Decaf Coffee:  Going Beyond the Factoids

Coffee beans aren’t born decaffeinated!  Did you know that?

Coffee beans are grown and harvested all over the world and they all contain caffeine. 

The level of caffeine depends on the size of the beans, the type of plant, and the duration of the roast.  Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans, but Arabica beans taste better.  All decaffeinated beans actually contain a trace amount of caffeine, but they are typically 97% caffeine-free.

Are you team caffeine or team decaf?

Decaffeinated coffee often gets a bad rap for not being as tasty as ‘normal’ coffee. However, sometimes you just don’t want that caffeine boost due to health reasons or maybe because sometimes you just have to sleep.

Traditionally, decaf coffees are considered less flavorful and flat-tasting.  We think that doesn’t have to be true and depends on the decaf process, the roaster, and the flavors added.

decaf coffee in be strong mug
Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

Is decaf coffee bad for you?

Like we mentioned above decaf coffee often gets a bad name, not only for sometimes being less flavorful but there are also sometimes concerns with the decaffeination processes used.

Sometimes decaf coffee is produced using chemical solvents in the process. While sometimes these substances are labelled as “natural” or “organic” because they are naturally occurring, they are often synthetically produced.

There are several ways to remove the caffeine, and Java Momma has used a water process since the beginning.  Recently we’ve added a Colombian Decaf that uses a sugar method, also known as Naturally Decaffeinated Coffee.

Water Decaffeination Process

The Mountain Water Process™ starts by immersing the beans in the clear, pure water from the glaciers on the highest mountain in Mexico, the Pico de Orizaba.  The water is charged with the soluble parts of the bean that contain the flavors and caffeine. It is passed through special filters that are sized to only extract the caffeine molecules but leave the flavors. The beans are then soaked in the water to reintroduce the flavors.

Sugar Decaffeination Process

Sugar processing takes a molasses solvent extracted from pure sugar cane to remove the caffeine.  This chemical-free process is much like the Mountain Water Process, but the beans are soaked in water and steam to swell the bean. They are then put through the sugar wash which dissolves the caffeine. Several more rinse and steam sessions follow before the beans are dried to ship and roast!

That’s a lot of science and love going into a morning cup of wonderful.

So is decaf coffee good for you then?

Antioxidants

Like regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee is loaded with nutrients your body needs and it is filled with some of the antioxidants that you need for a healthy life. However, there are some differences between regular coffee and decaf.

For example, decaf coffee can have up to 15% lower amounts of the antioxidants hydrocinnamic acid and polyphenols compared to regular coffee. Still, that is not a significant amount when you look at the big picture.

decaffeinated coffee who should drink it and why

Reduced Risk of Disease

Like regular coffee, decaf coffee has been shown to actually reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and both types can actually improve liver function. Some studies have even linked both regular coffee and decaf to the reduced risk of developing a variety of neurodegenerative disorders.

Studies have also shown that if you drink two or more cups of decaffeinated coffee a day, you will have up to a 48% lower chance of developing rectal cancer.

No Acid Reflux or Crash

Additionally, one of the side effects of drinking coffee can be heartburn or acid reflux. When you drink decaf, however, those side effects are greatly reduced. Plus, without the caffeine, you won’t need to worry about the post coffee crash after the caffeine runs its course.  

Who Should Drink Decaf Coffee?

There are people out there that probably should choose decaf over regular coffee. Some people are just more sensitive to the side effects of caffeine than others. It can leave them feeling anxious and jittery or even keep them up late into the night. In fact, there are some studies that suggest those with anxiety disorders should probably avoid caffeine.

Obviously, we’re not your doctor – but be sure to pay attention to how caffeine affects your body and maybe try moving to decaf if you’re overdoing it with caffeine. 

Let’s Tie it all Together

Now you understand the difference between regular and decaf coffee, and not just the superficial details about it either.

Armed with this information you can decide if you need to reduce or even eliminate your caffeine intake each day. Remember, just because you want to limit your caffeine, doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite cup of coffee.

Finding the right kind of decaf coffee can be the key for all coffee lovers to reduce their caffeine while still getting to enjoy a great cup of coffee.

Are you ready to reduce the caffeine in your diet? Then why not start by trying one of the Java Momma Decaf Coffees today!

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