Coffee & Tea
Decaf Deconstructed: Different Kinds of Decaffeination
There are five ways to decaffeinate, which one works for you?
There is a problem with tea and coffee packaging. It is stricken with an unsightly rash of trademarks and logos erupting from every available surface like zits on a pizza-faced teenager. The blemishes speak of a virtuous product; Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, sustainable, green. Separate info boxes impart details such as strength, bean, roast, blend, grind, carbon footprint and, possibly, USB compatibility. It has made shopping for hot drinks as complex and nuanced as a conference on geopolitical ethics.
We call these little reassuring information panels LoV — Logos of Virtue. They make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This is one detail you should pay attention to, because how your tea or coffee is decaffeinated is arguably more important
There’s still room on the label — just — so why not add one more detail, the method of decaffeination? This is one detail you should pay attention to, because how your tea or coffee is decaffeinated is arguably more important than many of the other LoVs. For example, with the amount of decaf the world is consuming, how that caffeine is removed has measurable consequences for the environment. Differences in decaffeination can also affect taste and aroma. And the big one; effectiveness of decaffeination varies with each process and if you are buying decaf, it makes sense that you will want it to be as caffeine-free as possible.
The truth is that decaffeinated tea and coffee comes in a bewildering variety of forms but not all are created equal. With a decaf tea or coffee, a lot hinges on the method of its decaffeination. Which one should you choose and why does it matter?