Organic Coffee: No Caffeine

There is really only one organic coffee without caffeine and that is made using the Swiss Water method. People have been removing caffeine from coffee for decades. The earliest methods are still used these are the direct and indirect solvent methods. They get the caffeine out of the coffee but are not organic methods.

Indirect Solvent Method

Coffee beans are soaked for several hours in hot water just below the boiling point. This removes caffeine but also other chemicals that give coffee its flavor and aroma.

Then the water is drawn off to another container and where a solvent is added. The solvent binds to the caffeine. Then the mixture is re-heated the caffeine and volatile solvent combination evaporates. When the beans are added to the remaining mixture, they reabsorb the remaining chemicals and regain some of the coffee flavor.

Direct Solvent Method

In the direct solvent method coffee beans are steamed for about half an hour. For the next ten hours they are repeatedly rinsed with the solvent. Finally, the solvent is drained off and the beans are steamed one las time.

Neither of these methods qualifies as organic.

CO2 Method

This is a non-solvent means of decaffeinating coffee. It works for very large batches and is used for regular coffee in a huge scale. The problem is that the process is very expensive and is only economical when used on a large scale.

Coffee beans are put under pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch with liquid carbon dioxide in a stainless steel tank. The CO2 dissolves the caffeine and leaves the other coffee constituents alone. When the CO2 is removed from the tank it passes briefly though a gas phase when it loses its caffeine and can be used again.

This process qualifies as organic but is too expensive to use except for huge batches of regular coffee.

Swiss Water Method

This is an organic method to decaffeinate coffee and is certified as such. It is also applicable to reasonable batch sizes making it appropriate for organic coffee.

This means of decaffeination was discovered 80 years ago but has only be in use for about 30 as it required adjustments to make it cost effective.

Caffeine is removed from coffee beans with hot water. The hot water is passed through a large pore activated charcoal filter which traps the caffeine but allows smaller antioxidant and other molecules to pass through.

Then new beans are soaked with the caffeine poor but antioxidant rich water. Via osmosis caffeine leaves the beans while antioxidants remain. This process provides a coffee that is 99.95% caffeine free and is certified as such. Swiss Water decaf is labeled as such and is the only commercially available organic coffee without caffeine.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to decaffeinate coffee at home so you cannot purchase your favorite coffee and then remove the caffeine. But you can buy Arabica coffee which is lower in caffeine than Robusta and you can buy organic coffee from Colombia.


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