If that’s not bad for the environment I don’t know what is! Finally you use more energy to boil water to brew your coffee. Swiss water process. Though not strictly environmental in nature, economic issues in my opinion drive poor environmental practices. Going down an internet rabbit hole, I came across a query asking if decaf was bad for the environment. Maybe. According to an article on serious eats linked here, it’s about 11 pounds of C02 per pound of coffee! Most coffee is produced in conventional coffee farms that are portions of clear cut forest. Let’s look at current decaf processes and then dive into coffee as a whole! I’m not sure that really gets us anywhere though cool and interesting. Swiss Water process offers marketing program. Decaffeination processes that use methylene chloride have given decaf coffee a bad name. Decaffeinated coffee might increase the levels of bad cholesterol … Where do old coffee grounds go when they worn out and used up? It made me wonder if my decaf was doing more then repelling slugs in my garden. Conventional wisdom says grinding at home is the best option. Combined with the roasting process which destroys methylene chloride, the causes for concern for health are likely low. There are companies out there working to transform garbage into energy through heat recovery. Really the same method with a different solvent. When decaf was first invented, Benzene was used as a solvent to remove the caffeine in the direct method. The three processes that remove the caffeine from the coffee bean are through the extraction of water, solvent and/or carbon dioxide. (n.d.). Decaffeinated coffee may have a harmful effect on the heart by increasing the levels of a specific cholesterol in the blood, researchers say. Allegro Organic French Decaf. It’s in the decafinators best interest to reduce all waste from their process including chemicals such as methylene chloride. Challenges of Biodiversity in San Miguel de Allende. This got me... Decaf Lover's Guide to the Perfect Grind! I tirelessly roast, grind, brew, and drink all sorts of decaf to find the very best. This is a great option if you have a have a compost pile in your yard. Studies show exposure to even small amounts of methylene chloride can slow down the central nervous system temporarily. Mostly the land fill! This property lets it effectively extract the caffeine and no other flavors that some of the other methods inherently extract. The decaffeination process generally is of low risk of environmental harm. Ever since the discovery of coffee, experimentation with it has been, and still is, ongoing. Bird friendly coffee (no not the Jazz musician), is one of my favorite certifications because it tries to protect the entire ecosystem while economically growing coffee. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shade-grown_coffee, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. Probably something you never considered was how much fossil fuels were required to transport your nice finely roasters decaf to your doorstep. Looking further into the matter I discovered a study linked here that shows over a ten year period workers exposed to high contractions of methylene chloride versus non exposed workers showed no difference in their liver, cardiac or neurological health! Is this true for... Decaf Mobius is all about finding the very best decafs around. Other than the occasional overzealous gardener few go to compost. Feedback | Will is a coffee aficionado tired of dirty sock water decaf. Just to confirm, I am not affiliated to either of these brands, but feel they both offer a brilliant alternative for people with health issues looking for a healthier decaffeinated coffee. Coffee is probably one of the dirtiest agricultural products and one of the most energy intensive you can buy. Once it finally reaches the roaster then it gets roasted using natural gas or electricity (which is probably generated from coal or natural gas) to create that tasty coffee with aroma of dried cherries and notes of lime. What is used in coffee decaffeination is a fraction of that. September, 2018. Over the holidays I drank a lot of good coffee and a decent amount of bourbon! Is Decaf Bad for the Environment? Madison, C. (2020). I found that coffee grounds make a great repellent and caffeine makes a lethal pesticide for slugs! Pretty low compared to your favorite pair of sneakers at about 30 pounds. Bird friendly gets its name from protecting the natural ecosystem on the coffee farm to protect the bird population as an integral partner to a healthy ecosystem. Training, Courses & Support Contingency. You can probably recall some  company in the news for making a decision to pollute something because it was the lowest cost method (and technically legal), cough, Love Canal, cough! Minimal exposure to methylene chloride in coffee seen by FDA. "These … I’m not going to stop drinking my decaf for the simple reason that most studies look at industrial uses of very concentrated methylene chloride. But wait, isn’t there shade grown and bird friendly certifications? Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Coffee wars rage on despite consumption drop. All those nice shiny really posh black bags with the gold embossed logos. Go grab a nice cup of coffee or hopefully you were drinking one while reading this article. Now just imagine how much that happens in the impoverished nations producing coffee. Coffee has to be picked, processed out of the coffee cherry (various methods many are sun dried and mechanically stripped) then can be shipped off. https://www.accessengineeringlibrary.com/content/book/9780070276895/chapter/chapter3, Ahindra Nag. In the indirect method the solvent only interacts with the water once it’s separated from the beans. We would also suggest drinking organic decaf tea to avoid the chemicals and benefit from the (at least partially retained) health benefits. Awesome Tips for Decaf Lovers! June, 2019. Coffee is probably in general one of the most environmentally damaging and exploitative crops in the whole world. A complex process using hexane and methanol to produce bio-diesel. I have read various opinions of coffee tasters that the CO2 methods creates a muted coffee overall. Most modern decaf coffee processing facilities will have the latest and greatest technology to safely handle the residual methyl chloride whether with biofilters or other technology. Coffee naturally contains caffeine (as do tea, chocolate and lots of other plants) so to make decaf you’ve got to take the caffeine out of the coffee bean. The compostable paper bag would be best though probably the shortest shelf life and least protection for the coffee. If you are searching for the best instant decaf coffee … The decaffeination process generally is of low risk of environmental harm. “Decaffeinated coffee is like a hooker who only wants to cuddle.” Like many quotes on Instagram, this one is styled in a cutesy sans serif font and has the beigeness of … If you want to read all the concerns of methylene chloride you can see this link from OSHA. Decaf coffee  is produced with a variety of methods, chemicals and processes each with different factors that could be bad for the environment. Reflections of a decaf avoider: this CO2 decaf is ok. Decaf coffees enjoy increasing popularity. "And in this manner of production, the coffee really doesn't last very long, and it really degrades the environment." The solvent can be recycled for further use.”. Supercritical Fluid Extraction Applications for Biosystems Engineering, Chapter (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2010). The theme is usually the same, richer nations exploit poor nations where coffee grows and introduce poor farming practices and encourage debt loading for expansion. And is decaf coffee or tea bad for you? Note that is for all coffee not specifically decaf just to be clear. Introducing the Environmental Agenda. If you think the chemicals used in the traditional solvent process decaf are bad then you would be horrified at those in the packaging! The Environmental Crisis in México. Recyclable Packaging . Otherwise like most other people you just throw them out in the garbage, they are not recyclable generally. Perhaps you might luck into some of the less robust ones packed in kraft paper style bags that are compostable. I quickly searched to find a approximate percentage and Wikipedia shows about 24% of coffee is shade grown, through the total pounds has shrunk due to increases in total production volume of conventional coffee. Our People; Case Studies; Blog; Contact; Decaffeinated Coffee. Methylene chloride decaffeination: bad process: or bad press? As for which method is best, let’s take a look. It’s coffee that has virtually all of the caffeine removed from it. The big drawback is it’s very expensive and can only be done on large scales. In Mark Pendergrast’s book, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, there is story after story of the coffee farmers often not breaking even on their coffee production costs. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/ecological-benefits-shade-grown-coffee, KJ;, S. (n.d.). Ok not so much but if you consider that you might drink 50-100 bags a year if it adds up to a lot of waste. Swiss Water decaffeinated coffee unlocking the "black box." French roast (dark) Pre-ground. Well if you’re like me and you save random empty coffee bags then you would have learned it’s probably around ½ oz of material. There are quite a few misconceptions around decaffeination and decaf coffee. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Decaf-environmental+problems.-a011088614. We spoke with registered dietitian, ... And if you’re worried about the effect on the environment of chemical decaffeination, again Carbon says you can rest assured no major harm is being done. Seriously go weigh your posh coffee bag and see how much it weighs, I’ll wait! An evaluation of chronic methylene chloride exposure. For webmasters. No difference! I furthered my research by reading the Qusac Decaf Company website which stated the following: “Today, we continue to find new ways to reduce our consumption of natural resources, reduce our contribution to landfill sites, recovery and recycle our process water and recover and refine compounds from our decaffeination waste stream and heat recovery program all while increasing the extraction efficiency and producing the best tasting Eco-Friendly decaf on the market today.”. We spoke with registered dietitian, ... And if you’re worried about the effect on the environment of chemical decaffeination, again Carbon says you can rest assured no major harm is being done. Organic Choice. Exploitative labor is not directly an environmental issue but it does lead to environmental issues. DISCHARGES OF HAZARDOUS WASTE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, Chapter (McGRAW-HILL, 2002). Privacy policy | A lot of the coffee producing world has a very poor population. Are the pastic bags any better, Im not sure, but I can at least reuse them a few times myself. It gets packed up and shipped to the store or you. India Sturgis and Richard Kieswick gave their verdict on a selection of the best decaf coffees. And is decaf coffee or tea bad for you? Biosystems Engineering. Handbook of Complex Environmental Remediation Problems. That said I’m not a doctor and if its a concern for your health speak to a qualified professional not some guy on the internet! Nag summarizes the benefits well in his book Biosystems Engineering, ch 16.1; “There are growing concerns of health and environment problems associated with the use of traditional solvent extraction techniques employed in consumer products. A full-sun coffee farm in central Colombia Much of the recent shift away from shade is due to the growth of the coffee industries in Brazil and Vietnam, the first- and second-biggest producers in the world in 