Skip to content

shopping cart

Your shopping basket is empty

How is decaffeinated coffee made?

Written by: Svenja Schindler



Time to read 3 min

Decaffeinated coffee – when and where was it actually invented and how is decaffeinated coffee made?

What is caffeine?

In order to be able to answer the questions, we first want to clarify what caffeine actually is and why it can make sense to drink decaffeinated coffee. Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound that is also found in the coffee plants. This is where the name caffeine comes from, as the chemical properties and mode of action of caffeine were first studied in detail using the coffee plant as an example.

Caffeine works by stimulating the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This increases blood pressure and heart rate. It takes 15 to 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream and take effect. Therefore, decaffeinated coffee can be particularly useful for people who have high blood pressure.

When and where were the first coffee beans decaffeinated?

Decaffeinated coffee was first produced in 1903. The Bremen coffee dealer and founder of the company Kaffee Hag Ludwig Roselius developed the process named after him. The reason for this is very personal: his father died unexpectedly at the age of 59. Ludwig Roselius began researching the health effects of caffeine after doctors suspected excessive coffee consumption as the cause of death.

Roselius first soaked the whole bean in brine to allow it to expand. To pull out the caffeine, he added benzene to the beans. The Roselius method is no longer used today because the method involved working with carcinogens.

Processes that decaffeinate coffee beans

Decaffeinated coffee is an alternative for people who cannot tolerate coffee ingredients. So no one has to give up the pleasure of coffee. But which methods can be used for this and how do they work?

Swiss water method

After the water has extracted the ingredients from the beans, the caffeine is filtered out of the water with the help of activated carbon. The caffeine is then removed from the new beans with added water. The unroasted coffee beans are soaked in hot water until all of the water-soluble components of the beans, such as caffeine, are in the water. After the water has extracted the ingredients from the beans, the caffeine is filtered out of the water with the help of activated carbon. The caffeine is then removed from the new beans with added water. After many repetitions, almost decaffeinated coffee is produced.

Carbon dioxide process

Carbon dioxide is a natural component of the air. The beans are first softened with hot water, then pressurized and flushed with liquid or gaseous carbon dioxide. This is how caffeine is isolated from the bean. No chemicals are used in this process.

indirect procedure

The indirect process of decaffeinating coffee beans is similar to the Roselius process. Here, too, the coffee beans are first soaked in water to extract all the soluble components of the coffee beans. The caffeine is now removed from the resulting water-coffee mixture. However, this is no longer done with benzene as in the process of Ludwig Roselius, but with dichloromethane or ethyl acetate.

Finally, the caffeine-free water mixture is boiled with newly added beans. Only the caffeine is removed from the new beans, but not the components that are important for the coffee aroma.

Direct procedure

In direct decaffeination, coffee beans are first exposed to steam and then soaked in a solvent for several hours. In a further step, the beans are separated from the solvent and dried for several hours to remove any residue.

This might still interest you

How harmful is decaffeinated coffee?

According to a study, decaffeinated coffee should not have any negative effects on health. Decaffeinated coffee is even better tolerated. Too much caffeine or caffeine intolerance can have a negative effect. The consequences can be tremors, tachycardia, sweating and stomach problems.

The method is also very important. If a decaffeinated coffee bears the organic seal, you can be sure that no chemical solvents were used for the method. You can also enjoy our Decaf coffee without hesitation.

Many of the benefits of coffee remain in decaffeinated coffee. Coffee beans contain around 1000 antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage and thus contribute to a lower risk of disease.

Can decaffeinated coffee be drunk during pregnancy?

Decaffeinated coffee can definitely be drunk without hesitation and without any danger during pregnancy. Within the EU, according to the regulation, only 0.1% caffeine may be contained in decaffeinated coffee. 200 mg caffeine is safe to consume during pregnancy. A cup of decaffeinated coffee contains around 2-5 mg of caffeine. In fact, you could drink around 40 cups of decaffeinated coffee while pregnant.

Does a naturally decaffeinated coffee bean exist?

The procedures described require a great deal of effort and money to be invested in removing the caffeine. In addition, the caffeine is necessary for the plant to keep pests away with its bitter taste. But is there a coffee plant that already contains decaffeinated beans?

In fact, scientists in Ethiopia discovered a decaffeinated coffee plant. Since the discovery, various investigations have been carried out. However, the results are not yet promising because the plant does not flower at the same time, which leads to irregular pollination.