Gourmet Decaf Coffees

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The difference, from a health perspective, between regular coffee and decaffeinated seems to a bit fuzzy at best. On the one hand, the caffeine in the first puts anyone with high blood pressure at higher risk for heart disease. On the other, the chemical used in the typical process used to extract caffeine from coffee--methylene chloride--is considered, at high dosages, a carcinogen.

Complicating this dilemma is the fact that the second method, Swiss water extraction, however, while safe in other respects, leaves residual traces of caffeine in the coffee. Granted, the amount that remains, about two to five milligrams, doesn't compare the amounts initially present. A cup of regular coffee has from 60 to 175 milligrams, a cup of tea from 20 to 100 milligrams, and an ounce of dark chocolate from five to 35 milligrams.

Enjoying Gourmet Coffees, Without the Caffeine

If a person's health concerns are a matter of principle, however, rather than a specific or acute condition, the array of decaf gourmet coffees is just as wide as that of regular coffee. If you're looking for Sumatra, Hawaiian Kona, Tanzanian Peaberry, or Brazilian Santos, you'll find that the taste is almost indistinguishable from the regular bean.

If you're looking for the lighter Caribbean and Central American roasts, you'll soon realize that Colombian Supremo and Guatemalan Antigua are only the beginning of what's available. Even Jamaican Blue Mountain has its water-process counterpart. The same is true for Ethiopian Longberry and Kenya AA. Your job is to be sure the beans you choose are properly ground for the equipment you use, that you clean your coffee maker after each use, and that you store the beans in an airtight container, in fairly cool conditions, and away from direct sunlight.

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