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Health risks of cheap decaf coffee consumption

– TASTE THE ORIGIN –

Are you aware of the health risks associated with cheap decaf coffee? Decaf coffee is almost the perfect choice for those who love the taste of coffee but can’t handle caffeine. However, obtaining quality decaffeinated coffee is both a matter of expertise and budget—a luxury not all businesses are willing to afford.

 

Trends in decaf coffee usage

 

Decaf coffee is coffee that has been decaffeinated. The coffee beans have had most of the caffeine removed before roasting and grinding. Naturally, this process does not alter the inherent flavor notes of the coffee beans. You can still perceive the flexible layers of fragrance, light brightness, accompanied by a hint of subtle acidity and a faint fragrance of fruits and flowers in a specialty coffee cup.

Caffeine in regular coffee is a central nervous system stimulant that can provide a sense of focus, euphoria, and energy, but not everyone is compatible with it. Many people experience insomnia, jitteriness, and anxiety even with small amounts of caffeine intake. This may lead them to choose decaf coffee as an alternative solution to reminisce about the gentle bitterness and distinctive aroma of coffee without experiencing the “side effects.”

 

Potential health risks associated with cheap decaf coffee

 

With the introduction above, most people would likely think decaf coffee is good for health because it retains antioxidants while eliminating stimulants sensitive to some individuals. However, there are certain risks associated with the decaffeination process rather than the coffee beans themselves.

Health risks of cheap decaf coffee consumption

Many establishments opt to soak coffee beans in chemical solvents to decaffeinate them

There are various methods to remove caffeine from coffee beans, among which many establishments favor solvent-based methods due to their cost-effectiveness. Coffee beans are immersed in either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate—two substances that bond with caffeine to eliminate it. Additionally, coffee beans can be soaked in hot water, and this water is then treated separately to extract caffeine before reintroducing the coffee beans to regain their aroma.

According to the National Institute for Research and Safety in France (INRS), regardless of which of these two methods is employed, establishments must use chemicals with cleaning and dissolving properties. Examples include methylene chloride, a potent chemical found in paint strippers. When ingested, methylene chloride can harm the heart and liver, and even affect reproductive health. It’s worth noting that these chemicals have carcinogenic properties, although the residual amounts in coffee are relatively small.

Currently, there are no regulations mandating transparency in the decaffeination process for decaf products by manufacturers or roasters. Therefore, consumers find it challenging to determine whether their decaf coffee has been treated with these chemicals. To ensure safety, purchasing decaf products from reputable establishments is advisable.

 

Decaf coffee methods

 

There are several different methods to remove caffeine from coffee beans without posing health risks to humans.

Decaffeination using CO2

This is a relatively new method developed by Kurt Zosel from the Max Planck Institute. It uses liquid CO2 instead of chemical solvents to decaffeinate coffee beans. The process selectively targets caffeine, leaving other alkaloids intact.

During the CO2 process, coffee beans are soaked in water and placed in a stainless steel container. The container is then sealed, and liquid CO2 is forced into the coffee at pressures ranging from 73 to 300 bars to extract caffeine.

CO2 acts as a solvent to dissolve and extract caffeine from coffee beans while leaving larger flavor molecules behind. The cost of this method is reasonable, so many coffee distributors prefer it for large-scale decaffeination. However, it’s often applied indiscriminately to commercially viable coffee types.

Natural decaffeination method

Coffee beans are naturally decaffeinated without the use of any chemicals. Here are four steps to this process:

– Soak raw green coffee beans in hot water to separate them from caffeine.
– Filter the water through natural charcoal to extract caffeine molecules from the solution. After filtration, there remains a solution of green coffee beans devoid of caffeine, without any flavor.
– Soak the beans in the extracted solution to draw out caffeine from new coffee beans, imparting them with the original flavor of the original batch.
– Dry the soaked coffee beans, resulting in flavorful decaf beans ready for roasting and brewing.

This is also the method that XLIII Coffee uses for its decaf products. Saying no to chemicals is XLIII Coffee’s way of protecting consumer health and preserving the original flavor of coffee.

The above section informs readers of the potential hazards of using chemical solvents to decaffeinate coffee beans. Consumers should prioritize transparency in each product to understand the process behind the coffee they drink daily.

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