Decaffeination

 

Decaffeination

Facts about coffee and caffeine:

Caffeine

Surprisingly, the strength of coffee taste has nothing to do with the amount of caffeine  coffee contains.  Rather, caffeine content depends on the type of coffee, the degree of roast and the ratio of coffee to water used during the brewing process. 

  • Caffeine content of a 5 fluid oz. cup of regular coffee ranges from 60 milligrams to 180 milligrams, depending on the type and the roast of coffee.
  • Caffeine content of 1 ½ fluid ounces of espresso ranges from 90 milligrams to 120 milligrams, also depending on the type of coffee used and the style of roast.
  • Caffeine content does change by degree of the roast.  The lighter roasts contain more caffeine than the darker roasts.
Caffeine varies between species of coffee trees.  Arabica coffees contain about 1% caffeine by weight in green form, while Robusta beans contain about 2% by weight in green form.

Decaffeination
       
All decaffeination methods must remove 97-99% of the caffeine present in order to be sold as decaffeinated.  This means that decaffeinated coffees are, for all practical purposes, caffeine-free. 

The beans at Alakef come decaffeinated in a variety of ways.  One of the common methods is the use of a solvent called dichloromethane.  Also known as methylene chloride, this solvent is considered very safe.  Most of the solvent comes off in the decaffeination process, and the rest burns off during the roasting process.  In fact, according to Dr. Terry Mabbett, a contributor to Coffee and Cocoa International magazine, “anything more than a trace amount of this solvent in a decaffeinated roast and the cupped infusion would defy the laws of physical chemistry” (Coffee and Cocoa International, 20-21 May/June 1999). 

Another method is a Mountain Water process, where the green beans are immersed in water in order to extract the caffeine.  The water contains the soluble components of the coffee beans which hold the elements of the flavor, so that, during the extraction of the caffeine, the beans maintain their original components.

To separate the caffeine from the water containing the soluble components, the water passes through a special filter which removes the caffeine.  This results in “coffee solid solubles charged water” saturated with flavor components but free of caffeine, which is used again the in the extraction process.

At Alakef Coffee Roasters, we use both processes.