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Decaf Coffee: Is It Good For You?

Decaf Coffee: Is It Good For You?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It is extremely popular among people due to its exotic aroma and refreshing taste, besides that it also delivers that extra bit of energy to keep you going during those tiring and drawn out nights, or if you need a little “kick start” in the morning to begin your day, coffee can help with that.

Coffee comes in several different forms, ranging from cappuccinos to espressos to lattes and what not. There are several different coffee bean strains and different kinds of beans can be blended together to create new aromas and mixed flavors. Coffee addicts can gulp down multiple cups in a single sitting and some people even drink as much as 15 to 20 cups a day.

What is decaf coffee?

Decaf coffee is basically coffee without the caffeine. While it may be one of the most loved beverages in the world, drinking excessive amounts of coffee can have negative side effects. These side effects include nausea, headaches, and insomnia. Now, most of these side effects are caused by a chemical known as caffeine, found in coffee beans. The thing with decaf coffee is that, you can drink as much of your favorite drink as you want, without feeling the side effects of it. However, finding good decaf coffee is not easy as the process of removing caffeine from the coffee beans comes with a price. Best decaf coffee doesn’t have the rich flavor and taste of natural coffee, because some of the proteins and sugars that are essential to giving coffee it’s unique flavor, are lost in the process of removing the caffeine molecules from the coffee beans. Coffee aficionados claim that tampering with such a fine drink is wrong, and say that coffee is best enjoyed naturally. However, there is a certain section of people out there who would rather prefer to drink coffee that is mildly lacking in flavor, than suffer the headaches and lack of sleep that comes with regular coffee. So, if you are out in the market looking for some good decaf coffee, there are some things you need to know about how it is made, that will allow you to choose the best decaf coffee according to your taste.

There are various methods that can be used to create decaffeinated coffee. However, there are some things common to all these methods:

  • Coffee is always decaffeinated in its green(unroasted) state.
  • Separating the caffeine from the beans, while retaining the original flavor and taste at the same time is the biggest challenge in creating good decaf coffee. This is not an easy task since coffee contains around a thousand chemicals that are important to the taste and aroma of this wonderfully complex elixir.
  • Since caffeine is a water-soluble substance, water is used as a solvent in all forms of solvent-based decaffeination.
  • However, water by itself is not the best solution for decaffeination. Water is not a “selective” solvent and therefore removes other soluble substances such as sugars and proteins that are essential to maintain the flavor and taste of the coffee beans. Therefore, all decaffeination processed use a decaffeinating agent(such as methylene chloride, activated charcoal,CO2, or ethyl acetate).These agents help speed up the process and allow decaf coffee to retain most of the flavor and taste of the original coffee beans.

Benefits of Decaf Coffee

We all know coffee has its pros and cons. Even regular, non- decaffeinated coffee has been scientifically proved to have mild antioxidant properties, and people who consume moderate amounts of coffee daily have been proved to be less prone to type 2 diabetes, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. While the research did not take into account the dietary habits of the subjects, or their genetic lineage, it is still an indicative of the good that a couple cups of coffee “might” do, if you drink it in moderation. And the same positive effects can be achieved by drinking decaf coffee, albeit without the negative side effects that you might get from drinking too much caffeinated beverage daily. Caffeine consumption is associated with a number of benefits, from increasing mental function to reducing asthma symptoms. However, caffeine intake can also have side effects, including anxiety, restlessness and headaches. As a result, people often choose decaffeinated coffee, which evidence indicates provides a positive effect on overall health. Benefits of decaf coffee include reduced risks for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

What is the nutritional value of decaf coffee?

  • It is actually the single biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet.
  • Decaf usually contains similar amounts of antioxidants as regular coffee, although they may be up to 15% lower. This difference is most likely caused by a small loss of antioxidants during the decaffeination process.
  • The main antioxidants in regular and decaf coffee are hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols.
  • Antioxidants are very effective at neutralizing reactive compounds called free radicals.
  • This reduces oxidative damage, and may help prevent diseases like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
  • One cup of brewed decaf coffee provides 2.4% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 4.8% of potassium and 2.5% of niacin, or vitamin B3.
  • This may not seem like a lot of nutrients, but the amounts add up quickly if you drink 2-3 (or more) cups of coffee per day.

