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Most decaf coffee is manufactured with paint stripper (2019)

Coffee is among my addictions. It isn’t that I drink it because I’m tired, it’s that I drink it since it gives me motivation to go do or make stuff.

My brain is pretty wired naturally and caffeine gives me the stimulus I have to focus on a very important factor. Just like a drug.

Coffee and capitalism

I cannot look for a link now but someone argued that each historical time had its preferred mainstream drug and our current one is coffee since it works so well in a capitalist society. I drink a sit down elsewhere and I wish to work. EASILY don’t, my production falls and long-term there’s less work being produced. Capitalism doesn’t like this.

Which means if you want to escape our dependence on work, we might have to lessen coffee. Or at the very least probably the most neuro-active compound inside it: caffeine.

My coffee intake

I awaken around noon, i quickly drink my first sit down elsewhere. Then i will drink another 2 cups. Totaling 3 each day. Sometimes 4 cups. A large cup of filter coffee is ~100mg of caffeine. so that’s 300-400mg of caffeine each day. That’s quite a bit since it’s already close to the recommended healthy limit.

Like many individuals, I’ll even drink it late during the night after dinner.

Now, the half-life of caffeine average is approximately 5 hours. Nonetheless it can stay static in the body for 8 to 14 hours. Which means if your last coffee at 4pm in the afternoon, it could still be within your body at 6am each morning.


Combine that with everyone being on computer and smartphone screens late in to the night and it’s really no wonder we’ve an internationally sleeplessness epidemic:

Meanwhile, the planet Health Organization has pointed to a ‘global epidemic of sleeplessness’

Decaf coffee

If you cannot drift off because your brain is racing, it could not only be your brain, it could also function as coffee. Also it was for me personally.

My pal Marc said I will try switch to decaf as he did. THEREFORE I bought decaf coffee.

It tasted worse, however, not that much worse. It had been okay.

I started switching to a variety of decaf and normal coffee. I’d have an individual cup of regular caffeinated coffee. And 2 decaf all of those other day.

In the initial week I didn’t feel much but following a couple of weeks I started drifting off to sleep considerably easier.

It worked!

But perhaps you have heard about paint stripper?

Which are the stuff they use to eliminate paint from walls? And the stuff we clean industrial factory floors with? It’s an industrial solvent called methylene chloride. Stores have stopped selling it because it’s so dangerous:

Public health organizations, including NRDC, had pushed for the ban of methylene chloridebased paint strippers, because the chemical has been associated with multiple deaths. Its fumes could cause liver toxicity, cancer, and injury to the nervous systemthey may also trigger fatal heart attacks. A lot more than 200,000 consumers petitioned for the ban, and advocates in 12 states also gathered outside Lowes stores to pressure the business to eliminate them from their shelves.

Why am I letting you know this?

Well, nearly all decaf coffee is produced such as this:

(..) coffees are soaked in warm water to extract a lot of the caffeine from the beans. The beans are then taken off the water and the methylene chloride solvent is put into bond with the caffeine. Following the methylene chloride/caffeine compound is skimmed from the top of mixture, the beans are returned to reabsorb the liquid.

We’re using paint stripper to create most decaf coffee


Now to be valid, there is no real evidence methylene chloride includes a harmful effects to humans in decaf coffee. The amounts left in the coffee have become tiny:

FDA regulation permits around 10 parts per million (ppm) of residual methylene chloride, but actual coffee-industry practice results in levels which are 100 times less than this amount. In this decaffeination process, the coffees are soaked in warm water to extract a lot of the caffeine from the beans.

On the other hand, I do not like the proven fact that I’m drinking paint stripper.

I especially can’t stand that something I consume each day has these things in it. We realize that most unwanted effects of compounds don’t result from incidental use, but from repeated use within a lifestyle. I don’t want chemical solvent to participate my lifestyle.

And I’m not completely stupid to believe that: before we used to create decaf coffee with benzene for many years, and many glasses of decaf coffee consumed later we discovered it had been harmful:

Since its inception, ways of decaffeination much like those first produced by Roselius have continued to dominate. While Roselius used benzene, a variety of solvents have since been tried following the potential harmful ramifications of benzene were discovered.

Humans invent plenty of items that decades later actually is a tragedy, think asbestos or plastic.

So personally, I’d rather not take the chance and become drinking this.

I don’t desire to appear to be a paranoid anti-scientific crazy person, but I believe taking steps personally to reduce risks we would not know yet seems sane.

Better safe than sorry.

Searching for decaf without chemical solvents

It didn’t take me much Googling to get non-chemical alternatives. Probably the most famous one is really a process called Swiss Water:

Swiss Water can be an innovative, 100% chemical free decaffeination process removing caffeine for coffee roasters all over the world.

In this technique, the coffees are soaked in caffeine-free green coffee extract, allowing the caffeine to be extracted from the bean and in to the solution as the flavor components are retained in the beans. The now caffeine-saturated green coffee extract is then processed through activated charcoal to eliminate the caffeine, thus becoming caffeine-free again and prepared to extract caffeine from the new batch of coffee. The coffees are then dried with their originating moisture level and re-bagged. The Swiss Water Process results in coffee that’s 99.9% caffeine free.[3]

Nice! I came across solvent-free decaf coffee.

Yesterday I ordered my first bag of ground Swiss Water coffee. Now I made a cup:

The taste is a lot much superior to the methylene chlorinated decaf. It is a little weaker, which means you need to use more ground powder to create a coffee. But nonetheless very good.

Disregard the text on the bag, it’s imported and repackaged by way of a Korean importer.

There’s an added decaf method that isn’t chemical: treating coffee with pressurized skin tightening and. It is the least used method and reviews concerning the taste aren’t that positive.

Why are most coffee producers like Illy and chains like Starbucks utilizing the chemical solvent process? Because it’s cheap. A decaf coffee at Starbucks is approximately exactly the same price as a normal coffee.

The Swiss Water process will be a lot more costly. But I’m pleased to shell out the dough knowing I’m not drinking paint stripper.

And on top of that, now I could fall asleep just a little better.

P.S. I’m on Twitter too if you want to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. Visit a set of my stories or contact me. To obtain an alert when I write a fresh blog post, it is possible to subscribe below:

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