Decaf: Can You Taste the Difference?

Mexico is home of a special coffee tree that actually produces coffee that is almost 100% naturally decaffeinated. However, until that tree is being used for commercial production of decaf, caffeine needs to be removed from coffee. The question remains though, how does this decaffeination process affect the taste.

Most people say that the difference is not noticeable, but there are some who of course can tell. One of the methods for decaffeinating coffee is hot water treatment and methylene chloride rinsing. It may be surprising to some to learn that coffee has already seen water before it is brewed; more than once actually. The coffee berries are rinsed after they are picked and then they are rinsed again to get rid of the fruit flesh. It is not the water that removes the taste, but determining whether the chemicals used do or not.

The chemical decaffeinated process starts with green unroasted beans. Then they are warmed with either hot water or steam. This helps the bean's pores to open. After this, the beans are rinsed using methylene chloride. This attaches to the caffeine and is then washed away.

Or, it can be done where the beans are soaked for many hours in hot water and the caffeine leaks out into the water. Then the chemical is added to the bath. The chemical then bonds to the caffeine in the water without removing the flavor from the water. Then the beans are re-soaked in the flavorful water without the caffeine and regain their taste.

There is also a process called Swiss Water. This process does not use any chemicals. The beans are soaked in hot water, same as above but the caffeine is removed using charcoal instead of chemicals. The caffeine sticks to the charcoal and is removed from the water that way. This is considered to be the chemical free method of decafeinating coffee.

Using methylene chloride is the preferred method because of its cost. It is debatable whether the chemical does alter the taste of the bean or not. Regardless of the decaf process, the coffee drinker always has ways to reduce caffeine intake. For instance, the darker the coffee is roasted, the less caffeine it has. Decaf can also be blended with regular coffee whenever to obtain optimum taste and reduced caffeine.

Individuals will always have their own specifications about decaf and regular and beliefs about whether there is an altered taste with decaf or not. However, caffeine does add some bitterness, so decaf coffee can be detected by some. Whether the detected alteration is taste is preferred or not, is up to the individual coffee drinker. In the end, people will always love coffee, so enjoy it, and be lavish.

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