Thursday, July 18, 2024

The hidden vices of decaf coffee

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
"Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie."

After water, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world, with an estimated 2.6 billion cups of coffee per day. For those who want to benefit from its antioxidant properties without the effects of caffeine and without damaging their usual taste buds, there is an increasingly popular alternative: “decaf” coffee. But behind this seemingly ideal proposition lie extraction processes that are not without risks to the health of consumers…

The countries that consume the most coffee are located in Europe, and France is not left out, with more than 5 countries kgkg Its consumption is on average per capita per year. This drink, which has many virtues, is especially appreciated because it stimulates the functioning of the nervous system, through a well-known substance: Caffeine. The latter could be More or less well tolerated Depending on the individual and the quantity consumed, which may lead to sensations such as tachycardia, tremors, nervousness, anxiety, sleep disturbances… That is why more and more health-conscious enthusiasts are turning to decaf coffee, which retains its aroma, minus the caffeine. However, the virtue of “less caffeine” masks vices that our body can do well without being exposed to. Here they are.

Caffeine, Thane: Are they the same thing?

Caffeine is extracted from coffee beans that are still green, i.e. not roasted. There are three processes, where the majority of decaf coffee is produced using methods including: SolventsSolventsBecause it is the cheapest process. The direct method involves dipping the beans in methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, which binds to the caffeine and removes it from the beans.

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To learn more about the effects of coffee on your health (and even your hearing!) and discover why espresso machines make so much noise, listen to this episode of INFRA, the audio documentary produced by Futura. © Futura

The indirect method, for its part, does not involve direct contact between the beans and solvent: the beans are immersed in hot water, the soaking water is then treated separately to remove caffeine, and the beans are immersed again at the end until they are cooked. Restore their scents.

In these two methods, chemical agents with stripping, dissolving and degreasing properties are used, which are controversial because they are also… “It may cause cancer”,according'National Institute for Research and Safety for the Prevention of Work Accidents and Occupational Diseases (INRS). Although dichloromethane residues are generally imperceptible after roasting, which occurs at temperatures above 200°C, and European regulations limit their presence to 2 parts per million (mg/kg) in roasted coffee, it is safer to resort to other extraction methods .

Good coffee is clear coffee

Use Carbon DioxideCarbon Dioxide liquidliquidor even water and filters coalcoal Active, form alternative methods, which can be used as a marketing argument. Therefore, since nothing forces roasters to specify the decaffeination process used, not mentioning it may mean solvent interference. In general, both for your health, but also for your social and environmental values, it is better to turn to coffee whose source and manufacturing processes are clearly indicated and, if possible, from fair trade, which ensures respect for human rights.

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“100% decaf” does not exist!

The coffee bean contains 1 to 2.5% caffeine. With the mentioned extraction processes, this rate drops to 0.1% after decaffeination. In addition, know that coffee is not the only ambassador of this substance: tea, cocoa, cola, yerba mate, guarana… I assure you that it will be necessary to consume them in excess to obtain appropriate levels of caffeine. “Real” coffee, but it's good to know when you want to limit it! Even better is variety: there are many convenient and social drinks with multiple benefits: what if we stopped stigmatizing DandelionDandelion ? I think I've just opened a new debate among coffee purists…

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