You’ve probably heard the news that California is trying to ban decaf coffee. Specifically, the proposed legislation would effect the European Method for decaffeinating coffee. 

According to Fresh Cup News, “A California Assembly member has introduced new legislation that would ban coffee decaffeinated using methylene chloride. The bill would take effect in 2027 and require ‘manufacturers to switch recipes or face a $10,000 fine.'”

Used in most decaffeinated coffees, methylene chloride is used to remove caffeine from the coffee bean.  This is referred to as the “European method decaf.” As the beans are soaked, the caffeine floats to the top and is skimmed off, to be used in soda and other applications. The beans are rinsed and dried, and the chemical mostly evaporates while what remains is reduced further through the heat of the roasting process. 

However, Spurge reports that: “Still, trace amounts were present when decaf coffees were tested. In 2020, the Clean Label Project found that 10 of 25 decaf brands tested [have] small amounts of methylene chloride, though none surpassed the FDA’s maximum recommended level of 10 parts per million.”

For those concerned about the presence of methylene chloride in decaf, the Swiss Water process is chemical-free. It uses a water soak and carbon filtration to remove the caffeine from coffees. However it is also more likely to remove water soluble elements from the beans, and may leave the coffee with little flavor profile after roasting. 

So what’s a coffee lover to do, if you want to cut down on caffeine? Well, one solution is limit your coffee intake to just a morning ritual, or you could try an alternative drink like decaf spiced chai.  

On the other hand, according to the National Coffee Association, “drinking European Method decaf, like all coffee, is associated with decreased risk of multiple cancers and other significant health benefits.”

And here at Ahroma Specialty Coffee we will continue to offer you most every flavor and blend you desire, in regular or decaf.  

So, to “De” or not to “De”? You “DE”cide!