There’s a good chance that at any point throughout the day I’m sipping on a warm cozy drink. Years ago I thought I was hacking the system by drinking decaf tea and coffee, because it wasn’t the caffeine I needed, I just enjoyed the taste and aroma. But, I now know that most of the time the chemical process that goes into decaffeinating tea and coffee is worse than consuming caffeine.
I recently was ordering decaf green tea and thought “hmm how is this ACTUALLY made decaf?” Considering I love coffee and tea, I wanted to learn more and once I did I wanted to share immediately!
Ways to Decaffeinate:
- The Ethyl Acetate Decaffeination Method is one of the most common methods. When tea leaves are exposed to ethyl acetate molecules, caffeine bonds to these molecules which removes the caffeine from the tea. The downside to this is that ethyl acetate is considered toxic when ingested and is known to be damaging to our internal organs with repeated exposure.
- The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Tea Decaffeination Method maintains flavor and health benefits of the tea despite removing the caffeine. In this process tea leaves are placed with naturally occurring CO2, at a high pressure and temperature, which liquifies the CO2. The caffeine molecules bind to this liquid CO2 and thus are removed from the tea. Flavor remains unchanged because flavor molecules are larger than caffeine molecules, so they don’t bind the same way. This is a win!
- The Swiss Water Method is more commonly used for coffee (this is the only decaf coffee I drink). It dissolves the caffeine by soaking coffee beans in hot water. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as well with tea leaves and many brands avoid this method because it can make the tea too watery.
So the winner is: the CO2 Method. Tea Brands I Found that Use CO2 Decaffeination:
This is another great resource that outlines the pros and cons of various tea brands, not necessarily all organic but great to get an overview of various brands: https://www.behealthynow.co.uk/healthy-living/the-best-decaf-tea/
If you know of any super clean tea brands, please let me know!