There are a number of reasons for switching to decaffeinated coffee, particularly if you find it difficult to relax at night after drinking your favourite caffeinated drinks. While caffeine increases levels of certain neurotransmitters (including acetylcholine, which is associated with attention and concentration), there are some notable negative effects, such as when alertness turns into restlessness and insomnia. So, while many enjoy the energising effects of coffee, these effects can quickly become a burden, particularly for those suffering from poor sleep routines due to their daily caffeine intake. With decaffeinated coffees, coffee-lovers can enjoy their favourite brews without the negative effects of caffeine.
There are two popular methods for making decaffeinated coffees: direct decaffeination using steam and chemical treatment, and the Swiss Water method. With the direct method, coffee beans are first steamed for a period of time, usually around half an hour, before being repeatedly rinsed with either dichloromethane or ethyl acetate; a chemical derived from various fruits and vegetables. This method, while popular, does run the risk of removing some of the desired oils and flavours from the beans. For this reason, the Swiss Water method is becoming increasingly popular. The Swiss Water method involves the use of water that has been saturated with those desirable oils and flavours, creating what is known as green coffee extract (GCE). The GCE is then used to rinse the beans several times in a process that removes 99.9% of the caffeine, while retaining the beans' natural flavours.
A new interest in the world of decaffeinated coffees is that of 'uncaffeinated coffee'; a coffee created from a naturally caffeine-free bean that requires no decaffeinating treatments. Known as decaffito, this naturally caffeine-free coffee is sourced from coffea charrieriana, a species of flowering plant found in Cameroon. As this is the only known caffeine-free coffee plant from Central Africa, progress on an 'uncaffeinated coffee' is still in the early stages, but as developments continue we may someday be able to enjoy a naturally caffeine-free coffee.
It's important to remember that there are no reasons to entirely avoid caffeinated coffees; in fact, numerous studies continue to attest to the positive effects of caffeine consumption, including an increase in alertness and a decrease in fatigue, but also an increase in metabolic rates and the reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Therefore, the best way to treat your caffeine consumption is with moderation - enjoy your favourite caffeinated coffees and the benefits of caffeine intake, but be open to decaffeinated alternatives that you can enjoy throughout the day and into the evening. These alternatives shouldn't be looked upon as an inferior coffee; methods such as the Swiss Water method have proved that complex, rich flavours need not be sacrificed during the decaffeination process, and there is a growing and increasingly diverse choice of decaffeinated coffees available on the market.
Our own decaffeinated range includes a Swiss Water coffee and a delicious Colombian coffee, both of which are available as Subscribe & Save products, so you can regularly enjoy strong flavours, rich flavours of decaffeinated coffee, and get up to 15% off when you subscribe to periodic deliveries.