physical phase transport mechanisms. There are four methods of decaffeination and it depends on the substance that is used to extract the caffeine from the coffee seeds –

  1. Water
  2. Ethyl Acetate
  3. Supercritical or Liquid CO2
  4. Methylene Chloride.

All these caffeine extraction procedures aim to the same results and share the same basic stages:

  • Swelling the green coffee beans with water or steam
  • Extracting the caffeine from the beans
  • Steam stripping to remove all solvent residues from the beans
  • Drying the decaffeinated coffee beans back to their normal moisture content

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