MacRoscopic Properties: The World We See

Phases of Matter and Intensive Properties

How is coffee decaffeinated?

Consider the chemistry required to decaffeinate coffee. Most techniques use an extraction process to remove the caffeine from the green coffee beans before they are roasted. One method starts by steaming the green beans and then rinsing them with an organic solvent (usually dichloromethane) to pull the caffeine molecules out of the beans. The other method uses supercritical carbon dioxide to extract caffeine. The latter obviously avoids the use of toxic solvents, but is energy-intensive. With all extraction techniques, it is challenging to only remove the caffeine and not the flavor compounds that we want to taste in our coffee.


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