Is Decaf Coffee For You?

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If you, like me, are sensitive to the caffeine, you may feel the same as me. Every time when I drink more coffee, I will feel anxious and it is also irritating my digestive system. But to give up drinking coffee, as a coffee lover, it is very hard for me to do so.

That’s All About Gene

Before I turn to decaffeinated coffee, I think I just can’t drink more and need to drink the coffee in the morning to make me feel better. But after some gene tests, I found that the problem is not that simple. People with some certain genes can’t tolerate caffeine. The metabolizer process will take longer than most of the people.

These genes are studied in numerous researches. You can test it from 23andme.

Say if you have those genes, the half-life of caffeine metabolizer process in your body will take longer than 8 hours. For some people, it may take 16 hours. That means you can’t drink coffee in the afternoon and night. If you are lucky enough to have better genes, it will also take you 8 hours. So you still can’t drink coffee at night.

Besides those genes, there are also some genes for coffee sensitivity. It means that if you drink more coffee, you will feel your heart beating faster and feel anxiety.

Again, if you, like me, need to drink less coffee just because of genes? The answer is no if we can leave the caffeine alone.

Figure Out How Sensitivity You Are

You need to figure out how sensitivity you are to caffeine.

Without Test, Just Drink and Feel

In this paper, Dr. J.W. Langer simply divides people into three groups:

  • High sensitivity to caffeine. If you are in this group, even small amounts of caffeine will cause a stimulating effect for you. Higher doses will make you hard to sleep.
  • Regular sensitivity to caffeine. If you can drink up to 2-5 cups a day without any sleep problem and adverse reactions, but not with higher doses, then you are in this group.
  • Low sensitivity to caffeine. If you can drink more than 5 cups a day without any problem, then, wow, you are so lucky. You can drink as much as you can.

By using such a test, you don’t need to make a gene test to know which group you are in. However, getting a gene test will be better.

Using MI Band to Test

Another way to figure out how sensitivity you are is to use an MI band device. MI band could test how long your REM is. A longer REM means better sleep quality.

So how to test with the MI band? It is very simple. Drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon, then go to sleep while at night. Read the data on your phone the next day. Repeat several times. You will have an average length of REM.

Then drink no coffee in a day and go to sleep with the MI band. repeat several times. You will get another average length of REM.

If your REM is greatly affected by coffee in this experiment, you may need to consider drink less coffee. Or, just drink decaf coffee.

What’s the Difference Between Decaf Coffee and Regular Coffee?

Caffeine

Obviously, the major difference is caffeine. According to the United States standard, at least 97% of the caffeine from the coffee beans needs to be removed.

You may wonder why it is not 100% removed. Well, that’s the limitation of the extraction. I would talk about those methods of extraction later.

Taste

Due to the extraction method is used, the aroma is quite different from decaffeinated coffee from coffee.

Softer taste. Light aroma. Some brands may make you feel that it is not coffee at all.

From my experience, even the lightest roast coffee will have a stronger taste than decaf coffee. But it is better than nothing if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Nutrition and etc.

Well, that will be almost the same and no need to worry about this. Most ways of extraction will not harm those nutrients. However, the way of chemical changes will alter the way they taste.

Methods for Caffeine Extraction

There are 4 kinds of processes to decaffeination. These methods are performed before roasting and use organic solvents. Those solvents are CO2, water, methylene dichloride and etc. You don’t need to worry that if they harm your health by adding detrimental chemicals.

These methods are Organic solvent processes, Supercritical CO2 process, Swiss Water process, and Triglyceride process.

Organic Solvent Processes

The organic solvent processes are divided into two categories. One is the direct method and the other is the indirect method. The reason why it is called direct is that it used the solvent to extract the caffeine after the green beans are steamed. While the indirect one is to soak the coffee beans into the water and use the solvent to extract the caffeine in the water after the coffee beans are removed from the water.

Both of these two methods will be repeated several times until 97% of the caffeine is removed. Almost no other constituents are removed.

Supercritical CO2 Process

In this process, the CO2 will turn into the liquid with water to circulate through the coffee beans at 300 atm and 65 Centi degrees. Caffeine is known to be able to dissolve into the CO2. Other compounds are not soluble in the CO2 and will be remained in the bean.

Swiss Water Process

This process uses the Green Coffee Extract(GCE) to extract caffeine. It uses the pressure to migrate the caffeine from the green beans to the GCE via soluble components of GCE. It will leave all other unsolvable in the beans.

Triglyceride Process

The triglyceride process will take the green coffee into the hot water and soaked for a while to draw the caffeine to the surface of the beans. Then the beans will be immersed in coffee oils in another container and soaked. Those oils are from spent coffee grounds. The caffeine will be removed by the triglyceride in the oils. At last, the beans are separated from the oils and dried.

You don’t need to know all these processes to choose decaffeinated coffee. What you need to know is that only the caffeine is removed. And not 100% of the caffeine, but at least 97%.

Do You Need Decaf Coffee?

If you are sensitive to caffeine, or you want to drink a cup of coffee at night without sleeping disorder, then decaf coffee is what you need. The flavor and taste of decaf coffee won’t change. The same also applies to its nutrition. I mean, if you drink decaf coffee, the health part of the coffee will still stay the same for you. It is a win-win solution for you.

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