Decaf coffee or decaffeinated coffee is coffee that has gone through a process of decaffeination to remove the caffeine. However, decaf coffee doesn’t mean caffeine-free. To be labelled as decaf, coffee must meet the international standard of being 97% caffeine-free and for EU standards are stricter at 99.9%.
The truth is most Arabica coffee bean contains about half of the caffeine content of the Robusta bean and is thus more suitable for making high-quality decaf coffee. There are rare types of Arabica that naturally have very low caffeine levels as well.
Caffeine is a natural substance that is found in coffee. Caffeine can also be found in tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is what help us to wake us up in the morning as we sip that first cup of coffee. It also gives us that little boost in the afternoon when our energy is flagging. Common understanding, caffeine is determined as a stimulant for the human body and some researchers see that as a good thing; while others see it as a bad thing. However, it all depends on each individual body condition.
Basically there are two basic methods to remove caffeine from coffee. The two processes for decaffeination are known as
- European Process;
- Swiss Water Process.
European Decaffeinated Process
The European Process uses methylene chloride to wash the coffee beans. The chemicals absorb caffeine. The beans are then washed to remove the chemical, roasted, and ground. The European Process actually leaves more flavour in the coffee beans, but there are those (surprise) who object to the use of chemicals.
Swiss Water Decaffeinated Process
The Swiss Water Process for removing caffeine from coffee beans is a multi-step process that only uses water and steam. The Swiss Water Process, however, removes more than just the caffeine from coffee beans. Many of the oils are also lost in the process, and the coffee made from beans that have been decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process is pretty much tasteless.