Friday, April 06, 2007

You learn something every day, but sometimes it doesn't much help

The other day at work we briefly discussed how we got decaffeinated coffee. Where did the caffeine go? It turned out to be more complex than I imagined. I had this thing in mind that somehow the caffeine must be siphoned off and ‘put’ somewhere. Well, in a rough sense that’s what happens, except that I had to wade through some scientific stuff to get there. Apparently there are four approaches, all relying on the caffeine molecules, which aren’t very strong, joining up to some other material instead of the coffee bean, or cocoa, or whatever. And then there was another approach where the beans were soaked in a coffee flavoured liquid so that they didn’t lose the flavour at the same time as they lost the caffeine.
The four approaches involve: Methylene chloride, Ethyl acetate, Carbon dioxide or water. Do you still want to drink decaffeinated coffee after knowing this? Doesn’t it rather put you off?
The other part of this conversation was, what do you do with the caffeine once you’ve removed it? Turns out that none of our jocular ideas were much near the mark. Rather prosaically, it’s used to re-caffeinate things like the many soft drinks that now have some degree of caffeine in them. Seems a roundabout way to go, really.
Just by way of totally irrelevant addition to this post, I'm adding in my myLot User Profile at this point in order to set up my blog on the myLot forum that I'm part of.
You can join myLot yourself if you want: and even make yourself a tiny amount of money for each post you write.
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