You will surely have wondered at least once in your life how decaffeinated coffee is made. In this article we will try to satisfy all your curiosity.

To invent it was the German Ludwig Roselius in 1905 who later became one of the founders of the HAG company. It is still today the number one in the world in the production of decaffeinated coffee.

First method to produce decaffeinated coffee, disused

The first decaffeination method, the one devised by Roselius, used steam and organic solvents to eliminate caffeine from coffee beans. But over the years new procedures have been tested to reach a content not greater than 0.1% of caffeine, as required by the current legislation.

The most traditional method, but outdated today, is that which involved bathing in water to increase the volume of the beans, followed by a sort of washing with dichloromethane, an organic solvent. Several times the finger has been pointed on the safety of this method in terms of health although the high roasting temperatures of the beans completely evaporate the solvents and, therefore, their potential dangerous residues. In any case, however, this method has now been replaced by others considered safer.

Second metod, the simplest one

The second method, and also the simplest one, is that which involves immersing the green coffee beans in heated water. Then they are filtered with activated carbon that blocks caffeine. However, this method also reduces the organoleptic richness of coffee and for this reason is not widespread.

Third metod, the most used today

The third method, the most complex but the most used today for the production of decaffeinated coffee, is that which uses carbon dioxide. We are not here to explain in detail all the phases and machinery used, but suffice it to say that thanks to this procedure solvents are not used and the natural flavors of the coffee are not damaged. It is therefore an absolutely safe method also according to the scientific community.

In reality there are also rare varieties of Coffee in Africa that are already naturally free of caffeine, but they are still experimenting with crosses that can be competitive on the market.

If you want to know more about the different varieties of Coffee  you can read our article The coffee plant.