If you’re so passionate about your decaf coffee that you hold a craft coffee subscription so you can have regular access to the nicest single origin coffee beans on Earth, you’re probably a purist in the best sense of the word. But do you find yourself scanning right past the decaffeinated options among the specialty coffee beans at Javaya? If so, you may be making a mistake — especially if caffeine is currently bedeviling your blood pressure and digestive system.

Today’s finest decaf coffee beans offer the same gourmet flavors you’ve come to expect from “regular” coffee while providing many of the same important health benefits. Let’s examine what makes decaf coffee a more exciting product than many people realize.

How Decaffeination in Decaf Works

There have been several methods for decaffeinating coffee over the years, some of them healthier than others. The earliest method, developed in 1905, removed the caffeine with benzine. This technique was (thankfully) discontinued once it was understood that benzene was a carcinogen!
Modern decaffeination is generally achieved through the use of ethyl acetate (“E.A”), carbon dioxide, or the Swiss Water process. E.A. can be derived from synthetic sources, but Ipsento’s Decaf Columbia gets its E.A. from natural sugar cane — which has the lovely side effect of imparting a gentle sugar cane note to the flavor. Onyx Coffee Lab’s Decaf Columbia Medellín uses the Swiss Water process, in which coffee beans and green coffee extract are combined with water until 99.9 percent of the caffeine has moved out of the coffee and into the extract. Both methods guarantee that you get the full flavor of the coffee without any harsh chemical aftertaste.

It’s All About the Beans

It must be said that no decaffeination method can extract every last molecule of caffeine out of the beans. In fact, the FDA only requires a 97-percent success rate before coffee can be called “decaffeinated.” The good news is that most decaffeinated coffee is made from the superior Arabica beans instead of the lower-quality Robusta beans, simply because Arabica beans have only about half as much caffeine in them to begin with. Pair the distinguished Arabica pedigree with a superb single origin coffee roast, and you’ve got a decaf to die for.

Drinking to Your Health: The Decaf Difference

Many people switch to decaf because they’re worried about their blood pressure, reflux, or another caffeine-related health issue. But will decaf deliver the same healthy benefits as caffeinated coffee? The answer, for the most part, is yes. For instance, coffee is renowned for its potent dose of health-preserving antioxidants. Studies indicate the decaffeination only reduces the antioxidant content of coffee by about 25 percent. You’re still getting a health boost with every cup — and without the caffeine, you can enjoy that many more cups to make up the difference. Coffee drinking has been associated with lower risks of liver cancer, retinal damage, heart attack mortality, and even dental cavities. So drink up!
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to get excited over decaffeinated coffee even in the absence of that familiar caffeine buzz. Why not set a new a new goal to become a decaf connoisseur? You’ll love astonishing your guests with the sheer quality of your Ipsento or Onyx Coffee Lab roasts– and you’ll also love not having to clean up the spills caused by those “caffeine jitters!”

Ryan Holloway

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