September 17, 2023 8 min read

Decaf Coffee Caffeine & Recipes

When a customer comes into one of our cafes and ask for suggestions on a new coffee. The question I am asked is, “What do you recommend?” My answer and I can say it is hard for me to admit this publicly, is, try our Decaf Original Blend Coffee.

While I love Weaver’s Legacy Blend Coffee, I started drinking decaffeinated coffee to lower my anxiety. I have been a Barista for seven years, and a Store Manager for three of those years, and I still drink caffeinated coffee.

Before working at Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, I shrugged off decaf coffee like everyone else, and frankly never considered drinking it at all until Renee mentioned I try the Decaf Original Blend. I was shocked at how deep and flavorful, yet smooth and sweet it tasted. Today, my go-to drink is an iced decaf americano. Decaf coffee is a popular choice for people who love the taste of coffee but want to avoid the caffeine. It is also a good option for people who are sensitive to caffeine or who have certain health conditions.

Decaf Coffee History

In the early 1900s, German coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius accidentally discovered decaffeinated coffee. He was looking for a way to reduce the caffeine content of coffee for his father, who was sensitive to caffeine. One day, a shipment of coffee beans arrived at Roselius's factory that had been soaked in seawater during transit. Roselius noticed that the seawater had naturally extracted some of the caffeine from the coffee beans. He then began experimenting with different ways to decaffeinate coffee beans, and in 1906, he patented the first commercially successful decaffeination process.

Roselius's original decaffeination process used a chemical solvent called benzene to remove caffeine from coffee beans. Benzene is a known carcinogen, so this method is no longer used. However, Roselius's discovery of decaffeinated coffee paved the way for the development of safer decaffeination methods.

Today, there are three main methods for decaffeinating coffee beans:

  • Chemical solvent: This method uses chemicals such as ethyl acetate or methylene chloride to remove the caffeine.
  • Water process: This method uses hot water to dissolve the caffeine.
  • Carbon dioxide process: This method uses liquid carbon dioxide to remove the caffeine.

Ludwig Roselius

Swiss Water Process: Is this the Best Way to Decaf Coffee?

The Swiss Water Process may be considered the best way to decaffeinate coffee beans because it uses water and green coffee extract to remove the caffeine without stripping the coffee of its flavor or aroma. This is in contrast to other decaffeination methods, such as solvent-based and carbon dioxide-based methods, which can leave the coffee tasting flat or metallic.

The Swiss Water Process is also a natural decaffeination method, meaning that it does not use any chemicals. This makes it a good choice for people who are sensitive to chemicals or who are looking for a healthier option.

Here is a step-by-step overview of the Swiss Water Process:

  1. Green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to dissolve the caffeine.
  2. The water is then passed through a charcoal filter, which traps the caffeine molecules.
  3. The caffeine-free water is then used to soak a fresh batch of green coffee beans.
  4. This process is repeated until the desired level of decaffeination is achieved.

The Swiss Water Process is a more expensive decaffeination method than other methods, but it is also the most effective way to produce decaffeinated coffee that still has a rich flavor and aroma.

If you are looking for a decaffeinated coffee that is delicious, healthy, and naturally decaffeinated, then look for coffee that has been decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process. 

Swiss Water Coffee Roaster at the Sample Roaster

Image Courtesy of Swiss Water Coffee

Coffee Roaster working at the Sample Roaster

    Check out the video below for a visual of the Swiss Water Process for Decaf Coffee:


    So, is decaf coffee bad for you?  Is decaf coffee healthy?  We talked to experts including William D. Ristenpart, Ph.D., a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Davis, and director of the UC Davis Coffee Center, to understand the facts about how decaf coffee is made and its health benefits.

    Swiss Water Decaf vs Mountain Water Decaf Coffee: What's the Difference?

    Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf are two of the most popular water-based decaffeination methods available. Both methods are known for producing high-quality decaf coffee with a clean flavor profile, but there are some key differences between the two.

    Overview

    Both the Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf processes use water to extract caffeine from green coffee beans without the use of chemicals. However, the specific steps involved in each process differ slightly.

    Swiss Water Decaf

    The Swiss Water Decaf process was developed in Switzerland in the 1930s and is now used by decaffeinators all over the world. The process is completely chemical-free and uses only water and coffee beans to extract caffeine.

    The first step in the Swiss Water Decaf process is to soak green coffee beans in water to create a coffee extract. This extract contains all of the soluble components of the coffee beans, including caffeine, flavor compounds, and aromas.

    Next, the coffee extract is passed through a carbon filter that removes the caffeine. The carbon filter is specially designed to trap caffeine molecules while allowing all of the other flavor compounds to pass through.

    Once the caffeine has been removed, the coffee extract is blended with fresh green coffee beans. The fresh beans absorb the flavor compounds from the extract, resulting in decaffeinated beans with a rich, full flavor.

    Mountain Water Decaf

    The Mountain Water Decaf process was developed in Mexico in the 1980s and is now used by a small number of decaffeination producers around the world. The process is also completely chemical-free and uses only water and coffee beans to extract caffeine. Weaver's Coffee & Tea only sources Mountain Water Decaf Coffees.

