DEFINITION: An “Arabica” coffee (Coffea Arabica) has an initial natural caffeine content of around 1.2-1.5%, whereas a “Robusta” coffee (Coffea Canephora) ranges around 2-4%. Decaffeinated coffee is coffee from which the caffeine contained within it has been removed through a technological process. Following the decaffeination process, the admissible residual caffeine content must not exceed 0.1% of the product’s dry weight.
PROCESS USED: for the decaffeination of raw coffee, DEMUS S.p.A. uses an organic solvent of a purity suitable for use in food products and regularly used in this field and in pharmaceuticals: dichloromethane (or methylene chloride).
In the process of decaffeination, this substance acts as a “technological aid” and was classified as such based on the Legislative Decree No. 109 of 27 January 1992. In fact, dichloromethane does not cause any chemical reaction in the bean. On the contrary, it only acts to dissolve the caffeine it comes into contact with and physically extract it from the coffee.
Since this substance is highly volatile, the prolonged final flushing with steam ensures it is removed already during the final processing phase.
It is therefore clear that, after roasting (that takes place at temperatures in excess of 200°C), no trace of it can be found: the many precise instrumental controls carried out by our Demus lab laboratory on every batch confirm this.
QUALITY CONTROLS: They are carried out systematically by our Demus Lab laboratory, accredited ACCREDIA Lab. No. 0887; each batch of coffee is checked both before processing, in accordance with the provisions of our HACCP manual, and after processing, when the following controls are carried out in order to comply with the current regulations:
- Analysis of the residual caffeine content – not in excess of 0.1% (Italian Ministerial Decree 20/5/76 and subsequent amendments)
- Analysis of the residual solvent – not in excess of 2mg/kg in roasted coffee (Decree No. 158 of 4/8/11 – Dir. 2009/32/CE)
- Analysis of the humidity content – not in excess of 11% (Italian Ministerial Decree 20/5/76 and subsequent amendments).
The dichloromethane used for the decaffeination of green coffee must have chemical and physical characteristics and be of very high purity, suitable for nutritional use, as laid down by the Decree No. 20 of 20 July 1987.
ADVANTAGES OF THE DEMUS PROCESS: The process used by DEMUS S.p.A. (registered trademark), besides extracting the caffeine, also removes:
1. the waxes in the outer layer of the coffee bean, ensuring the coffee is dewaxed, as well as decaffeinated, and therefore easier to digest;
2. potential contamination with Ochratoxin A, making the product safe should it be contaminated (see “detoxified coffee” and patents);
3. any negative flavours in the coffee, particularly trichloroanisole (responsible for the “Rio defect” taste) and geosmin (responsible for the “earthy” taste) (see “coffee without negative flavours
” and patents