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05 December 2006

Decaf Coffee

The health studies say coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you, so no wonder 10 percent of Americans only drink decaf coffee; we're all confused. I usually drink decaffeinated coffee at night to chase the pot of full caffeine I drink during the day. Some say I'm a coffee addict, but just because my eyes are bugging out of my head and my heart races doesn't really mean I'm a coffee addict. I'd like to think I'm just out of shape and ok, lazy.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant to the central nervous system. If you have “issues' with caffeine I would stay away from it completely. Did you know that a cup of brewed decaf coffee has 1mg - 5mg of caffeine? An average regular coffee cup contains about 75mg of caffeine. In order to qualify as decaffeinated, coffee beans have to be 97.5 % caffeine free. Kicking Horse Coffee has great decaf, tastes like the real stuff and has minimal caffeine.

To make decaf coffee the producers use specific solvents like:

* Carbon Dioxide - high pressure CO2 is used to decaffeinate green coffee beans. Basically, the green beans get a facial; its pores open using steam. Liquid CO2 forces the caffeine molecules out and the beans are dried.

* Swiss Water Decaf - beans are soaked in hot water, removing its chemical integrity and caffeine, then a charcoal filter streams the water, catches the caffeine and the remaining water is added back to the beans, to rehydrate with its flavors and chemical compounds. Basically, this method just kicks out the caffeine. Wouldn't that be nice if we could do that to people?

* Methol Chloride - this is the decaffeinated methods of choice by coffee aficionados for its flavor retention. The green beans also get a facial and then are rinsed repeatedly till the caffeine runs down the drain. The beans are resteamed to get rid of the Methol Chloride residue and then dried.

* Ethyl Acetate - reminds me of a squeaky Aunt. Green beans are soaked, treated with ethyl acetate. The caffeine “gloms on” onto the ethyl acetate and then the beans are steamed to lose the “glommage” and then rehydrated.

Green decaf coffee beans are brown. How's that for sentence structure! The process changes the chemistry of the green bean to change its structure to brown. Even with the chemical processes the beans are safe and FDA approved. Some decaf coffee even taste like the real thing, but you have to search high and low for a good one.

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