How Do You Make Decaf Coffee?

If you are anything like the team at, you can’t wake up without your morning cup o’ Joe! Or three or four cups, and maybe another one in the afternoon. For diehard coffee drinkers, drinking decaf is practically sacrilegious! But plenty of people choose to drink decaf coffee. And if it comes from the same coffee beans, how exactly do you take the caffeine out?

How Do You Make Decaf Coffee

First and foremost, the decaffeination process is done on green coffee beans, the unroasted bean. There are a few different ways green beans are decaffeinated:

The European Method

Green beans are soaked in hot water for 10 hours. The water extracts the caffeine from the bean naturally, although it can also remove some of the oils and flavors (over 400) within the bean. To ensure your decaf coffee still tastes like coffee, the beans are removed, and dichloromethane or ethyl acetate is added to the water. These chemicals neutralize the caffeine, which is then evaporated (along with the chemicals) as the water is re-heated. The beans are then reintroduced in the caffeine and chemical-free liquid to absorb the coffee flavors and oils.

The Swiss Water Process

Once again, the green coffee beans are soaked in hot water. That water is then filtered through a charcoal filter which “traps” the caffeine. Those beans are then discarded. A new batch of coffee beans is then added back into the water (which has now become green coffee extract, which Starbucks is using in their Refreshers.) When they combine that GCE with the new beans, the disequilibrium of caffeine between GCE and beans pulls the caffeine from the new beans without removing the oils or coffee flavor. This process is repeated time and time until the beans are 99% caffeine-free.

The CO2 Process

During the CO2 process, the coffee beans are steamed. The beans are then immersed in carbon dioxide in a high-pressure chamber. The pressure pushes the caffeine out of the steamed beans. That caffeine is then dissolved in water and filtered out.

Decaf vs. Regular

Decaffeinated coffee is 99% caffeine-free, so you would have to drink over 15 cups of decaf to get the same buzz as you do from your regular cup! We’ll stick with our usual morning routine, thanks! If you’re like us and love the smell and fresh-brewed taste of coffee, celebrate one of our gourmet coffee gift baskets and be the office hero.



© Featured photo by Shaiith from Getty Images