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What Is Decaffeinated Coffee?

Learn what decaffeinated coffee is from the experts at Third Rail Coffee in this Howcast video.


My name is Mike Jones, and I'm a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I'm going to teach you some basic coffee-making skills.

What is decaffeinated coffee? Decaf coffee actually still has some caffeine in it. Definitely less, to a significant amount, than you know, regular caffeinated coffee, but it still is there. So if you have a severe caffeine intolerance, I just wouldn't touch it. And it's also kind of strange how it happens. There are a few different ways, either by just soaking it in water or adding some solvents but you actually remove the caffeine from the beans. More specifically you remove everything from the beans. The flavor, the different oils and caffeine. Once you have that in a water mixture, you take out the caffeine by some advanced scientific process that I can't speak to you. And then you impart that flavor back into the beans without the caffeine in it. It definitely takes out a little bit of flavor that you would want to be there. And this is all done by second party companies, not the roaster nor the farm. Lots of times a roaster will buy a lot of coffee from a farm and send some off to be decaffeinated and then shipped back to them. So you can have decaf espresso, you can have regular decaf coffee. And if you make it fresh to order, it can still be very rewarding. What's kind of exciting is in recent years there have been, at least in Brazil, farms trying to genetically alter coffee so that it can be grown with little to no caffeine. Right now it's kind of prohibitively expensive, but it will be interesting to see in the future what happens with that.

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