Decaffeination Process of Coffee Beans

Decaffeination is the process of extracting the caffeine from green beans (or other ingredients that contain caffeine).

There are four different methods of decaffeination (we list in order from least expensive to most expensive).

Methylene Chloride

The most common form of decaffeination. The process utilizes methylene chloride to remove caffeine from the bean. Then, water rinses the decaffeinated beans. Any residual methylene burns off during the roasting process as the vapor point of methylene chloride is much lower than the temperature of the roasting chamber (approximately 400 degrees F).

Ethyl Acetate

This is sometimes called “Natural Decaf” because ethyl acetate is found in certain fruits. Supposedly, it is the natural form of ethyl acetate that is used to decaffeinate coffee, but due to the higher costs, the synthetic form is commonly used.

CO2 Process

This method uses carbon dioxide and water(club soda) to decaffeinate coffee. It can also be considered a “Natural Decaffeination” process because of the lack of any chemical substances.

Water Process (a.k.a. Swiss Water Decaf)

This is also known as “All Natural” because the decaffeination process only uses water and carbon filters. The taste of water processed decaf coffees are usually not as good as the methylene chloride, but very recently, Swiss Water Decaf has improved their process and their resultant tastes after decaffeination.


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