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All about the decaffeination process

Can't do without coffee and want to reduce your caffeine intake? Decaffeinated is the ideal solution. It is an alternative to traditional coffee that will allow you to fully enjoy the taste of coffee, without consuming too much caffeine. But do you know how to get decaffeinated coffee? What are the different decaffeination methods that exist? Discover the main techniques used to decaffeinate coffee while retaining its precious aromas.


Decaffeinated Coffee: Process History 

According to European legislation, a decaffeinated coffee is a roasted coffee in beans whose caffeine content ist equal to or less than 0,1%, or soluble coffee with a caffeine content equal to ou less than 0,3%. You will understand, the delicate process of decaffeination does not remove all the caffeine, but considerably reduces its content.

Also note that decaffeinated coffee does not necessarily rhyme with denatured coffee! The decaffeination process only acts on its caffeine content and not on its distinctive taste and aromas. Likewise, all varieties and origins of coffee retain their distinctive flavor.


The different processes

There are three main methods of decaffeination where the extraction of caffeine is carried out through:

  • a solvent
  • a supercritical fluid (carbon dioxide)
  • some water


Decaffeination with solvents

Extraction via an organic solvent involves the use of chemical elements, but have no fear, regulations exist and ensure the responsible use of these products. Indeed, the percentage of chemical solvents remaining on the coffee beans is minimal.

In the case of solvent decaffeination, the coffee beans are subjected to a steam bath so as to increase their porosity and their contact surface. Thus, the grains will begin to swell, it is at this very moment that they are immersed in a water bath, to which a chemical solvent will have been previously added. Commonly, the most widely used products are dichloromethane and ethyl acetate, they are the ones that make it possible to extract caffeine.


Carbon dioxide decaffeination

La carbon dioxide decaffeination supercritical is a more modern and technical process. Like the solvent method, the coffee beans are subjected to a steam bath to increase their volume and facilitate the penetration of carbon dioxide. It is thanks to an environment pressurized to 250 bars and to the elements that make up carbon dioxide that caffeine dissolves.

Water decaffeination without chemicals

It is also possible to obtain decaffeinated coffee using natural distillation without chemicals. Natural methods simply refer to all the processes that do not incorporate chemical solvents. Committed to a consumer approach that respects the environmentthis is naturally the method that we have chosen to follow at Kabioca.

Decaffeination with water is definitely the longest method, but also the most environmentally friendly. During this technique, the green beans are immersed in water for about ten hours. Since caffeine is naturally soluble in water, the latter will gradually take on caffeine and thus extract almost all of the grains. Subsequently, the steeping water must be passed through an activated carbon filter, which will collect the caffeine. The remaining water will be injected back into the bath and this circuit will be repeated until the desired caffeine concentration is reached.

If you would like to know more about our manufacturing processes for your natural and biodegradable coffee capsules, feel free to send us your message via our contact form. We will be happy to answer all your questions.

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