Food - Drink
What Happens To The Caffeine Removed From Decaf Coffee?
Many people start their day with a cup of coffee for a kick of caffeine, but some prefer to drink decaf coffee just for the flavor. A cup of decaffeinated coffee still contains about 2 mg of caffeine, but that’s only 3% of what the coffee beans themselves contain — here's what happens to the remaining 97% of that leftover caffeine.
Most of the caffeine removed from the coffee beans is recycled and sold to soda companies, such as Coke and Pepsi, as well as pharmaceutical institutions. Pure caffeine looks like white, odorless crystals, and this extracted caffeine is mixed into sodas and energy drinks or added to medications and supplements.
Additionally, caffeine must be removed from coffee beans while they are still green and unroasted. The decaffeination process involves moistening the beans so that the caffeine dissolves and can be extracted; Britannica says the most common processes use chemical solvents like ethyl acetate to rinse the caffeine out.