Why can’t people leave coffee lovers alone? Why can’t they digest the fact that we enjoy our cuppa in the morning? Why do they keep inventing caffeine-rid products that make us sick? What would they lose if we got our kick in the morning? This is exactly what most coffee lovers all over the world must have felt when some spoilsport came along and kicked out the ‘kick’ from our coffees – the person proudly gave us decaffeinated coffee. It was supposed to rid us of all the ‘problems’ that coffee caused. They argued that out teeth would not be so dark; we would have less heart ailments and what not. Some of us actually fell for it; others scoffed at it, like the diabetics who refuse to give up sweets. Most of us, however, did not know anything about decaf, making it difficult to choose. Here’s a comparison between the two that could help.
Basic Coffee Facts
What is Decaf Coffee?
Coffee beans contain caffeine. Caffeine is a natural mood elevator and it combats the effects of fatigue. However, too much caffeine can have negative effects. Over-consumption of caffeine can make people nervous, jittery and impede sleep patterns. Some people even report racing heartbeats associated with caffeine use. Drinking large quantities of unfiltered coffee – more than 5 cups per day brewed with a French press – has been associated with rises in cholesterol levels. In addition, caffeine consumption in pregnant women has been shown to have adverse effects on developing fetuses.
Decaffeinated coffee, on the other hand, refers to coffee that has at least 97% of its caffeine removed. There are several ways by which coffee is decaffeinated. Some of these methods utilize solvents such as formaldehyde, methylene chloride or ethyl acetate in extracting the caffeine from coffee beans.
How Coffee is Decaffeinated?
Coffee can be decaffeinated using one of several methods. With direct process decaffeinating, solvents such as formaldehyde are used to absorb the caffeine from the coffee in order to remove it. Water decaffeinating uses water to remove the caffeine by soaking the beans prior to roasting. Since water method decaffeinating does not use any chemical additives, some people prefer coffee decaffeinated with this method. A less frequently used process decaffeinates the beans with carbon dioxide.
Decaf v/s Regular?
The rationale behind ridding coffee of caffeine is that this substance is generally blamed for the unwelcome effects of coffee, which include increased heart rate and blood pressure-effects, heartburn and hyperacidity, increase in stress level, staining of the teeth, increase in blood cholesterol levels, and increase in the risk for osteoporosis or brittle bone disease.
Unfortunately, studies indicate that the adverse effects of coffee enumerated above also occur in people who drink decaffeinated coffee. Perhaps this is because decaffeinated coffee still has some caffeine or because the adverse effects are not simply due to caffeine but to the other substances found in coffee and which are not removed by decaffeination.
On the other hand, decaffeinating coffee might rid it of or dilute the effects of other important chemicals that actually do us good. Coffee aside from being a tried and tested stimulant has some possible long-term health benefits. For one, it is a good source of antioxidants.
To contradict the popular notion that coffee is good for nothing except acting as a stimulant, is the fact that coffee is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, which help get rid of the free radicals – a highly reactive group of atoms that can damage the cells of the body.
Another possible health benefit of coffee which has been proved by several scientific studies is that it substantially lowers the risk of developing clinical type 2 diabetes mellitus. What's more, the results of the study further suggest that the more coffee one drinks the better, thus, those who drink seven or more cups of coffee a day are 50 percent less likely to develop diabetes.