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Is Decaf Coffee a Better Choice than Regular Coffee?

With the wide array of choices of caffeine-based drinks and also the plethora of health articles out there on the subject, one may wonder: Is it time to make a change and reduce your caffeine in-take?

If you do decide to cut down on your caffeine you may start looking at the amount of coffee you’re drinking. Fortunately, there is a solution to this, and it is decaf coffee.

How is Decaf Coffee Different?

is decaf coffee healthierDecaf or decaffeinated coffee, has any where from 3-10% of the caffeine in most regular coffee. That’s why it’s technically called DE-caf, not UN-caf. Although actual caffeine content varies based on the beans and how they are processed, there isn’t much caffeine in a cup of decaf.

To put it in perspective, a 12oz can of coke has 30mg of caffeine and 8oz cup of coffee averages around 95 mg.

Useless History Lesson on Decaf Coffee to Impress your Friends With

First discovered in the early 20th century, decaf was accidentally made when Ludwig Roselius was shipping decaf across the sea in 1903 and the beans got soaked in sea water (wiki source).

He discovered the coffee tasted similar, but it didn’t have the kick that regular coffee has. So, he did what any entrepreneur would do and patented decaf coffee in 1906.

To put it in perspective, a 12oz can of coke has 30mg of caffeine and 8oz cup of coffee averages around 95 mg.

How is Decaf Coffee Made?

chemical free decafThe decaffeination process has come a long way since then Ludwig Roselius started decaffinating coffee at scale. Chemicals were used to dissolve the caffeine and the water was thrown out. 

Unfortunately, caffeine gives coffee its acidic and bitter taste that we know and love. Therefore, not only did the coffee taste different, but the chemicals used were not safe.

Several other methods to make decaf were created with slight variations to the original method. The chemicals used allow the decaf to retain the original flavor much more, and without the chemical or inefficiency.

Keep in mind, both regular coffee and decaf both start from the same coffee bean. It’s the process after that that creates decaf coffee.

If your interested more in the scientific ways that decaf coffee is created you can check out a more detailed article on the topic at Today I Learned.

Keep in mind, both regular coffee and decaf both start from the same coffee bean. It’s the process after that that creates decaf coffee.

Benefits of Decaf

  • Less caffeine intake
  • Don’t need to completely sacrifice the flavor of coffee
  • Still contains antioxidants, although not as much
  • You continue to get the small amount of nutrients like magnesium, potassium and niacin. Which is a negligible amount, but if you have a coffee habit then it starts to add up

Drawbacks of Decaf

  • Doesn’t taste quite the same as regular coffee
  • Consuming mass quantities of chemicals such as methylene chloride & ethyl acetate, which are used to remove caffeine, increases your chance of getting cancer. However, there are only trace amounts of these chemicals, so the FDA deems them acceptable.

Is decaf better for you?

Like any other drug, caffeine has a number of not-so-desirable side effects. These include heartburn, acid reflux, anxiety, high blood pressure or even counteracting some other medications.

However, if you’d like to avoid such consequences, that’s where decaf coffee comes in, with its nearly negligible caffeine content, helping to remedy such conditions.

The Verdict

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of decaffeinated coffee it’s up to you if you think it’s more beneficial to drink decaf coffee yourself. Here are 2 reasons why you should heavily consider switching:

  • If the caffeine in coffee has a negative impact on your life/health, but you still crave the taste of coffee than decaf coffee offers a good solution. 
  • If you’re trying to ween off coffee this is a great way to start instead of going cold turkey.
  • Perhaps you want coffee, but it’s late, so you prefer to forgo the caffeine in order to get rest later.

Like all things in life, it’s best to limit your intake. Regardless of caffeine, it is recommended to limit yourself to 2-3 cups a day.

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