Summary of the benefits of decaf coffee

  • Decaf coffee may protect against age-related mental decline. It may also reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Decaf coffee has almost the same amount of anti-oxidant content as regular coffee, but it has negligible amounts of caffeine. This means you can drink more coffee per day, without experiencing the headaches, insomnia and hyper attentiveness that you get when you consume too much caffeine. It also means that you get all the other nutritional and pro-health benefits of coffee in decaf, the only thing missing from decaf is the caffeine. Which is good, since no one wants the caffeine anyways, right?
  • One common side effect of drinking coffee is heartburn or acid reflux. Many people experience this, and drinking decaf coffee may relieve this uncomfortable side effect. Decaf coffee has been shown to cause significantly less acid reflux than regular coffee .
  • Drinking two or more cups of best decaf coffee per day has also been linked with up to a 48% lower risk of developing rectal cancer.

So, as you can see, the benefits of drinking decaf coffee far outweigh  the cons, in fact there are hardly any negatives to drinking decaf coffee, as most of the negative effects of drinking coffee come from the caffeine, and decaf coffee has extremely low amounts of caffeine. So go ahead and drink those cups of creamy best decaf coffee, knowing that it is probably going to have a positive effect on your health one day. Find more information here

Side Effects of Decaf Coffee

Many misconceptions exist that decaf is dangerous and contains harmful chemicals in it, but all of those rumors exist because of the carcinogenic solvents that were used in the decaffeination processes around 3 to 4 decades ago. These days, medically certified solvents such as ethyl acetate are used, and processes exist that do away with solvents altogether, for example the Swiss Water Process uses only water as a solvent, and is 100 percent organic. It preserves the flavors of the coffee beans, and removes up to 99.9 percent of caffeine. Most disorders related to decaf coffee occur when people consume it in excess, you have to remember that decaf is not “caffeine-free”, rather it contains minute traces of caffeine, so if you consume like 10 or 15 cups a day, the caffeine eventually adds up and the side effects begin to show just like in the case of regular coffee. On top of that, if you consume soda and chocolate bars as well, all of which contain caffeine, the net caffeine intake stacks up and people end up with headaches, insomnia and hyper-attentiveness. That said, you should know when you begin to feel the side effect of drinking too much decaf. Some of those decaf coffee side effects are-

  • A US National Institutes of Health study found that decaffeinated coffee may increase the risk of developing heart disease. The decaffeination process could cause an increase in harmful LDL cholesterol by increasing a type of blood fat. But results are still inconclusive.
  • Methylene chloride has been shown to cause cancer in some animals, but the US Food and Drug Administration has ruled that the amounts in decaffeinated products are not harmful to humans. Most brands use ethyl acetate as a solvent.
  • Even though the amount of caffeine in decaffeinated products is low, very sensitive people could still develop a dependency on the beverages.
  • When not to take it – People who have been advised to avoid caffeine due to medical conditions such as hypertension, kidney disease or anxiety disorders should avoid decaffeinated products as they still contain a small amount of caffeine.

So yes, decaf can have side effects just like regular coffee, but only if you are hyper sensitive to caffeine, or if you consume decaf in absurdly large quantities. Most of the time, people don’t realize that they are also consuming other products that are caffeine-rich such as chocolate and soda, and if you add up that caffeine intake with 5 or 6 cups of decaf, you can easily break past the daily recommended caffeine intake. As far as most normal coffee drinkers are concerned, the only side effect of decaf you need to worry about is the taste of a badly prepared decaf brew.

