Coffee aficionados are aware that drinking multiple cups per day can leave one feeling overstimulated. Over the years, a multitude of coffee alternatives have emerged, including tea-based beverages such as matcha, green tea, and black tea. Compared to a cup of coffee, which, according to Healthline, contains approximately 95 mg of caffeine, a cup of matcha contains approximately 60 mg, while green and black teas contain approximately 15 and 60 mg, respectively (via Adagio Teas).
Contrary to what “Gilmore Girls” may have us believe, it may not be healthy to consume endless cups of coffee. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming 1,200 mg of caffeine (approximately 12 cups) can cause dangerous side effects such as seizures. However, they note that it is generally safe to consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day, although your hands may begin to tremble well before that point.
For those coffee addicts who simply cannot give up the flavor of freshly brewed java, decaf coffee has become a popular alternative morning beverage. Although most of its energizing properties have been eliminated, WebMD reports that a cup of decaf coffee still contains an average of 2 mg of caffeine, or 3% of what coffee beans contain. But where does the remaining 97% of caffeine that is extracted go?
It appears that decaf coffee may be as profitable as its caffeinated counterpart, and not just because it sells more cups. According to The Wall Street Journal, many companies sell caffeine extracted from coffee beans to soda and pharmaceutical companies. Have you ever questioned how your Coke or Pepsi can gives you a buzz? According to NPR, when extracted from the beans, pure caffeine appears as white, odorless crystals that are then added to sodas and energy drinks.
Scientific American reports that every decaffeination process involves moistening the beans so that the caffeine can dissolve and be extracted. There are a variety of methods used by coffee companies to decaffeinate their beans, but every method involves moistening the beans so that the caffeine can dissolve and be extracted. According to Britannica, the most prevalent methods involve chemical solvents such as ethyl acetate to remove caffeine from coffee beans. You are not alone if you have never heard of any of these methods or companies. Although the world’s largest decaffeination plant is located in Germany, NPR reports that many of these establishments are unknown to most Americans because their products are marketed under other brand names.
What happens to the caffeine that is removed from decaf coffee?