Caffeine has been a controversial compound for years. We enjoy the effects of caffeine – the early morning wake up feeling and the afternoon lift you get from drinking coffee. But many people find they are extremely sensitive to it and they suffer heartburn, jitters, blood pressure changes and the like. For them, coffee would be a no go area if decaffeinated coffee did not exist.
In the bad old days, most of the decaffeination processes involved the use of solvents. Methylene Choride and Ethyl Acetate being two such solvents. Naturally concerns were raised about their impact on health and although even as late as 1985, the FDA gave both a clean bill of health, there has been pressure to move to perceived healther and more environmentally friendly methods.
The best of these is the Swiss Water method. Here, the fact that caffeine is soluble means that you can extract it with water and use osmosis to remove caffeine from green coffee beans. The challenge is you remove all other water soluble compounds… but … the boffins found that because the caffeine molecule is very large, you can pass the water through a filter and trap the caffeine while allowing all the other compounds back into the extract. This is called the green coffee extract.
The laws of chemistry then come into play because after this is done, the green coffee extract has high concentrations of the solubles you do want, and so these no longer can be removed from new beans… and only the caffeine moves into the water and is constantly removed by the filter.
There is no doubt that modern methods to make decaffeinated coffee are safe. Where no solvents are used, there are no chemicals that are left behind that could cause cancer… regardless what the FDA say!
Feel at ease and enjoy your decaffeinated coffee from our coffee machines.