Should Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

Well, most of the harmful side effects of coffee come from drinking too much of it; as long as you don’t become addict, you should be just fine. But if you were thinking whether the same rule applies to your kids, remember this- unlike many other foods, coffee is not detrimental to your kids health as long as they consume it in moderation. For that matter, decaf coffee is the better choice compared to caffeinated coffee when it comes to kids. First of all, decaf only contains a hundredth of the caffeine found in normal coffee, and that means your kids will not be staying awake all night after drinking a couple cups of espresso. Or you could add a teaspoon of coffee to their glass of milk and give them a taste of it. Chances are your kids are just curious about the drink, and if you let them have a sip every now and then, they will stop yearning for it as much as they do right now. Maybe they will like the taste, or they might just think it is not that great. For a lot of people, coffee is an acquired taste, and unless you consume lots of it on a regular basis, you will not get addicted to it. Decaf coffee is the best choice for your kid, scientific studies have proven that a cup or two of decaf does absolutely no harm to the human body, same rule applies to your 12 year old son or daughter. However, only give your kids mild, non-concentrated cups of decaf, and don’t try to get your two year old child into the habit of drinking coffee instead of milk. Remember- kids should always eat food with a high nutrition value, and coffee has no such merits. It has actually zero nutritional merit, and kids should not use it as a replacement for milk or fruit juice. Decaf coffee for kids is a safe option, as it contains negligible amounts of caffeine(around 3 mg a cup) and thus has no side effects. You certainly don’t want to give a shot of caffeine to your already hyper-energetic kid, who will probably be jumping around the house for  the next two hours if he gets a cup of caffeinated beverage.

Any food is not harmful as long as it is taken in moderation. If you stop your kid from drinking coffee now, it will only stir up his curiosity further, and he will try to get his hands on as much coffee as he can due to the curiosity built up in his mind. Instead of him gulping cups of caffeinated coffee in the future just because you told him to stay away from it now, why not give him a couple sips of decaf a day, this will not harm him, and his curiosity will decline as well, which means he will fall into the habit of drinking it in moderation. Again, coffee is not a replacement for nutritional drinks such as milk and fruit juice, and chances are your kid will find chocolate milk or mango juice more delicious than a cup of decaf cappuccino anyways.

Is Decaf Coffee Safe for Pregnant Women?

Most people need to have a cup of coffee in the morning to help them get started with their day. The coffee can help them wake up due to the stimulant effects of one of the ingredients, caffeine. The reason that people enjoy coffee is that the caffeine can be absorbed by the body fairly quickly allowing you to feel a boost in energy within just minutes. The issue, however, is that consuming too much coffee (or any other food or drink with caffeine) can cause negative effects on the body and this is especially true when you are pregnant. If you always count on that cup of morning  coffee(or 4-5 cups) to get you through to the afternoon, you may have to rethink that habit of yours if you are pregnant. Scientific studies claim that women who consume more than 200mg of caffeine in a day are more prone to miscarriage than women who don’t consume any caffeine during the pregnancy period. You should be okay with decaf coffee though, since a single 8-ounce cup contains around 5 to 8 mg of caffeine. So a couple or even 3 to 4 cups should not hurt.  Decaf coffee(and regular coffee as well) do have positive effects on your body, but only when taken in moderation. Decaf has much less caffeine compared to regular, non-decaf coffee, so it will not give you that extra energy you need during those lazy mornings, but it also means you are less likely to have any birth complications. Yes, caffeine has impressive pick-me-up powers — but it’s also a diuretic that washes calcium and other key pregnancy nutrients out of your system before they can be thoroughly absorbed. Another downside to this diuretic effect: frequent urination, which is the last thing a pregnant woman needs (you’ll be peeing plenty on your own now that you’re pregnant). What’s more (and more motivation for cutting down on caffeine during pregnancy), caffeine’s stimulating effects may make those already delightful mood swings even more volatile and intense.

