Before deciding if decaf is for you, it is important to know what makes decaffeinated coffee different than your average cup of joe.
In order to understand decaf coffee, we must look at the science behind brewing it. Once coffee is brewed, there is a certain concentration of caffeine in that coffee. It is not possible to take an already brewed cup of coffee and remove the caffeine, so the beans have to be decaffeinated beforehand.
The “Decaffeination Process” uses a solvent or activated carbon to take caffeine out of the beans. There are four primary ways that coffee companies make decaf coffee beans. In the first two methods, solvents are used to dissolve and remove caffeine. The Indirect-Solvent Process introduces the solvent indirectly to the beans, whereas the Direct-Solvent Process directly introduces the solvent chemical to the beans. The other two methods used are called the Swiss Water Process and the Carbon Dioxide Process. The Swiss Water Process relies heavily on solubility and osmosis to decaffeinate coffee beans, not using solvents in the process. The C02 Process relies on the pressure of liquid C02 to dissolve and draw caffeine from the coffee beans. Each of the four methods always decaffeinate the coffee beans in its unroasted green state.
Waka Coffee's decaffeinated instant coffee is made using the sugar cane EA (ethyl acetate) process, which is a solvent used to extract/dissolve the caffeine in the bean. This decaffeination process is considered “Natural” due to the use of natural origin EA and spring water – these are the only two products that the coffee is in contact with throughout the process.
The EA method is obtained by esterification between natural acetic acid and natural ethyl alcohol derived from sugar cane in Colombia. The carbohydrates from sugar cane are fermented into natural ethyl alcohol and natural acetic acid which is extracted and purified from vinegar obtained by aerobic fermentation of natural ethyl alcohol.
Woah.. super science-y, right? Well, making decaf coffee isn't easy!
Why caffeine is not for everyone
While coffee has a great deal of health benefits, caffeine (in high concentrations) has the capability to pose problems. According to the FDA, the average amount of caffeine consumed by the average American per day is around 300 mg. This is equivalent to about three cups of coffee. Drinking caffeine at this rate is not harmful, but in excess there could be some unfortunate side effects.
Firstly, let’s start by discussing the health benefits of caffeine. According to Medical News Today, consuming three cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of liver cancer by 50%. Drinking caffeine has also been associated with higher brain function and memory. It has even been said that drinking coffee can reduce risk of depression and suicide risk in adults. Not to mention it also increases focus, alertness, and is the go-to cure for brain fog and exhaustion.
Every miracle compound also has its negatives. Consuming an excess of caffeine (more than 4 cups a day) can cause a plethora of health effects. Mayo Clinic describes possible side effects as “Migraine headache, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, frequent urination or inability to control urination, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors.” Some people who already have a history of insomnia, anxiety, stomach issues, or fast heartbeat might decide not to ingest caffeine so as not to worsen their conditions.
Caffeine also has different effects on different age groups. Children and developing adolescents are not usually advised to drink coffee because it easily disrupts their sleep patterns. Higher caffeine usage in teens is also linked to more timid and cautious behavior, possibly because caffeine makes users more anxious and aware.
Caffeine is considered a stimulant, so it is no shock that it contains properties that make us focused and energetic. For some, that focus and energy might be too intense and cause the opposite effect and make it harder for them to complete tasks. As with all substances that effect the brain and body, caffeine’s effect is different for every person.
It is important for all coffee consumers to be aware of the effects that caffeine has on their body and mind, and drink accordingly. If you are one of those people who reacts negatively to caffeine but still love the taste of coffee, decaf is definitely for you!
Decaf is trending!
Not only is drinking decaffeinated coffee helpful for those who are sensitive to caffeine, but it is also becoming a trendier drink! According to the National Coffee Association, the age group that most drinks decaf coffee is millennials (ages 18-24) and the rate of decaf coffee consumption is higher than ever. As the world becomes more health sensitive and food inclusive, more and more people are aware of and accepting of the decaf option. Not only is it being seen as a valid option, but it is now a highly desirable option for coffee.
It is incredibly versatile too as you can sub decaf coffee in any coffee drink. One of the hard parts about going decaf is making it at home. As you could tell from above, transforming your own coffee beans into a decaf version is nearly impossible without serious equipment and knowledge of the sciences—therefor, those who want to drink decaf at home have to buy decaf coffee beans or instant coffee powder.
If you are itching to try a great cup of decaf coffee, try Waka Coffee’s new decaffeinated instant coffee option. It is a delicious product that will make going decaf very easy for all interested. Just like the caffeinated version, all that is required to brew an amazing cup of decaf coffee is water and a cup! We at Waka Coffee recommend that every coffee enthusiast try decaf coffee to form your own opinions of whether or not caffeine will reign supreme. Either way, as long as you are drinking coffee, you can’t go wrong!