Introducing Decaf Coffee Beans
The removal of caffeine from coffee beans and the products which go under this process are often called decaf coffee beans.
Indeed, some people prefer coffee without caffeine. As such, many brands in the world produce and sell decaf coffee beans and other related products. There are many processes for the decaffeination of coffee beans.
The process of removing caffeine from coffee beans is not an easy and ordinary process. Indeed, only the caffeine has to be removed from the beans in unroasted condition, leaving other chemicals in the same state as they are important in maintaining the taste and aroma of coffee. There are many methods for removing caffeine but there some are most used than others. The processes are categorized into two sections: solvent based and nonsolvent base.
Solvent Base Process
This process involves chemical solvents which help to remove the caffeine from the beans. The chemical solvents used are methylene chloride.
This process is again subdivided into two: the direct method and the indirect method.
In the direct method, the chemical solvent is directly applied to the beans, after steaming for about half an hour to open the pores. In the indirect method, the water is used with a chemical solvent that is not directly applied to the beans. This is a healthier and safer way to decaffeinate beans.
In this method, the coffee beans are soaked in hot water for many hours. This extracts the caffeine from the beans. The water is then drained in a separate tank and the beans are then washed for 10 hours.
There are commonly two methods for the non-solvent process. The first one is the Swiss water process, the other is the carbon dioxide process.
In the Swiss water process, the beans are soaked in hot water for some time so that the caffeine gets dissolved in the water. The water is then transferred to another tank. Beans are then passed through an activated charcoal filter to shed off the remaining caffeine. As such, the beans are decaffeined but the flavor remains.
In the carbon dioxide method, the beans are soaked in water for some time. After that, they are transferred to a steel extraction container that is then sealed. Liquid carbon dioxide is forced into the container with a pressure of 1000/square inch. This takes away all the caffeine from the beans.
There are many methods for decaffeinating coffee. However, the safest and healthiest methods are the ones where the beans do not directly come in touch with chemicals.