There is an amusing credo circulating the internet the goes something like “There is a time and a place for decaf, never and in the trash.” (I’ve seen iterations using synonyms for trash or that simply stop the saying after a resounding NEVER.)
While this brash outlook on decaffeinated coffee makes me pause and smile, it is also a good example of the widespread prejudice held against decaf.
When people think of decaf, they think of poor quality and compromising.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding decaffeinated coffee, which may explain some of the prejudices against it.
The decaffeinated process is always done when coffee is in it’s raw, green form. I am by no means a scientist and there are intricacies at play here that I don’t truly understand. Looking at the various processes, I wonder why decaf coffee can taste like anything at all.
There are two mainstream decaffeination methods that are used today:
Decaffeination with the use of solvents– This is the traditional method of decaffeinating coffee. It is the “easiest” to do. The process involves soaking the beans in a water and solvent mixture. The solvent binds to the caffeine and removes it from the beans. The solvent with the caffeine are removed and the fats and oils are reabsorbed by the beans.