There is nothing like the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It invigorates your mine, and awakens your soul. With your cup of coffee by your side, there is nothing that the world can throw at you that you can’t handle. The natural caffeine present in coffee stimulates your CNS (central nervous system) and wakes up your brain.
But what if you want to drink your coffee at night or you don’t like caffeine and are extremely sensitive to its effects? Well, fortunately for you, you have options. There is a way that you can still get that coffee experience but without the effects of caffeine. Yep, now you can have your cake and eat it too.
How is Coffee Made?
We know that there are currently around 25 different types of coffee trees. The coffee tree is a member of the evergreen family with jasmine-like flowers and waxy, pointed leaves. The trees can grow more than 30 feet tall. After it’s planted, a coffee tree will not produce beans until it blooms. It usually takes about five years for a coffee tree to bloom. After the white petals of the tree fall off, a red cherry will form. Each cherry has two green coffee beans inside. And because the seeds don’t ripen uniformly, harvesting the beans takes time.
Coffee is made from the seeds, or beans, of the coffee tree. Each bean has over 100 chemicals, such as proteins, oils, and even bitter phenols. The beans are then dried, cleaned, and roasted. After the beans are grounded, hot water is poured over them. The result is a great smelling, rich tasting cup of hot coffee.
How is Decaf Coffee Made?
Now we know how coffee is made. But how is decaf coffee made? After the beans are cleaned and washed, they are either treated using a solvent or water to remove the caffeine. When a solvent is used (usually methylene chloride), the caffeine is leached out. This process can also remove the natural taste of the coffee bean. Flavor is usually infused back into the coffee beans after the solvent is cleaned from the beans.
The other most common method used to make decaf coffee involves steaming the beans to bring the caffeine to the surface. The caffeine that accumulates on the surface is then scraped off and removed. Because steaming only removes the caffeine and not other fats and phenols that help create its natural taste, flavor usually doesn’t have to be infused back into the bean.
Health Benefits of Coffee
If you haven’t been keeping up with the recent research, then you might not be aware of the numerous health benefits of coffee. Yes, we all know that drinking caffeinated coffee can help you lose weight and increase your cognitive skills. But what about the other health benefits of coffee?
Where to start. Why not with caffeic acid? You might be thinking that caffeic acid is related to caffeine. Well, you would be wrong. Caffeic acid is a dose-dependent anti-oxidant with anti-carcinogenic properties. In other words, its good for you. And then don’t forget about chlorogenic acid. This potent antioxidant can reduce the production of glucose by the liver. When the production of glucose by the liver is lessened, fluctuations in blood sugar levels are smaller. Smaller fluctuations in blood sugar levels help to prevent against the development of type 2 diabetes.
Have you ever heard of ferulic acid? Didn’t think so. This antioxidant may prevent oxidative damage from ultraviolet light exposure. So, if you ever forget your sunscreen, you now have another reason to go get a cup of coffee.
Regular Coffee vs Decaf Coffee
No matter what people say, most recent studies show that coffee is good for you. In fact, new research is continuing to discover the numerous health benefits of coffee. However, do regular coffee and decaf coffee give you the same health benefits?
Yes, both decaf and regular coffee are good for you. Caffeine has been proven to help protect the brain from oxidative and age-related damage. However, there are tons of other chemicals naturally found in coffee beans that have numerous other health benefits. And yes, when a solvent is used in the decaffeination process, some of these other chemicals can also be removed along with the caffeine. But, these chemicals are infused back into the coffee beans during the flavoring process.
So, do you go with regular or decaf coffee? It really comes down to the time of day you drink your coffee, and your tolerance to caffeine. If it’s a couple of hours before bed or you are sensitive to caffeine’s effects, then grab a cup of decaf. If it’s first thing in the morning after a short night’s rest, then regular coffee is probably the better choice. When it comes down to it, regular and decaf coffee are good for you. It just depends on what time of day you want your coffee, and how well you tolerate caffeine. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and now it looks like it’s also one of the healthiest.