Organic Decaf Coffee

If you prefer decaffeinated coffee instead of regular coffee, can you get healthy organic coffee as decaf? Yes, you can. And it can be difficult to find organic decaf coffee. First of all here is a little info about decaffeinated coffee.

Decaf Coffee

To meet FDA labeling requirements 97% of the caffeine has to be removed. A six ounce cup of Robusta coffee commonly has as much as 200 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of shade grown organic coffee from Arabica beans usually has between 70 and 130 milligrams of caffeine. To be labeled as decaf these coffees need to be reduced to six and about three milligrams per six ounce cup. The moral is that if you want to avoid caffeine you should start by looking for decaf Arabica coffee. Unfortunately most commercial brands of decaf are made from Robusta beans. Remember that decaf does not mean caffeine free.

Decaf Process

There are chemical processes used to extract caffeine from green coffee beans and there are natural processes. If you want organic decaf coffee you want to go the natural route. The first process to extract caffeine from green coffee beans used benzene. When it was found that this chemical can cause cancer that process went away. The so-called direct process uses methyl chloride. This process tends to preserve flavor but this chemical has also been associated with cancer. The two natural processes that can result in organic decaf coffee use CO2 gas or the so-called Swiss water process which, in fact, just uses water. Other water processes use methyl chloride. The Swiss water process involves repeatedly soaking in hot water and running the water through a carbon filter to retain solids and chemical that hold the flavor of coffee.

Decaf and Health Benefits of Coffee

The majority of health benefits of organic coffee come from the organic coffee antioxidants. To the extent these are depleted or compromised in the process of making organic decaf coffee it is a problem. Other effects such as the morning wake up effect of coffee and the lower risk of depression and suicide come from caffeine and are lost when one reduces the caffeine in coffee by 97%.

Change How You Make Your Coffee

If you like your organic coffee and simply want to reduce the amount of caffeine that you are getting there are two basic approaches. If you brew coffee at a lower brewing temperature you will extract less caffeine from the coffee grounds. An alternative route is to make espresso. Espresso is made under pressure and at high temperature but the process goes faster and typically extracts less caffeine. If like your coffee less concentrated than espresso consider making Americano. This is what European coffee shops made for US soldiers in the days after World War II when GIs wanted coffee like mom made back in Omaha. The coffee shops simply made espresso and added an equal quantity of water. This may be more to your taste than espresso it further cuts the amount of caffeine in half and foregoes the various means of making organic decaf coffee.

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