It is known that decaffeinated coffee beans go through a process where the caffeine content of the beans are removed in fact. After this, the caffeine content of the beans are reduced to 1/40th of the normal amount. There are several approaches to decaffeinate coffee beans.
The direct method is the most common procedure. This method will remove the waxy coating and expand the pores of the beans by steaming it for about 30 minutes. The coffee beans will then be rinsed for 10 hours under pressure with a solvent, either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. The beans are steamed again to wash off the solvent because it creates a molecular bond with the caffeine. The non-caffeine coffee components are removed from the solvent and added back into the coffee.
The indirect method is almost same to the direct one. The difference between the two is the medium they used, water is employed instead of steam and the caffeine is withdrawn from the water not from the beans. This method is often referred to as the “water process”, it can be misleading to others because they are still using chemical solvents to remove the caffeine. The Swiss Water Process takes and soaks the unroasted beans in hot water to release the caffeine. Once the caffeine and coffee solids are released, the beans are discarded. Filtering is the next step to fully remove the caffeine. Coffee beans are sustained to continue the process until the beans are free of caffeine.
However, there are some health risks accompanying decaffeinated coffee beans. This is because of the artificial process of segregating caffeine from the coffee beans, which may cause many health problems according to research. There are links involving the consumption of decaffeinated coffee beans and the risk of heart disease due to an increase in “bad LDL” cholesterol levels. The process of removing caffeine from the beans can also cause acid reflux, heartburn or stomach ulcers because of the increase acidity level.
Decaffeinated coffee beans would harm bones and other body organs as well actually.It may be a factor to the early appearance of osteoporosis. Glaucoma may also be caused by decaf coffee because of its high acidity that increases intraocular pressure. Lastly, the chemical solvents that were used in the decaffeinating process has been connected to lung, stomach, and small intestines cancer. Decaffeinated coffee beans may bring a great taste but must be taken moderately because too much consumption may lead to negative effects.