Did you know that coffee is the third most consumed beverage in the world? Unsurprisingly, more than seventy countries produce coffee annually.
Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Ethiopia are the top producers of the best decaf coffee. In the last 150 years, Brazil held the position as the world’s largest producer and exporter of the whole bean coffee.
However, the coffee plant is not native to Brazil.
According to legend, Francisco de Melo Palheta smuggled the seeds into the country in 1727.
In 2017, Brazil produced 2,595,000 tons of one of the best coffee beans, according to the International Coffee Organization.
In 1903, a German merchant, Ludwig Roselius, accidentally created the first and original decaf coffee. This happened when one of his shipments of green coffee beans got soaked in sea water. Roselius discovered that the whole bean kept it’s flavor but lost much of the caffeine.
Finding the Best Decaf Coffee – The Amazing Journey from Tree to Cup
Seeds for new plants are selected from trees known for longevity and good productivity.
The seedlings are planted in containers in the nursery. They are then gradually exposed to hardened conditions. Once the saplings are in the plantation, it takes about four to five years to reach maturity.
Harvesting the ripe fruit from the trees is labor intensive. A picker can, on average, harvest around two-hundred pounds of cherries per day.
In Brazil, the pickers use an interesting method called Café de Panno. The pickers spread cotton sheets under the trees to keep the ripe cherries from touching the ground.
The two main processes to remove the husk and pulp from the beans include the dry (or natural) method and the wet (or washed) method.
Natural method: After processing, the fruits are laid out on large brick surfaces or cane matting. Using a rake, the fruits are turned several times a day. It usually takes two to three weeks for the cherries to dry.
Wet method: Cherries are poured in large tanks of water. Once the husk and pulp softened, it goes through a pulping machine where the pulp is washed away, leaving just the silver skin on the bean. They remain in water for between twelve to twenty-four hours allowing the fermentation process to dissolve the skin.
The whole bean is dried in large machines. They are separated into different grades by being run through screens and sieves. Once the beans have been sorted for the world market, they’re stored in jute or sisal bags.
America imports more than one-third of the worlds coffee.
Coffee beans tha are imported from Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil usually arrive in the USA from October to February. The Colombian beans usually arrive around March.
New crop coffees from Africa appear from October to March onwards and from the Far East are available from around October to February.
Main Types of Coffee Beans
Coffee beans vary in shape, size, flavor, and color. Arabica production accounts for more than sixty percent of the world’s coffee production.
The beans are light-bodied, highly aromatic and acidulous. They are mainly imported from Brazil, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa, and India.
Robusta is typically a strong, full-bodied, chocolaty, or woody flavor with much higher caffeine content and less oil than the Arabica. Robusta type is grown mostly in Asia, India and some parts of Northern Africa.
According to Chapter 1 and Subchapter B, Section 173.255 of the Food and Drug Administration’s Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 revised April 2017, caffeine extraction from green beans should not exceed ten parts per million in decaffeinated instant coffee and roasted coffee.
Caffeine content is not the same in all beans. Robusta has a much higher caffeine content than Arabica.
Coffee may be decaffeinated using either chemical processes or water processed.
The chemicals process is done by using ethyl acetate or methylene chloride.
Ethyl acetate is a chemical compound from organic acid and is naturally found in apples, bananas, and coffee.
The direct coffee decaf chemical method uses steam to open the pores of the beans before the methylene or ethyl acetate circulates through it.
Swiss Water Method and Mountain Water Process are the same.
The process uses a mixture of coffee extract and water. This mixture is circulated around and over the beans.
Carbon dioxide is added to extract the caffeine.
After the caffeine extraction in the water takes place, the beans pass through a bed of charcoal which absorbs about ninety-five percent of the amount of caffeine.
All decaffeinating methods involve a decaffeinating agent or chemicals such as ethyl acetate, carbon dioxide, activated charcoal, or methylene chloride.
However, Swiss Water Processed was one of the original available processes and one of the healthiest.
Decaf Coffee Roasters
Green beans are soft and moist. In the roasting process, the moisture evaporates and turns the beans into dark, fragrant coffee.
