Did you know that there is caffeine even in decaf coffee? That is because, with the way caffeine is extracted from coffee beans to make decaf, it is totally impossible to take all the caffeine out of the beans.
This should be a wake-up call for you if you are in the habit of chugging five or more cups of decaffeinated coffee in the belief that you are safe from harmful caffeine effects. If you do not regulate your coffee consumption, even if it is decaf, you are still certain to suffer from caffeine effects before long. It would be a problem if you are taking decaf because of some health issues or some inherent sensitivity to caffeine.
But this is not to say that you cannot have your decaf fix anymore. It is just a matter of knowing how much caffeine there is in your decaf coffee, being aware of possible caffeine effects to your body and cutting down on your caffeine intake.
As mentioned above, it is highly impossible to extract caffeine totally out of the coffee beans in the decaffeination process. What decaf coffee manufacturers typically do is to soak the green beans in water to wash out the caffeine. Unfortunately, this process also causes the coffee beans to lose their flavor too.
To solve this problem, manufacturers use a solvent to get rid of the caffeine in the water where the beans were soaked. Then they soak the beans there again so the beans can reabsorb the flavor they lost. Thus, there is no guarantee the caffeine is totally out of the picture.
To be sure, however, federal regulations in the United States require manufacturers to label their coffee products as decaffeinated only if 97.5% of the caffeine has been taken out of the coffee beans. Thus, if your decaf coffee brand’s label has “97.5% Caffeine Removed” or “99+% Caffeine Free,” you are somewhat safe from caffeine in decaf coffee as long as you regulate your drinking.
What About Decaf Coffee in Coffee Shops?
Ideally, there should only be about two to four milligrams of caffeine in a cup of decaf coffee. But you can only be sure about that if the coffee is something you have brewed for yourself. What about the decaf coffee that you buy from your favorite coffee shops?
Understandably, you cannot just ask the barista how much caffeine there is in the coffee he or she brewed. It can be totally awkward for you to do that. So, how can you be sure about the levels of caffeine in the decaf coffee that you bought?
The answer is to buy a caffeine tester and bring it with you whenever you have to go out for coffee. A few drops of the coffee on a strip of the caffeine tester will tell you if there are high levels of caffeine in your decaf coffee within two minutes. It is that easy to tell, the kit is not expensive, and you can be safe whenever you go out for coffee.