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What Does Decaf Mean?

Nowadays, you may often come across the word ‘decaf’ everywhere as millions of people are crazily choosing the decaf products. But what does decaf mean? Is it really something beneficial to our health or it is nothing but a fad? Here, you will explore some truth about decaf products that may help you to choose your drink wisely after considering the health facts about it.


What Does Decaf Mean?

‘Decaf’ is the short form of ‘decaffeination’ or ‘decaffeinated’. Decaffeination refers to the process of removal of caffeine from certain things like coffee beans, cocoa and tea leaves. There is a popular belief about decaf products that decaf means completely caffeine free whereas the truth is that decaf is not synonymous to ‘caffeine free’. Most of the decaf products like coffee and tea still have a minimal amount of caffeine and certain decaf drinks have restraint amount of caffeine.

What Are The Decaf Processes?

In order to understand decaf, one needs to follow the processes of decaffeination used for removing caffeine from the coffee beans.

  • Roselius Process: It was the first ever decaf process used for removing caffeine from the products. Since harmful benzene was used for this decaf process that can cause cancer, this process has been stopped using for decaf.
  • Direct Method: It is a home-based decaf process where the beans are steamed and rinsed with a solvent for long hours. Then the drained beans are again steamed for hours to eliminate the presence of solvent.
  • Swiss Water Process: In this decaf process, non-roasted beans are soaked in hot water in order to remove the presence of caffeine. Then the beans are discarded and the remaining caffeine blend solution is strained through the carbon filter. The filtered product is left with green coffee extract (GCE) where more green coffee beans are added and then the GCE solution is again passed through filtration process to eliminate caffeine. This process is repeated until the product reaches to 99.9% caffeine free condition. In this process, the beans do not lose the flavor of original product.

Things to Know about Decaf Coffee

In our country, manufacturers are allowed to label their products as decaf coffee only when it eliminates the caffeine level by 97.5% minimum. Therefore, decaf coffee does not mean zero level of caffeine in the product. In fact, reports from the ‘Journal of Analytical Toxicology’ show that people, who regularly drink 5-10 cups of decaf coffee, originally consume the equal amount of caffeine found in one or two regular cups of caffeine.

Things to Know about Decaf Tea

Nowadays, tea is also decaffeinated using the direct method as mentioned above. In this process, the presence of caffeine is lessened in the tea. If you compare between equal size serving of tea and coffee, you will come to know that tea contains somewhere between one third and one half amount of caffeine than coffee contains. Usually black tea contains highest amount of natural caffeine while oolong tea contains minimum amount of caffeine.

Future of Decaf Products

Once you know ‘what does decaf mean’ it is also important to know the future of decaf. In 2004, a naturally caffeine free coffee plant ‘Decaffito’ was said to find. Since, decaf products still contain smaller amount of caffeine, it is expected that after some years, the Decaffito plant is likely to replace the decaf coffee although there is no certainly of this prediction. Till then, it is good to consume less caffeine with decaf products.

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