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Decaffeination and Coffee

Swiss Water Decaf
Decaffeination is the act of removing caffeine from coffee beans, mate, cocoa, tea leaves and other caffeine-containing materials. While caffeine-free soft drinks are occasionally referred to as "decaffeinated," some are better termed "uncaffeinated": prepared via simply omitting caffeine from production.

In the case of coffee, various methods can be used. The process is usually performed on unroasted (green) beans, and starts with steaming of the beans. They are then rinsed with a solvent that contains as much of the chemical composition of coffee as possible without also containing the caffeine in a soluble form. The process is repeated anywhere from 8 to 12 times until it meets either the international standard of having removed 97% of the caffeine in the beans or the EU standard of having the beans 99.9% caffeine-free by mass. Coffee contains over 400 chemicals important to the taste and aroma of the final drink; it is, therefore, challenging to remove only caffeine while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations.

Coffea arabica normally contains about half the caffeine of Coffea robusta. A Coffea arabica bean containing little caffeine was discovered in Ethiopia in 2004 but no commercial quantities of naturally caffeine-free coffee are yet available on the market.

For details on the various methods of decaffeination, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeinated




Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeinated

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