What’s the CO2 Decaf Process all about?

What’s the CO2 Decaf Process all about?

There are plenty of different ways the coffee industry achieves your caffeine free brew (well nearly caffeine free - see below for more on that). The CO2 process has become an increasingly popular method for the coffee sector in recent years.

The Tech

The CO2 process begins with green coffee beans being soaked in water. This helps open up the pores in the beans and allows the CO2 to penetrate more easily. The beans are then placed in a pressurised chamber and exposed to CO2. In this state, the CO2 has the properties of both a gas and a liquid, which allows it to dissolve caffeine more effectively.

The CO2 circulates through the beans for several hours, extracting the caffeine. The caffeine-rich CO2 is then separated from the beans and the CO2 is recycled and reused. Finally, the beans are then dried and roasted into your final shelf-ready decaf coffee product.

But is it safe for us and the environment?

In short, yes. Particularly compared to other decaf methods. The CO2 used in the process is food-grade and doesn’t leave any harmful residues in the coffee beans. The recycled CO2 process also uses less water and energy than other decaffeination methods. 

Other, alternative, ways the coffee industry gets to your final decaf include:

  • Solvent-based decaffeination, using a chemical solvent, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, to extract caffeine from coffee beans. These solvent methods are considered to be safe for us to drink, however the production process can be harmful in terms of air and water pollution outcomes.
  • Water-based decaffeination, using hot water to extract caffeine from coffee beans. This process is considered safe for both us and the environment, but it can remove some of the flavour and aroma from the beans.

Is it really caffeine free?

Like the growing ‘alcohol free’ drinks market, which often contains up to 0.5% alcohol levels, there is still a very small residue of caffeine left in any decaf coffee beans.

The CO2 process is generally considered the most efficient in removing caffeine. The CO2 process can remove over 99% of the caffeine from coffee beans, while the Swiss Water process for example can generally only remove about 97% of the caffeine.

Roar Gill’s own CO2 Decaf whole beans have 99.9% of caffeine removed. If you want give our Indian Mysore Decaf beans a try, CLICK HERE for 20% Off. We’ll pop the discount in automatically at check-out! 

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