So I hear many of you drink decaffeinated coffee. Did you know that the most common way to decaffeinate coffee is by using very nasty chemicals? What? say you. That is correct, my friends. There are two chemicals, Ethyl Acetate and Methylene Chloride, that are most commonly used. In my effort to always help you understand what the chemicals we commonly consume are and do allow me to clarify and provide you with some of the information.

Methylene Chloride: This bad boy is actually even worse than its name sounds! OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) gives a long list of uses for this chemical including polyurathane production, stripping metal, making film and adhesives but nowhere on the list is decaffeinating coffee or any food processing at all. In addition to the long list of industrial and unappetizing uses is a longer list of warnings about exposure to the chemical with effects including mental confusion, nausea and vomiting. Workers need special training to handle this chemical. I doubt you want it in your mid-day cup.

Ethyl Acetate: Sound familiar, ladies? Painters? It might if you commonly use non acetone nail polish remover or paint thinners. Like Methylene chloride OSHA has severe warnings about prolonged exposure to this hazardous chemical. Imagine being asked “cream, sugar or nail polish remover?” I think to the last one everyone would say, “no thanks.”

The process the coffee goes through is basically a “washing out” of the caffeine as well as a few other flavorful components in un-roasted coffee beans in this caustic chemical bath. These chemicals do not need to be listed as ingredients on your coffee can any more than a conveyor belt does. They are considered part of the manufacturing process, but you’d better believe that there are traces in your brew.

The reason why I decided to discuss decaffeinated coffee with you is because I really think that most of you think it is just naturally decaffeinated. I would too actually, if I wasn’t in this line of work. There are however some coffees that are decaffeinated through a natural process called the Swiss water process. So my suggestion is that if you really can only drink decaffeinated coffee and must have it please try to make sure that you look for any one on the following list or at least research to make sure you’re drinking a non-toxic beverage. I should also caution you, though decaffeinated coffee is never 100 % caffeine free.

Here’s your list and many are available in K-cup.

Wolfgang Puck

Van Houtte


Starbucks Decaffeinated Mocha Java

Green Mountain Coffee Co.

Newman’s Own

Don’t be fooled by some expensive brands. Just because the price is higher doesn’t always mean chemical free.

So if you want to enjoy a good cup of Java make it the real stuff or make sure it is naturally decaffeinated.

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