As for how caffeine during pregnancy affects your baby, although researchers know that it does enter the placenta, they’re not certain about how much of an impact it has once it gets there. The latest information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicates that two cups of coffee a day (about 200mg per day) is okay, but heavier caffeine intake (in the range of five to six cups of coffee per day) slightly increases your risk of miscarriage. Studies conducted on pregnant women cannot be considered very accurate as these studies do not consider the genetic lineage, drugs taken during pregnancy, and other foods that the mothers consumed during the pregnancy period. All of the above factors could have decided the outcome of the pregnancy, but some mothers have been observed to have consumed 5 to 6 cups of non-decaf coffee daily and still give birth absolutely normally. Maybe this has to do with an individuals tolerance to caffeine, and how much their body has become used to this daily dose of caffeine. As with everything, coffee while pregnant is really a personal decision based on your experiences with caffeine and a discussion with your healthcare provider. Some people, myself included, get jittery and wound up from just one cup. Other people can slam a venti double shot right before bed and sleep like a baby.

If caffeine made you anxious from before you became pregnant, it’s best to stay away from it. If you handle it well pre-pregnancy, you are probably fine having a cup with your morning meal. Go to http://www.decafcoffeeinfo.com/decaf-coffee-during-pregnancy-safe for more information

Regular Coffee Versus Decaf Coffee?

So, you are trying to choose between regular coffee and decaf coffee. Well, there are benefits and demerits of either types of coffee, your choice is going to boil down to personal preferences and drinking habits. But first, you need to understand what decaf coffee is, and how it is made(assuming you already know what regular, non-decaf coffee is). Well, decaf coffee is just regular coffee without the caffeine. Caffeine is what gives coffee its “punch”, it is what keeps you mentally alert and deprives you of sleep after you gulp down a couple cups of coffee. In fact, after you drink too many cups  you will immediately notice the spike in your mental state, an increased heartbeat rate, and headaches. However, remove the caffeine from the coffee and you are left with a beverage that has every positive aspect of the original drink, yet has no negative side-effects associated with regular coffee.

But, just like with every good thing, decaf has its own cons. Coffee addicts and aficionados can easily tell the difference between a cup of good old regular coffee, and a decaf cup. Best decaf coffee doesn’t have the rich flavor and taste of natural coffee, because some of the proteins and sugars that are essential to giving coffee it’s unique flavor, are lost in the process of removing the caffeine molecules from the coffee beans. Coffee aficionados claim that tampering with such a fine drink is wrong, and say that coffee is best enjoyed naturally. However, there is a certain section of people out there who would rather prefer to drink coffee that is mildly lacking in flavor, than suffer the headaches and lack of sleep that comes with regular coffee. So in this battle of regular coffee versus decaf coffee, we should list the pros and cons of either type of coffee so you can make the best decision based on your personal preferences and taste.

Does Decaf Really Have No Caffeine?

Decaf coffee has been slowly gaining popularity as tests have proven that it contains all the antioxidant properties of regular coffee, minus the caffeine. However, there are several misconceptions about decaf coffee and its properties. One of the biggest misconceptions about decaf coffee is that it is caffeine-free. Well, In the United States federal regulations require that in order to label coffee as “decaffeinated” that coffee must have had its caffeine level reduced by no less than 97.5 percent.  Which means, yes there is still a slight trace of caffeine in that decaf cappuccino you are drinking, but it is probably in the range of 3 to 8 mg per cup. In comparison, an 8-ounce cup of drip-brewed regular coffee typically contains 85 milligrams of caffeine.

