Most of us love to start the day with a cup of coffee. Perhaps you treat yourself to decaf coffee to limit your caffeine intake. But have you ever wondered what happens to the caffeine in decaffeinated coffee beans?
It turns out that the caffeine extracted from decaf coffee is recycled and reused in other caffeinated products.
While decaffeinated coffee does actually have some caffeine, the rest is extracted and sold to pharmaceutical and soft drink companies. Decaffeination plants (not the green ones, the industrial ones) exist to help carry out this process. While these establishments are not listed on soft drink labels, they do exist all over the world.
There are several methods to extract caffeine from coffee beans using chemical solvents such as ethyl acetate and carbon dioxide. Typically, these processes extract up to 97% of the caffeine from the beans.
It is also important that the caffeine is extracted before roasting the coffee beans. This detail ensures that there is no bitter, dry taste carried over with the naturally occurring caffeine in your favorite soft drinks. Because no, that extracted caffeine does not disappear into the ether. It is reused. Pretty neat, right?
If you’ve made the switch to decaf in an effort to limit your caffeine intake, know that caffeine won’t go to waste. In fact, if you’re still drinking soda, you may just be consuming it, oops!