Is decaf good or bad for me?

Is decaf good or bad for me? Do they use chemicals to make it decaffeinated? These are some of the most common questions we get asked in addition to "is coffee healthy for kids". This is especially common with people being more aware of their health. In addition to the media coverage with the health risk around chemical consumption that could remain as residuals in the beans. Next will highlight why Sally Sue's only uses Swiss water process and Mountain water processed and what that means. 

So first lets dig into what is decaffeinated coffee and how does the process work?
First decaffeinated coffee is simply coffee where the caffeine has been removed. Keep in mind not all caffeine is removed during this process. Typically a cup of decaf will contain 7-10 milligrams of caffeine.

All of the decaffeinated processes take place when the coffee is green in addition to all of the processes have some form of water. The difference lies in what else is used and how it used to remove the caffeine. 

Fun history fact which is why decaf got such a bad name in the first place is the first known decaffeinated process was the  The “Roslius Process” involved steaming coffee beans with a brine solution (i.e., water, saturated with salt) and then using the organic chemical compound benzene as a solvent to extract the caffeine. This process, however, is no longer used due to the fact that benzene is known to be a human carcinogen.

The other ways are using methyl chloride, ethyl acetate which use chemical solvents as a process to remove the caffeine from the beans. 

How Swiss water process works is 

This chemical-free water decaffeination process was pioneered in Switzerland in 1933 and developed as a commercially viable method of decaffeinate by Coffex S.A. in 1980. In 1988 the Swiss water process was finally introduced to the market and its facility is based near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Swiss Water Company’s decaffeination facility is the only facility in the world certified organic by both OCIA and Aurora Certified Organic. In addition, they are also certified Kosher by the Kosher Overseers Association

It begins by soaking a batch of beans in very hot water in order to dissolve the caffeine. The water is then drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter. The porosity of this filter is sized to only capture larger caffeine molecules, while allowing smaller oil and flavor molecules to pass through it.

Consequently we end up with beans with no caffeine and no flavor in one tank, and caffeine-free “flavor charged” water (aka “Green Coffee Extract”) in another tank. Then the decaffeinated beans are then charged with the flavor filled beans that allows the flavors to reenter into the beans without the caffeine.