Caffeine is a mild natural stimulant that is found in many plant species. Its function in the plant is to serve as a natural pesticide for certain insects that are enemies of the plant. As far as human consumption is concerned, caffeine has many sources, including chocolate, tea, and, of course, coffee. In the US, almost 90% of Americans consume caffeine daily.
All coffees naturally contain caffeine. However, gourmet Arabica coffee beans, such as we use exclusively, contain 40% to 50% less caffeine than the harsher, more common Robusta beans, which are used in commercial canned coffees. Most Arabica coffees contain between 70 and 150 mg of caffeine per cup.
In addition, the longer you roast a coffee, the less caffeine remains. Our richer, darker roasts not only extract more flavor out of the bean, but reduce levels of caffeine, as well.
The federal government controls the caffeine levels in decaffeinated coffees, and in order for a coffee to be called "Decaffeinated" or "Decaf", the green coffee beans must have undergone one of several decaffeinating processes to remove 97% of the caffeine resident in the bean.
Here at Audubon Coffee, we roast exclusively Arabica beans, and our standard is to remove 98% or more of the caffeine during the decaffeination process.
Almost all methods basically involve soaking green, unroasted beans (which are really tropical evergreen seeds) in a liquid tank to precipitate out the caffeine. Some processes require an effort to re-inject lost flavor back into the beans. Then they are washed numerous times, dried, and bagged.
There are many decaffeinating processes, some using chemical solvents, some gases, and some only steam or water. The challenge here is to not only find a safe, effective decaffeination process, but one that yields a good tasting coffee.
We have discovered a natural process that uses only water, yet results in an excellent tasting coffee – something that is difficult to achieve with water process coffees. With this method, the green beans are soaked in a hot water bath, releasing the caffeine, and most of the natural flavors and oils. The water, containing at this point the main essences of the beans themselves (caffeine, flavors, and oils) is then transferred to another tank, where the caffeine is removed from the rest of the components via carbon filters. Then, the water, still containing the flavors and oils of the bean, is added back to the tank containing the beans, where the beans re-absorb their original oils and flavors, without the caffeine.
We are pleased to offer you the finest in decaffeinated coffees – all natural, water-processed, top quality Arabica beans, roasted longer for a fuller, richer taste, and vacuum-packed right out of the roaster for absolute freshness.