Decaffeinated Coffee Beans

Decaf Coffee Beans

Decaf coffee beans are often taken for granted as the process is wildly scientific. Do you ever wonder how it is possible to take virtually all of the caffeine out of a coffee bean and leave in the wonderful flavor that makes drinking coffee so enjoyable? Things like this do seem like some kind of magic. But like most things, once it is explained it makes perfect sense. 

First, though, let's talk a little about caffeine. Why does a bush with a cherry that has a seed inside contain this life enhancing chemical that makes being an adult so much easier? Caffeine is an alkaloid that occurs naturally in coffee plants as a pesticide: It serves to paralyze bug invaders, and gives off a bitter flavor as a warning of its toxicity. So the magic of coffee is also a death sentence for the enemies of the coffee plant. 

This means that the more insect-resistant a coffee plant is, the more caffeinated it is. Robusta, the low-altitude-grown, lower-quality coffee species found almost exclusively in cheap commodity coffee blends, contains about twice the caffeine its cousin Caffea Arabica. This makes it less susceptible to infestation. 

Like much of what is inside our magic little coffee beans, caffeine is water soluble. That's why the water goes into grounds clear and clean and comes out brown invigorating. 

Swiss water decaf coffee beans

When decaffeinating coffee, the caffeine has to be taken out of the bean, while leaving as much of the delicious flavor intact. This can be done in several ways, but the best and most natural option is the water-based processUsing additional chemicals is the last thing you want to do to world class coffee beans.

With the water-process method, the unroasted coffee is fully submerged in heated filtered water, in order to extract all that is soluble from the beans. The water solution is then filtered through carbon to separate the caffeine compounds from any of the aromatics that also came out during the extraction, and the coffee beans are then placed in an immersion tank with the caffeine-free solution, allowing them to reabsorb everything but the caffeine.

In some places it is required that the process of decaffeination eliminate 99.9% of the caffeine from the coffee in order to bear the decaffeinated label and in other places it is 97%.

Pros and Cons of Decaf Coffee

On one hand, decaf coffee is great if you want to drink coffee without staying up all night. On the other hand, your decaf coffee could have been decaffeinated using harsh chemicals that can have unknown negative effects when consumed.

Other Pros of drinking decaf coffee include;

  1. Not feeling jittery, having headache withdrawals from caffeine, and other side effects that cause some people to avoid coffee all together

  2. Get the same fantastic health benefits from drinking regular coffee like antioxidants, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Some Cons of drinking decaf coffee include;

  1. Decaf coffee is equally as acidic as regular coffee and can be harsh on your stomach.

  2. Decaf isn’t fully caffeine free, it can contain up to 3% caffeine which can be detected by people who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

  3. In order to remove caffeine from coffee beans, chemicals are sometimes used in the process.

All of the decaf coffee we sell at Poverty Bay Coffee Company is Swiss water processed starting with certified organic coffee beans. We believe choosing decaf coffee should be safe and filled with flavor.

Process of decaf coffee