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Decaffeinated Coffee: Know The Facts

Updated on November 1, 2013

The Truth About Decaffeinated Coffee

You probably do not think much about your decaf. If it tastes like coffee, that is probably all you need to know, right?

Not necessarily. Not all decaffeination methods are the same. Some decaffeination processes get rid of caffeine using some pretty nasty chemicals. Other types of decaffeination methods use only water.

(Photo by Ahmed Rabea )

The Skinny on Decaffeinated Coffee

What Is the truth about decaffeinated coffee?

As you probably know, caffeine is not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine is linked to miscarriage and underweight babies. Therefore, you probably will either stop all together or if you are like us, you may switch to decaffinated brew. But did you know that there is a HUGE difference in decaffinated coffees?

* Decaffeinated Coffee is not Caffeine-Free. US standards allows 3% of the caffeine to remain in a 'decaffinated coffee'. If you drink several cups of Decaffeinated Coffee, you could get quite a bit of caffeine. This data base shows the amount of Caffeine in various types of drinks.

* Not all methods of decaffination are the same. Some decaffeination methods involve methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, substance that you may not want to expose your growing baby to. I wrote to Taster's Choice and asked them about their decaffeination process and have posted their response below.

* Some processes are better at removing caffeine and NOT removing flavor while other processes are inexpensive, but together with the caffeine remove most of the coffee flavor.

Based On Photo By Refracted Moments

Based On Photo By Refracted Moments
Based On Photo By Refracted Moments

Response From Nestle About the Taster's Choice Decaffeination Process

Is this the truth about decaffeinated coffee?

On the Taster's Choice website they write that their decaf coffee is 'naturally decaffinated'. So, I wrote to Taster's Choice to ask them for more details. Here is the response I received:

Dear Sir:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about Nescafé® Taster's Choice® Decaf Instant Coffee regarding our decaffeination process. We welcome questions and comments from loyal consumers such as yourself and appreciate this opportunity to assist you.

Before the coffee is roasted, ground, and brewed, at least 97% of the caffeine is removed from the green coffee bean. We use a method commonly utilized for many years by almost every major coffee manufacturer, and fully approved by the FDA as a safe method of decaffeinating. This entails using water and a product known as Methylene Chloride to decaffeinate the green coffee beans. Methylene Chloride is not an added ingredient but merely a product used during the caffeine removal. Then the beans are used in the normal process for making instant coffee. The final product contains nothing but 100% pure decaffeinated coffee.

At Nestlé, we are dedicated to you and your family throughout every phase of your lives. Your feedback is valuable to us, as it helps us to improve our products and services.

We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.

Sincerely,

Beverly Watson

Consumer Response Representative

Swiss Water Decaffination Process - An odd video about water decaffeinated coffee

This rather long video explains how the Swiss Water Decaffination process works. While amusing, if you do not have the time skip down a bit and read about the Swiss Water Decaffination Process.

Coffee Which Use Swiss Water Decaffination - Safe decaffeinated coffee

The only way to tell if a coffee offers Swiss Water Decaffeination is to look for the logo on the package.

Swiss Water Decaffeination

What is the truth about water decaffeinated coffee

Personally, I feel more comfortable drinking coffee which has been decaffeinated without the use of chemicals. The Swiss Water decaffeination method is 100% Chemical Free and removes 99.9% of the caffeine.

Are there other safe decaffination processes? Are there other safe decaffeinated coffees for women to drink? Probably. But this is the point where my research has stopped. If someone has more information, please contact me.

Starbucks USED to offer a decaffeinated coffee which used the Swiss Water decaffeination method, but according to this article Starbucks no longer offers Swiss Water Decafinated coffee. Currently all Starbucks decaf coffee uses Methylene chloride. Should this change again, I would be pleased if someone let me know.

.

What is the truth about decaffeinated coffee? Is chemically treated decaffeinated coffee safe? Do you prefer water decaffeinated coffee?

