Caffeine Free Coffee Beans Discovered

March 9, 2010 at 12:43 am 5 comments

In case you haven’t noticed from my video about properly pouring coffee, my various Starbucks secrets or my post about why coffee is called java, I love coffee.

I got hooked on it when a local chain started serving high fructose cappuccinos. They’re mostly sugar, but they’re also a gateway to the serious stuff: coffea arabica, the most common species of coffee bean.

As I got older, I started to notice the effects of all the caffeine. I would get headaches if I didn’t drink enough of the stuff, but I couldn’t stop drinking it entirely… I loved the taste and it was a habitual part of my day, so I switched to decaffeinated coffee. I’m not alone, decaf coffee is growing in popularity, making up 10% of the global coffee market.

The first thing that should be noted, “decaffeinated” coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine and various countries have different standards for how much caffeine is permitted in “decaf” coffee.

There are six different ways to remove caffeine from coffee. It’s very challenging because coffee naturally contains over 400 chemicals that makeup its taste and aroma. Retaining all of those chemicals and only removing caffeine is an expert task that few are good at.

The first method for decaffeinating coffee involved using the toxic chemical benzene. Although the coffee beans were washed after treatment (to wash away the caffeine) this method is no longer used for obvious health risks. There are a couple other methods that involve chemicals: “the direct method” and “the indirect method”. The indirect method is sometimes called “water-processed” since it does involve water, but that is done to assimilate the process with another method called “the Swiss water process”, which is chemical free. The other process that is chemical free is “the CO2 Process.”  Both “the Swiss water process” and “the CO2 Process” are generally used on higher quality coffees.

One of the greatest coffee discoveries might be a naturally occurring coffee that is nearly void of all caffeine. It was found in Ethiopia, one of the earliest countries to have coffee plantations. A researcher discovered this coffee species and reported her findings in the the journal of Nature. Coffee generally has 12 milligrams of caffeine per gram, while this species has only 0.76 milligrams. It’s not a commercially viable species yet, but they’re working on it and I’ll let you know as soon as we can buy it!

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Coffee, Decaffeination, Journal of Nature

Entry filed under: Around The House, Demystified, Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. greg  |  March 9, 2010 at 3:15 am

    You really need to brush up on your biology. There are 26 species of coffee plants. One of them produces the coffee we consume, called arabica. Another, robusta (canephora), requires chemical treatment to taste like tolerable coffee (arabica). The other 24 species of coffee plant produce beans that are too foul for humans to commercially consume.

    So what do you think the odds are that adding one more species, that’s naturally decaffeinated, is going to produce anything humans will not throw up on?

    • 2. Chad Upton  |  March 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      Greg, thanks for the info. I couldn’t find much information on this new bean, it seems like a closely guarded secret for now, so I’m not sure how it tastes. I am definitely not a biologist, is there any incorrect biological info in the post.

      – Chad

  • 3. Damon  |  March 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I switched to Yerba Mate years ago…no more headaches or any of the other coffee side effects yet a similar stimulative effect if not better. Never touched coffee again; don’t even crave it. I would also have to suggest looking for an unsmoked variety to try as a first timer should you get the urge. BTW… the double walled cups are amazing aren’t they! Unfortunately on the pricey side and VERY fragile.

    • 4. Chad Upton  |  March 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm


      Thanks for the comment. I like Yerba Mate and I’m a big tea drinker too. But, I haven’t given up coffee entirely.

      Yes, the double walled glasses are great. So far, I have been impressed with their durability, I only bought one to start, not knowing how fragile they were. I checked with the manufacturer and they’re dishwasher safe — I have a few of them now and never had one break. Have you had any problems with them?

      • 5. Damon  |  March 11, 2010 at 4:07 pm

        Yeah, the cups. Out of six double-walled pints mated with two of their very recommendable shotglasses, I am down to a single shotglass that anyone in my house is afraid to touch. After the mourning that accompanied the last six losses (one was MY fault, haha) it’s no surprise. I’d say stick with the curved, shorter styles and you are fine really.
        Try a teaspoon or so of Cider vinegar in your Yerba Mate sometime…it keeps your mate from turning that brownish green hue and tastes pretty good too.
        Fun blog..thanks, and have a great day!

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