In order to understand how much caffeine your body is taking in when you are drinking a cup of decaf, you first need to understand exactly how much caffeine needs to be removed from a batch of fresh, green coffee beans to label them as “decaf”. What does “97 percent caffeine free” even mean? For example, Panamanian coffee is about 1.36% caffeine by weight normally. This and many other arabica coffees are about 98.64% caffeine free even before anything is done to lower the caffeine content. Well, that doesn’t label them as decaf though. You see, out of that 1.36 percent by weight of caffeine, at least 97.5 percent has to be removed for the coffee beans to be categorized as decaffeinated. Which leaves us with coffee that has a caffeine content of 0.0408 percent by weight, compared to the 1.36 percent it used to have before decaffeination.  Now, as long as you don’t drink like 10 cups of decaf, you won’t be getting close to the amount of caffeine you would have taken in from a single cup of non-decaf coffee. Obviously, drinking decaf should not pose a threat to any person who drinks it in reasonable quantities. But for certain people with heart disorders, or anxiety problems, even small doses of caffeine can be detrimental. So, if you are trying to remove caffeine from your diet altogether, you might reconsider consuming that cup of decaf. There is a difference between “decaffeinated” and “ caffeine-free”. Popular espresso drinks such as lattes(they contain two shots of espresso) can deliver as much caffeine as a can of Coca-Cola- around 31 mg. However, the amount of caffeine contained in a particular brew of decaf coffee depends on many factors. These include the process used for decaffeination, as well as the kind of beans used in the process. Some processes such as the Swiss Water Process ensure decaffeination rates as high as 99.9 percent. These processes utilize no chemical solvents and are one hundred percent organic, which also helps preserve the flavor of the beans, unlike conventional processes where the beans lose some of their aroma and taste during decaffeination. So, now that you are more literate about what decaffeination actually means, you can make wiser choices regarding your daily caffeine intake, but remember to check that can of coffee for the kind of process they used to decaffeinate it, and also keep in mind the type of coffee beans used, since these two factors greatly affect the caffeine content in a cup of decaf. Click here to find out more.

How Can I Brew Good Tasting Decaf Coffee?

Most of the food and coffee establishments have yet to acknowledge the growing decaffeinated coffee market and therefore put out a consistently meager cup. It seems to be brewed with a lighter touch (less concern for a hearty, tasteful brew) so that it often tastes only a step above it’s dismal cousin, decaffeinated instant coffees. To make matters worse, the pot of decaf can (and usually does) sit on a burner for much longer than the regular pot simply because decaf is not requested as much. After fifteen minutes on the warmer, the pot of decaf will begin to break down and turn bitter and flat — just like all those awful cups of decaf we’ve all had. A conscientious establishment uses air pots to preserve the flavor of the coffee for a long period of time. But even the air pots loose their ability to maintain the original aromas and flavors. The solution is to make smaller, more frequent, batches of decaf. Making the best decaf coffee is not that difficult right?

How to brew the perfect cup of decaf

These same principles can be utilized at home. If you drink decaffeinated coffee for health reasons, to cut down on your caffeine intake or because you enjoy a cup of coffee late at night but find the caffeine keeps you awake, you should expect a robust and flavorful cup of coffee. Drinking decaf doesn’t mean selling out on flavor, aroma or quality. Be aware: even if you are drinking decaf, you are getting a cup of coffee that is only 96% to 98% caffeine-free.

Starting with the freshest cold water, the proper proportion of coffee grounds and a clean coffee machine will gain you a perfect cup of coffee, even if it’s decaf.

Stop by your favorite roaster and ask to taste their decaf coffees, to find out their secret to making decaf coffee. Usually they are quite willing to share their knowledge. If you are in the bay area, call either of the following numbers to find the Peet’s or Starbucks nearest you. Both have many locations in the area and have eager and well-informed staff who can answer your questions.

And just remember one thing: don’t give up on quality or taste when you shop for that decaffeinated cup of coffee!

Caffeinated coffee drinkers approach the prospect of drinking decaffeinated coffee with feelings of doubt and preconceived ideas of disappointment. We’ve had those watery cups of bitter brew that are labeled “decaf” and find it better to skip the cup of decaf rather than partake in a less than satisfying cup of coffee. This experience can be avoided altogether, if you follow some basic decaf rules. So, in this battle of regular coffee versus decaf coffee, either side has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Regular coffee, taken in moderation is not at all detrimental to your health, but if you are ready to sacrifice a bit of flavor and taste for a zero-caffeine experience, then decaf coffee is the choice for you.