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Decaffeinated coffee is at least 97 percent caffeine-free, with an average of 2-3 mg. of caffeine, but there are several factors that can slightly alter the caffeine level of your cup of decaf coffee.
Those factors include:
Brewing extraction rates
Higher extraction rates, warmer water, a finer grind, and a lighter roast all result in a higher caffeine level in decaf coffee. This could potentially increase the caffeine level from approximately 2 mg to 6 mg per cup.
Even should these factors increase the amount of caffeine, your decaf coffee will still have far less than the caffeine per cup in regular coffee. It will even have less caffeine than some 1-ounce servings of chocolate.
How does the caffeine in decaf compare with other foods and beverages?
Coffee, 8-ounce drip: 104-192 mg.
Tea, 8-ounce brewed: 20-90 mg.
Iced tea, 8 ounces: 9-50 mg.
Soft drinks, 8 ounces, 20-40 mg.
Cocoa Beverage, 8 ounces, 3-32 mg.
Milk chocolate, 1 ounce: 3-32 mg.
Dark Chocolate, 1 ounce; 5-35 mg.
What does it mean when coffee is labeled "decaffeinated"? No coffee is ever really caffeine-free. In decaffeinated coffee, most of the caffeine is removed, but trace amounts of caffeine remain. Caffeine is not added during the processing; coffee beans by nature have caffeine and the decaffeinating process does not completely strip it all away. So how much caffeine is in decaffeinated coffee?
To be called "decaffeinated," green coffee must contain than 0.1 percent caffeine. This is equivalent to about 3 mg per cup of coffee. How does the caffeine level of decaffeinated coffee compare with other beverages? Drip coffee has an average 115 mg per 5-ounce cup. Percolated coffee has an average 80 mg per 5-ounce cup. The recommended daily caffeine intake is less than 300 mg. This is equivalent to 3-4 cups of roasted ground coffee, 5 cups of instant coffee, 5 cups of tea, 6 servings of some colas or 10 tablets of some painkillers.
Caffeine intake is broken down into low, moderate and high caffeine use:
Low: less than 200 mg per day
Moderate: 200-400 mg per day
High: More than 400 mg per day
The process through which you get tiny demitasse cups full sweet, aromatic espresso with a golden layer of foam, or crema, on top have long been the domain of master coffee makers or baristas, but espresso beverages made from espresso have become mainstream.
Walk into a coffee shop, or even a donut shop, and you might find a menu of espresso coffee drinks.
So, what is espresso?
Roasters of espresso strive to maximize the sweetness and aroma of the coffee while minimizing the bitterness and acidity but espresso is defined by grind- it should be fine - and brewing method.
Brewing espresso requires tamping espresso, and placing it in a special compact cup, then forcing hot water through the tightly-packed grounds, bringing out in full force the characteristics of the coffee.
Next comes timing and it has to be just right to cut off the flow of coffee so that your espresso is not bitter.
If your old espresso memories remind you of your mother looking at you with that little cup and saying that you are likely never to sleep again, fear not. You can find espresso as decaffeinated coffee, so you can enjoy the taste and test your barista skills without being concerned about how much caffeine you are getting.
The three main processes for removing caffeine are to use carbon dioxide, water or chemical solvents, such as ethyl acetate and methylene chloride. Treating beans with chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents is popular, according to Encarta, Microsoft's online encyclopedia.
The Swiss Water Process uses only water.
Sparkling water process uses carbon dioxide. The green beans are soaked in highly compressed carbon dioxide, which extracts the caffeine. The caffeine it then washed from the carbon dioxide with water in a secondary tank and is then recycled to extract more caffeine from the coffee. The solvent consists of approximately 99.7 percent compressed carbon dioxide and 0.3 percent water.
Nobody seems to agree on which method best maintains the flavor of the coffee beans, and different processes can have varying effects on different beans, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The process does affect the flavor and the decaffeinator works to ensure that stripping the caffeine does not strip the flavor.
After removal of the solvents, the process is similar to regular coffee - beans are roasted by ordinary procedures.
The coffee pot on your office machine might say decaf coffee, but what if the person making it happened to grab the only coffee pot that was clean and made a pot of coffee with the caffeine?
You don't have to worry about that with single-serve coffee makers. Each packet is labeled individually, so you will know exactly what is going into your cup. Just because you drink decaf does not mean that you don't love flavored coffee and there are many flavors that now come in decaf, including caramel vanilla, seasonal flavors, including eggnog, and even espresso.
Decaffeinated coffee is also available in Fair Trade and organic.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|