Did you ever drink Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee? - What do you believe is the truth about decaffeinated coffee?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am doing a cleanse and my doctor mentioned to me that I was allowed to do decaf coffee that has not been processed with formaldehyde! I was disgusted and started doing research. I have learned that all decaf coffees at Caribou Coffee house are chemical free. I have been an avid Starbucks customer and concerned about this process and the coffee I am drinking. Thank you for your additional information.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info on decaf coffee. I'm sticking to regular coffee. I grind it and brew a pot every other day. Mostly I drink about 64 oz of water a day for my liquid needs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I prefer nauturally decaffeinated coffee. I will not buy a chemically treated decaffeinated coffee. Thank you for all your information. I prefer the water decaffeinated coffee. I have a thyroid condition so I need to drink decaf. I want a naturally decaffeinated coffee. I love coffee but I'm sensitive to caffeine. I wish all the coffee companies would use the water decaffeinated process, No chemicals please! With everyone so health conscious you'd think all the coffee companies would only make naturally decaffeinated coffee.

      Like I said, I won't buy Decaf if it's chemically decaffeinated.

    • EuroSquid LM profile image
      Author

      EuroSquid LM 4 years ago

      @FashionMommy: Thanks for your comments Mommy!

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 4 years ago

      This is an interesting lens. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Sams Club brand (Walmart) of decaffeinated coffee is excellent; been using it for 3 years and it taste rich and full-flavored like regular coffee!

    • profile image

      Aleayah 5 years ago

      Interesting :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow - I really had no idea what was involved in decaf... I drink it from time to time or dilute my regular with decaf to half cut down on jitters, but now I WILL be sure to look closely!!

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      I have never tried but thanks for adding to knowledge.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Got here because the days I drink decaf (8+ cups as iced coffee) I don't sleep well. Power of deduction is that decaf isn't completely caffeine free, especially to hyper sensitive peeps like me. Thanks for the info and the list of 99.9%ers.

    • profile image

      brian_pelton 5 years ago

      I never did enjoy decaffeinated coffee unfortunately :(

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Unfortunately, when I get decafe I rarely look. This info is good to know, thanks!

    • whats4dinner profile image

      whats4dinner 5 years ago

      It's nice to learn something new. Thank you for sharing this.

    • TLStahling profile image

      TL Stahling 5 years ago from US

      I'm emailing this to a friend of mine who drink decaf. Thanks.

    • profile image

      mizrae 5 years ago

      As the saying goes, "it's what we DO NOT know that's hurting us"

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 5 years ago

      Great lens and thanks for opening some eyes...including mine!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very educational. I learned something new about decaf today. Nice lens!

    • ChrisShaefer profile image

      ChrisShaefer 5 years ago

      This is an excellent lens, thank you for the hard work and effort you put into this.

      I always love an informative publication that has some substance.

      I have a few coffee articles of my own. Please stop by and share a little love.

      Thanks again, 2 thumbs up and a LIKE for you!

      Shaefercd

    • DelightfulDanie profile image

      DelightfulDanie 5 years ago

      Very interesting! I don't know what decaffinated coffee I have been drinking! :0

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am drinking nescafe blend 43 decaf coffee,which I have been assured is made by the Swiss water method,it tastes quite good and so far I am happy to stick with it...I was advised to drink decaf coffee following a stay in hospital for heart troubles.

      I also tried Woolworths home brand decaf coffee,which was made in poland...It also tasted quite nice but I was curious enough to ask about the process by which it was made and they confirmed it was made with methyl chloride so I stopped using it and returned the remainder for a refund.Coffee tastes nice but we must have a product which is healthy,caffeine is nothing but a heart stimulant drug,a drug,nothing more nothing less.I would recommend everyone switch to Decaf

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have had on many occasions a great cup of decaf from a Canadian co. called The Second Cup who uses the Swiss process. I find it very good and without the jittery feeling I often get from regular coffees.I am truly upset at the use of solvents in it and am amazed at yet again the blatant disregard for our health along with so many other products.No wonder the healthcare industry is almost broken. STOP poisoning and START caring for the paying public who gives you your profits!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Not yet, but give me some time and one day I may try it. Thank for making me curious about it.