This coffee roasting transforms the physical and chemical properties of the green beans. It also brings out the flavor and aroma of the beans.
Decaffeinated beans are more difficult to roast, as they have less moisture content. They are also brown in color, and tend to roast mush faster than green beans.
Roasts are divided into 4 categories:
- Light Roasts: Light roasts offer smooth and milder coffees with less oil. Also known as Cinnamon, Light City or Half City.
- Medium Roasts: In the USA, medium roasts are the preferred brew. Also called as American, Breakfast, or City. It has a strong flavor and it brown in color.
- Medium Dark Roasts: Called a Full City. It has some oil, with a bittersweet aftertaste and is dark in color.
- Dark Roasts: Well-known for their bitterness and oily surface. Has many other names: French, Italian, Viennese, Espresso, European, New Orleans, Continental, and High.
Advantages of Decaffeinated Coffee
Possible health problems caused by excessive caffeine consumption include: decreased bone density, high levels of gastric acidity, and hypertension.
You might want to check to see how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, as the amount may surprise you.
Cutting back can help you relax and feel less stressed. Research suggests that components such as the good chlorogenic acid and lignans can lessen oxidative stress. The high level of magnesium found in decaffeinated coffee is what improves brain and cardiovascular function.
The consumption of decaf possess a significantly lower risk of diabetes, according the American Diabetes Association.
Chlorogenic acid can reduce the production of glucose in the liver. It can also lessen the hyperglycemic peak in the blood.
Since caffeine can increase blood pressure, it poses a risk to those with cardiovascular disease.
Caffeine also affects the adenosine in the nervous system. This chemical helps the body with sleeping cycles.
Caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors and keeps the brain alert. Caffeine consumption can disrupt circadian rhythms. Decaffeinated coffees do not pose these risks.
Best Decaf Coffees to Choose From
Decaffeinated coffees represents its country of origin, roast profile, decaffeinating process, and unique flavor. Now here are a list of several choices of the top brands of the best decaf coffee:
- Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Colombia Supremo: Freshness is a high priority. Thus, the company chooses to roast on order only. This colombian decaf is a medium-dark roast with notes of cocoa and caramel, a hint of citrus, and low acidity. This coffee is roasted by experienced roasters in the US.
- No Fun Jo Decaf: Their beans are complex with notes of milk chocolate and blueberry. This is a well-sourced high quality coffee.
- Fresh Roasted Coffee Sumatra Decaf: A very robust coffee roasted by the Loring roaster technology. It is Bird Friendly, Fair Trade, USDA Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified. A full-bodied coffee with an earthy taste and hints of chocolate.
- Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Decaf: An incredible quality gourmet coffee which comes well-balanced and full-bodied with notes of chocolate.
- Kicking Horse Coffee: is Fair Trade Certified, Kosher and USDA Organic. Kicking Horse is a delicious cup of joe with a deep, dark, and mellow finish, roasted in Canada.
- Koffee Kult Colombian Gourmet Decaf: A great family-owned roaster company in Florida. They have been roasting quality whole beans from more than fifty countries. Their colombian gourmet coffee blend has a heavy body with tastes of chocolate, cinnamon, and raisin.
- Koa Decaf Kona: Kona offers a delicious medium roasted decaffeinated coffee taste. Kona won Forbes’ “Best Decaf in America.”
- Eight o’clock Decaf: eight o’clock is affordable and is one of the best medium roasts made with 100% Arabica beans.
Here is a list of some of the best name brands of coffee:
Stone Street coffee, lonestar decaf coffee, wild coffee, Pablo decaf, Street coffee, jo coffee and Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu.
The best decaf coffee goes through various processes before it reaches the consumer.
The best decaffeinated coffee has magnesium, manganese, B vitamins, potassium and other nutrients. These can improve brain as well as cardiovascular functions.
The low caffeine from coffee will not leave you wide awake at night too. With so many decaf blend choices available you should do your own decaf coffee taste test to find your perfect match.
Check price and brands as they vary greatly. Those who prefer ground coffee can find many fair trade certified organic decaf and free trade certified coffee brands in the marketplace.
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