2010, according to the study. Reading the Handbook of Complex Environmental Remediation Problems, on biofilters (filters using microbes), it lists methylene chloride/dichlormethane as having good biodegradability. What’s the total carbon cost of all that? In fact, a 2014 meta-analysis of prospective studies concluded that in addition to an effect with caffeinated coffee, an 11% reduction for every 2 additional cups […] This leads to low qualities of life, lack of sanitation, disease, and conflict. Green tea really is greener: the milk in a cup of white tea or coffee creates more CO2 than boiling the water. For the enviroment my biggest issue after writing this article the is waste from the coffee bags. An informed consumer is a dangerous one! Sadly I think this still occurs today. On the plus side it doesn’t require refrigeration! For me I love my coffee and will continue to support the best roasters with the highest quality decaf. Shutterstock. If you think of strawberries from Mexico or apples from Argentina those have to be picked, packed and refrigerated. Shade-grown coffee. A quick google search showed that an interesting company called Terracycle offers a coffee bag recycling program. If you made it this far, congratulations! Almost no coffee is processed by C02 or triglyceride currently. Imagine the hardships that would lead to and how the environment is probably last on that list to protect. Not quite zero waste but close. I intend to be much more selctive if I can about the type of bags I buy. What is a supercritical fluid? Current medical opinion is that decaffeinated tea or coffee is safe to drink from early pregnancy onwards, and it is recommended to consume it as an alternative to regular tea or coffee. With chronic exposure! (2019, July 12). Supercritical C02 method is probably the most modern and sci-fi but really the same principle. Mexico: 3 firms fulfill decaf & soluble needs. Probably not, I didn’t either until I read an article in Roast Magazine March/April 2020  about the permitting process for coffee roasters. Thurston, Robert W. (2020). Is decaf coffee bad for the environment? If you enjoyed this please share it and read some of my other great articles like 42 Reasons to Drink Decaf here. Interestingly, as with caffeinated coffee, the majority of published studies that have evaluated the relationship between decaffeinated coffee and risk of type 2 diabetes have reported similar inverse associations3,6-8. Separating the solvent from the extract is easily accomplished by reducing pressure and returning CO2 to a gaseous state. Economic factors lead to other harmful environmental practices. Add in a few more miscellaneous items like those mentioned in the book The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop  (fyi I haven’t read it but a snippet is available on google), mainly the diesel power crusher to remove the cherries from the beans or the natural gas forklift to unload them at the dock and into the truck. A report by Mintel shows that a million Britons have switched to decaf coffee in the past 12 months. Recently I was looking online for natural slug repellent for my garden. I would guess about 99% of decaf is either the solvent method or a water process method. Coffee Bespoke Blend Creation Packing & Packaging. Where does that leave us coffee drinkers? As a home roaster the good news is most green coffee is shipped in paper or simple plastic bags. Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. According to Wikipedia it is not an ozone depleting chemical due to its short life in the atmosphere. Lucky for us modern day drinkers we don’t have to worry about such harsh chemicals being used. November, 2019. Awesome Tips for Decaf Lovers! It is unlikely to be harmful if you drink it without an excess of cream or sweeteners and in moderate amounts. Read on and learn. The Environmental Agenda Series. Finally the economics of coffee drives farming practices. While coffee often gets a bad rep, it actually contains beneficial antioxidants. Many people enjoy drinking coffee, but they want to limit their caffeine intake for personal preferences or health reasons. Consumer Reports weighs in on whether decaffeinated coffee is bad for you. Specialty coffee has been the biggest challenger to these practices both working directly with producers but also funding projects to produce higher grades to make wages and profits higher and benefit the producers more directly. May Cause Heart Complications. I’ll leave that for you to decide. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from https://www.shell.com/inside-energy/coffee-into-fuel.html spoken interview. Yeah, they’re full of chemicals to make all the layers of foil plastic and complex one way valves needed to seal in that awesome decaf from that trendy local roaster. The next best option is to ask your favorite local coffee shop to consider using compostable bags or at least some level of recyclable coffee bags. Decaf coffee provides a number of health benefits, making it a smart choice for people who are looking to minimize the amount of caffeine they consume. Long story short, the next day and after drinking the first cup of decaf coffee, I googled something about decaf coffee (don't remember the exact keyword). I would guess you can fit about 100 coffee bags in there so it is about $1 USD to recycle a complex multi-layer material. The swiss water process/mountain water processes are basically identical in the fact the solvent used is water and is then filtered to remove the caffeine. Is Your Decaf Coffee Organic? Sadly this novel method has gained little market share due to the much higher cost. The chemicals used on decaffeinated coffee used to be toxic, but there are newer techniques. Reading the book Uncommon Grounds it’s apparent how bad coffee has been for many peoples around the world. Really the only difference is the name and some of the filter technology. 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