Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is Decaf Coffee Safe?

Despite on-going improvements in the quality of decaffeination process, not all decaffeinated coffees taste quite as good as regular caffeinated coffee. With my special roasting process of decaf coffee you will have a tough time telling the difference. Nonetheless, some fifteen to twenty percent of coffee lovers elect to drink flavored deacf and regular decaf to avoid the stimulating affects of caffeine.

What is the level of caffeine in coffee depends on a number of factors including such as degree of roast, type of grind, and brewing method. For example, arabica beans, the primary variety used in specialty coffees, contain approximately 75 to 120 milligrams half the caffeine of robusta beans, which is about 130 to 250 milligrams more common in grocery store canned coffees. All things being equal, darker roasted coffees have lower levels of caffeine. Finer grinders and slower brewing methods tend to lead to greater extraction, which results in higher caffeine.

Decaffeinated coffee must have a minimum of 97% of its caffeine removed. The amount of caffeine in a five-ounce serving of regular coffee ranges from 50 to 150 milligrams, meaning decaffeinated coffee contains 2 to 5 mg. of caffeine per five-ounce serving. As a point of comparison, a twelve-ounce serving of a caffeinated soft drink like a cola contains from 30 to 72 mg.

There are a variety of methods for removing caffeine from coffee but only a couple are widely used commercially. The two broad categories are the direct solvent extraction method and the indirect water extraction method.

The European process, or known as the direct solvent process, unroasted green beans are steamed in a rotating drum for about a half hour to open the pores of the beans. The beans are then repeatedly rinsed directly with a solvent, typically methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, for up to 12 hours, during which time the caffeine is extracted from the beans. Next, the beans are extracted from the solvent and steamed for another eight to twelve hours to evaporate the majority of the remaining solvent. Finally, the beans are dried to reduce the moisture levels appropriate for roasting.

Another direct processing method similar to the one above often described as the "natural process," uses a decaffeination agent called ethyl acetate, a compound found in fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears. But because of the impracticality of gathering natural ethyl acetate, the chemical used for decaffeination is synthetic. In the indirect extraction process, often loosely referred to as the "water process," green beans are soaked for about 10 hours in a near-boiling water solution saturated with coffee flavor components. Caffeine, which is water soluble is removed from the beans, along with other critical coffee oils and flavor elements. The solution is drained and methylene chloride is added to absorb the caffeine. The solution, is returned to the coffee beans so that most of the key flavor components can be reabsorbed.

Popular indirect process is called the SWISS WATER PROCESS because it was originally developed by a Swiss company in the 1930s. This method is similar to other indirect methods, but it is activated with charcoal, not solvents, removes caffeine from the soaking solution of hot water. When all the caffeine and coffee solids are released into the water, the beans are discarded. The water then passes through a carbon filter that traps caffeine but lets the coffee solids pass through. The resulting solution, called "flavor-charged" water by the company, is then put in a similar filtration device, and new coffee beans are added. The end result is the coffee is 99.9% caffeine free. This process, along with the ethyl acetate direct process, is preferred by environmentalist because of the potentially damaging affects of methyl chloride on the ozone layer.

In my personal opinion I fell that SWISS WATER DECAF PPOCESS is the safest of all the process offered, this is the only decaf we sell at Talk N Coffee. If you are looking for ways to reduce your caffeine intake without giving up coffee or sacrificing that great taste, there are a couple alternatives to decaffeinated coffee. Try blending regular coffees naturally low in caffeine with a decaffeinated coffee to create your own favorite low-caffeine coffee. Try mixing one part of a distinctive, full-bodied regular Arabica which is already lower in caffeine such as Kenya, Yirgacheffe, Sumatra, or Java with two parts of a mild decaffeinated coffee such as Costa Rica or Colombian. The result of blending will have less caffeine per cup than popular grocery store coffees.

Swiss Water Decaf Coffee


How to Roast Decaf Coffee

I started my roasting experience in 1992. After several years of roasting I found myself in a need to change my roasting style and the way I was taught to roast on my roaster. It came from the need to perfect my SWISS WATER Decaf roasted coffee so it would taste the same as regular coffee. At the request of my doctor, he advised I should kick the caffeine for a while. Well I was not happy with the taste of my decaf so I went back to my roasting style and after many roasts I found a better way to roast decaf coffee. Now it is very hard to distinguish between my regular coffee and my decaf coffee. I have many customers say they have served my decaf to friends and family who would never drink decaf, and all they did was rave about the wonderful taste of the coffee.

In a future article I will talk about the difference in decaf coffees.

In order to get the best taste of coffee the maintenance of the roaster is very very important I will get into that in another article.

Roasting Coffee

After selection of the right bean for roasting, the roaster will have to do several small batch roasts to determine what type of roast will best develop that bean for its maximum taste. The roast profile of each bean is determined by the moisture of the bean and quality of the bean. It is possible for the roaster to under roast the coffee or to over roast the particular coffee which ends up with a less desirable taste. A good roaster has developed his own roasting style over time in order to maximize the best roast for that particular coffee bean. Since roasting coffee since 1992 I have developed a style that makes our coffee uniquely different in taste for each bean roasted. That is the reason why thousands of our customers keep coming back year after year.

What is the Roasters Role?

It is the responsibility of the roaster to select the right green bean to be roasted. Since there are hundreds of grades of coffee from each origin it is best for him to understand what price and quality that the company wants to represent. Some beans are smaller and under developed so they are cheaper and do not offer the full rich taste that a large and more developed bean may have to offer. Some beans are deformed or are just partial beans which will end up in a lower quality cup of coffee. The higher the quality of bean the better the cup of coffee will taste.

Selecting Green Coffee

When selecting your green coffee one of the first things you have to look for is a supplier that offers only the top grades of coffee. Your supplier needs to be able to cup all the coffees before they purchase the coffee from the different origins around the world. The supplier needs to rate the grade of the bean to see if it has any imperfections. Some beans are under developed which will affect the taste and quality of the cup of coffee you will experience. It is the responsibility of the roaster to do the same when selecting the coffee he choices to roast.

Is Flavor Coffee Bad for You?

The coffee industry has been offering flavored coffees for years and has used chemical solvents to make flavors. The main ingredient used in flavoring is Propylene Glycol (PG). Propylene Glycol is the carrier that holds the flavor together. When flavors are development for coffee, the amount of (PG) is between 90 and 99% of the flavor. The amount of flavor used is only 1 to 10% of the total liquid.

In 2006 the European Union ruled that the legal limit of (PG) can not exceed .01% in any product manufactured in Europe. The coffee industry in the US still uses (PG) as the main ingredient.

Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a pure taste of coffee flavor? We developed Chemical Solvent Free (CSF) flavoring process as a natural way to flavor coffee. In our process, we found a way to infuse the flavor directly into the coffee, thus eliminating the need for Chemical Solvent (PG) found in other flavored coffees. This new proprietary process guarantees you a much smoother taste of flavor in your cup. Today consumers are searching for healthier and more natural options. We know you will appreciate our revolutionary flavoring system.

When you purchase our coffee you will know that you are drinking (CSF) because our coffee will have the (CSF) Chemical Solvent Free Flavoring label on it. With the (CSF) label you are guaranteed to receive Chemical Solvent Free Flavoring.