    The first step in the Mountain Water Decaf process is to soak green coffee beans in water to create a coffee extract. This extract contains all of the soluble components of the coffee beans, including caffeine, flavor compounds, and aromas.

    Next, the coffee extract is passed through a series of filters that remove the caffeine. The filters are made from activated carbon and other natural materials.

    Once the caffeine has been removed, the coffee extract is blended with fresh green coffee beans. The fresh beans absorb the flavor compounds from the extract, resulting in decaffeinated beans with a rich, full flavor.

    Comparison of the Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf Processes

    The Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf processes are very similar, but there are a few key differences.

    • Water source: The Swiss Water Decaf process uses water from the coastal mountains of British Columbia, Canada. The Mountain Water Decaf process uses water from the Pico de Orizaba mountain in Mexico.
    • Filtration system: The Swiss Water Decaf process uses a carbon filter to remove caffeine from the coffee extract. The Mountain Water Decaf process uses a series of filters made from activated carbon and other natural materials.
    • Batch size: The Swiss Water Decaf process is a batch process, meaning that all of the coffee beans are processed at the same time. The Mountain Water Decaf process is a continuous process, meaning that the coffee beans are processed one batch at a time.

    Flavor Profile

    Both the Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf processes produce decaf coffee with a clean flavor profile. However, some coffee drinkers believe that the Mountain Water Decaf process produces coffee with a slightly brighter and more complex flavor profile.

    Cost

    The Swiss Water Decaf process is more expensive than the Mountain Water Decaf process. This is because the Swiss Water Decaf process is a batch process and requires more equipment and labor.

    Conclusion

    Both the Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf processes are excellent ways to produce high-quality decaf coffee. The specific process that you choose will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and budget.

    Additional Information

    In addition to the key differences listed above, there are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing between Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf coffee.

    • Availability: Swiss Water Decaf coffee is more widely available than Mountain Water Decaf coffee. This is because the Swiss Water Decaf process is used by decaffeinators all over the world.
    • Sustainability: Both the Swiss Water Decaf and Mountain Water Decaf processes are sustainable, but the Swiss Water Decaf process is generally considered to be more sustainable. This is because the Swiss Water Decaf process uses less water and energy than the Mountain Water Decaf process.

    Which process is better?

    There is no one definitive answer to the question of which process is better. The best process for you will ultimately depend on your personal preference.

    Which Decaf Coffee Should you Choose?

    Experts say you shouldn’t be concerned about the chemicals used in the decaffeination process. But if you are looking to minimize your exposure, you might want to know which decaffeination method was used on a particular bag of coffee beans. This may be more challenging to find out than you think because there are no specific labeling rules that require disclosing exactly how coffee was decaffeinated.

    Is Decaf Coffee as Healthy and Caffeinated Coffee?

    Because decaffeination itself is generally considered safe, the bigger question is whether decaf coffee has the same health benefits as regular coffee.This is a tough question to answer, says Angela M. Zivkovic, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis, and we don’t yet have a firm answer. A 2014 meta-analysis published in the journal Diabetes Care and led by researchers from Harvard found that those who drank six cups of coffee per day had a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank no coffee. The reduced risk was seen for both decaf coffee and regular coffee. Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008 found that coffee-drinking, in general, was not associated with a higher risk of dying from any cause, and even further, those who drank decaf coffee were slightly less likely than those who drank regular coffee to die from any cause. Zivkovic says, however, that we should interpret such results with caution because “it is very possible and likely that people who choose decaf coffee are also making other healthy lifestyle choices.”  

    What is the Best Decaf Coffee?

    We still don’t know whether it’s the caffeine, or one of the thousands of other biologically active compounds and antioxidants (which decaf coffee seem to have, too, albeit at slightly lower levels), that may be responsible for coffee’s many health perks. What’s really clear, however, is that for people who experience insomnia, irritability, headaches, nausea, anxiety, jitters, and increased blood pressure after drinking too much caffeine, switching to decaf coffee may be a healthy option, says Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher, and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  

    Decaf Coffee + Food Recipes

    All-Purpose Coffee Rub

    Recipe by Joyce / Pups with Chopsticks

    2 tablespoons garlic powder

    2 tablespoons Weaver’s Decaf French Roastground coffee

    2 tablespoons paprika

    2 tablespoon onion powder

    1 tablespoon ground cumin

    1 tablespoon salt

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    2 tablespoon cayenne

    Instructions:

    1. Combine all the ingredients together and store in a cool, dark place.

    This rub is used best for grilled steak and pork, but try it on slow-roasted potatoes for your vegetarian friends!

     Almond Butter Decaf Espresso Bars

    Recipe by Annie Holmes

    1 cup flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup coconut sugar

    2 teaspoons Weaver’s Decaf Original Blendcoffee grounds

    1/4 cup cocoa powder

    1 cup almond butter 

    1/2 cup coconut oil

    1 egg

    1 cup dark chocolate chips

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. In a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips until a thick brownie-like batter forms.
    3. Fold in half the chocolate chips.
    4. Place lightly greased parchment paper in an 8x8 baking pan and spread the batter evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.
    5. Bake 20-22 minutes.
    6. When you remove them from the oven allow them to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes so they set. Remove bars by lifting parchment paper, allow them to cool completely before cutting.

       

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