Without coffee, coffee really has no caffeine

Decaffeinated coffee: useful or unhealthy?

Not all people can tolerate caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee seems to be a welcome alternative. But is decaffeinated coffee really harmless or even unhealthy in the end?

Decaffeinated coffee is a welcome alternative for those people who do not want to forego the taste and aroma of coffee, but cannot tolerate the caffeine it contains. How healthy the hot beverage is is ultimately decided by the method with which the coffee is treated.

Does decaffeinated coffee contain caffeine?

In order to qualify as decaffeinated coffee in the EU, it may contain a maximum of 0.1 percent caffeine. For example, pregnant women do not have to do without the popular hot drink.

Is Decaf Coffee Unhealthy?

Coffee that does not wake you up can contain unhealthy ingredients. In most cases, decaffeinated coffee from the supermarket is treated with the solvents benzene or dichloromethane - and these are at least suspected of being carcinogenic.

How decaffeinated coffee is made

In the current process, the coffee beans are first treated with steam and then soaked in the solvent. This flushes out the caffeine, and then the beans are dried and roasted like normal coffee beans.

How dangerous is dichloromethane?

The health hazard, however, remains a theoretical one. This is because strict limit values ​​must be adhered to during the decaffeination process. For example, a kilo of coffee may contain a maximum of two milligrams of the controversial dichloromethane. A limit value that, according to experts, is usually well below that. Nevertheless, a certain health risk cannot be completely ruled out.

Coffee without caffeine using healthy methods

Even if it has not yet been clarified whether the solvent dichloromethane is actually unhealthy or even carcinogenic, there is also a decaffeination process that is guaranteed to be harmless - and is therefore mainly used for organic coffees. The coffee beans are not rinsed with a solvent, but with so-called supercritical CO2, which has the properties of gas and liquids at the same time. However, the process is more complex, which is reflected in the price. On the other hand, more flavorings are also retained - good for the taste. In some cases, the caffeine is removed from the beans using the natural solvent ethyl acetate.

This "healthier" coffee without caffeine is also available as capsules or pods. Not from every manufacturer, however.