Would you be surprised to discover that decaf coffee is in fact not 100% caffeine free? I know I was when I first found out a few years back at a conference.
Unfortunately, if you were under the impression that drinking decaf means you’re not ingesting any caffeine, then please be aware that this is incorrect.
Decaffeination has to be undertaken on the green beans before they are roasted and although this process removes most of the caffeine from the coffee beans, this is rarely a 100% removal. To date, none of the decaf products sold in this country are 100% caffeine free.
Most coffee that is sold worldwide as decaf or “free from” will more than likely contain a percentage of around 2-3% caffeine (different types of beans may end up containing a higher percentage after the process).
If you are generally happy that you’ve reduced your caffeine intake quite significantly by selecting the decaf option and accept that there will be some residual caffeine, then all is well.
However, do be careful if you’ve been asked to attend a medical test: it appears that some people have been caught out when drinking what they believed to have been decaffeinated cups of coffee when attending appointments and tests that had specifically requested that no caffeine should be consumed beforehand. Sadly, these patients have been forced to reschedule, with the inevitable delay in their diagnosis and treatment.
Another point to consider is that the decaffeination process has, until recently, involved using chemicals such as methyl chloride (a known carcinogen, albeit, we are assured, in quantities lower than those recognised as toxic by recognised health authorities such as the FDA).
However, as manufacturing companies are increasingly taking consumers’ preferences into account, a process of decaffeination that uses only water has been developed. If you see decaf products in the supermarkets that have been manufactured using this method, then they are more than likely going to be labelled as “organic”.
I understand that one of the main high street chains is now also using these coffee beans.