    • NorDac LM profile image

      NorDac LM 6 years ago

      @EuroSquid LM: I agree with you EuroSquid. Many things that were once considered "safe" are now known to cause problems.

    • NorDac LM profile image

      NorDac LM 6 years ago

      Not that I'm aware of. However decaffeinated coffee seems to miss the point. I drink coffee to stay away while programming and working.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Caribou Coffee uses a chemical-free decaffeination process for all of their coffees. I was thrilled to discover this during my last pregnancy. Unfortunately, they are not located in every state.

      Also, at least some of the decaf coffee beans sold at Whole Foods are chemical-free.

    • EuroSquid LM profile image
      Author

      EuroSquid LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I find it telling that B. Fleming uses the abbreviatsion MC and EA instead of the words methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, as if to make them sound harmless. I also find it interesting that this writer says "yet none of the people have ever decaffeinated a single bean of coffee." This leads me to believe that perhaps B. Fleming has decaffeinated coffee? How many people have done that? Perhaps someone who works for a coffee manufacturer. Finally, B. Fleming closes with a plug for Folgers coffee. Methinks that B.Fleming is a chemist who works for one of the coffee manufactures, perhaps Folgers?

      B. Fleming is correct that US coffee manufacturers no longer use Benzene, now that they know it is not safe. And of course "experts" tell us that methylene chloride or ethyl acetate ARE safe. At least that is what they tell us now. But each passing year we learn that things that we previously believed were safe are not. Asbestos, Dioxins and yes, even Benzenes which were previously used in decaf coffee were all considered by experts to be safe.

      The bottom line is, should you trust the experts and drink coffee which was exposed to methylene chloride or ethyl acetate? Or would you prefer that your coffee was exposed to water? When we were expecting our son, the decision was very easy to make. Sorry about that B. Fleming.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Blog titleâ¦Decaffeinated Coffee: KNOW THE FACTS. Ironically the person moderating the blog appears not to KNOW THE FACTS.

      Benzene has not been used to decaffeinate coffee more than 30 years. The FACT could have been researched easily in a number of locations including WIKIPEDIA.

      Many people on the internet claim to be experts about the process of decaffeination, yet none of the people have ever decaffeinated a single bean of coffee.

      That said the reality is that decaf is the most misrepresented product Iâve ever witnessed.

      For those that are interested in facts here you go:

      Decaffeinated coffee is made using one of the FDA approved processing aids. They are MC, EA, CO2, H2O. The term âprocessing aidâ is used because none of the processes used to decaffeinated coffee remain in the bean as an ingredient.

      Industry experts believe that MC produces the best tasting decaf coffee.

      Folgers have abandoned their EA decaf process in favor of the MC process. Perhaps youâve notices that Folgers decaf taste better today than it did in the past.

      Regardless of which decaf you choose to drink, they are all safe for your health. The bottom line is which decaf do you enjoy the most?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is really good info as sometimes I like to drink Decaf. Next time I go to Starbucks, I will certainly look for Komodo.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I seldom drink decaffeinated coffee, but this is good information to know for those rare times that I do.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      Very informative, and well presented. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I have tasted both types. I think I will stick to the Swiss Water type from now on.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Good article! Do you know what manufacturers are safe to buy? Carte Noir is my big favorite, do you know anything about their decaf process? thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It's the only kind I drink. There are many options on the market if you brew it at home.

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 6 years ago

      Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 8 years ago

      This was quite interesting, and like you, I do not like all the additives and chemicals manufacturers put in their products, or use in the decaffeination of their products. I love Tasters Choice, and I'm disappointed in their decaffeination process. Thanks for including their response.