How Does Starbucks Decaffeinate Its Coffee?
Before discussing decaffeination at Starbucks, let me tell you a little bit about Starbucks.
The famous coffeehouse chain started as a coffee shop in Washington, USA in the year 1971 at the Pike Place Market. Now, it has its stores in more than 75 countries. The astounding fact here is that they don’t just sell brews of coffee, but they also produce and roast as well.
Starbucks is really the star of coffeehouses, as it has over 22,000 stores and generates an annual profit of more than $22 billion.
Why is Starbucks Famous?
Starbucks generally purchases and roasts high-quality coffee that they sell, along with handcrafted coffee, tea, and other beverages. It has made it a point to make the brew out of the highest quality beans, as well as use freshly roasted beans.
Since the start, Starbucks sought to be a unique type of company. Its vision was to make coffee a rich tradition and celebration of life.
Their logo is, “One person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks Coffee Sources
The coffee producing continents for Starbucks are Africa, Asia, and America. The company confirms that its signature coffee blends are mostly from the Asia Pacific region and they have a copyright on the way that states that they decaffeinate their coffee.
Starbucks also owns a 240-hectare farm on the slopes of Poás Volcano in Costa Rica, in order to grow their coffee.
The Decaffination Process
Starbucks opened up about their decaffeination process by answering a mail.
Here is the method claimed to be used for decaffeination:
- Direct contact method of removing caffeine is majorly used
- Methylene Chloride, a direct solvent, is used. Green coffee beans are soaked in this solvent.
- Bonding of the solvent with the beans helps in the removal of the chemical, caffeine.
- Once the caffeine is removed, the beans are then roasted at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The roasting at such a high temperature further removes any traces of the chemical, due to the fact that Methylene Chloride has a low boiling point.
It has not yet been confirmed if this method is actually harmful because Starbucks claims they have been using this method for a long time and no side-effects have ever been observed; however, suspicion of this compound still continues, as Methylene is known to be a carcinogen and a toxic compound.
As with most solvents, no one wants to touch or intake this dangerous chemical into their body. Some people say that decaffeinated coffee contains no detectable traces of the chemical because it is burned off by the high temperature when it is roasted; however, this has never been proven in theory.
Safe Decaf Coffees at Starbucks
Starbucks confirmed that two of their coffees are decaffeinated without chemical uses. They use a non-toxic Swiss process to decaf these coffees. Other independent results are a little different from this, but it is also said that Starbucks has some of the highest caffeine amounts than any other coffee chain. The known decaffeinated drinks are:
- Decaf Komodo Dragon Blend
- The VIA instant decaf Italian roast.
Starbucks came a long way. The decaffeination process is something they hold dearly, as it enables many customers to drink their decaf options.