1. Technical Overview
Definitions differ, but decaffeination is generally taken to mean the removal of between 80% and 99% of caffeine from cocoa, coffee beans, and tea leaves. Ludwig Roselius, the chief of Kaffee HAG, developed the first practical decaffeination process in 1903 .
Supercritical carbon dioxide (SCO2) has decaffeinated coffee since the 1970s. The process employs ethanol or water as a co-solvent to contradict the low solubility of caffeine in SCO2. Green coffee beans are soaked in hot water inside a sealed extraction container till they are 50% saturated with water to bring out the caffeine.
Next, SCO2 is pumped into the container at high pressure. This dissolves caffeine in SCO2. Thereafter, SCO2 is moved in a low pressure vessel. The SCO2 evaporates leaving caffeine behind .
Methods to decaffeinate coffee are :
Tea is decaffeinated using:
2. Chemistry of Caffeine & the Decaf Coffee-Tea Markets
2.1. Why Tea & Coffee Make Us Feel Better?
Caffeine is C8H10N4O2 with the systematic name 3,7-dihydro-1, 3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2, 6-dione. Its structure is similar to that of adenosine, the hormone that slows down the body. Caffeine blocks adenosine flow and thereby stimulates the body by lowering fatigue and boosting concentration. Excessive consumption, however, invites nervousness, insomnia, mood swings, and hostility.
2.2. Decaf Coffee & Tea Markets
Surging awareness on health issues caused by large caffeine intake is expected to expand the worldwide decaffeinated (decaf) coffee market at a 6.9% CAGR from 2019 and reach $21.45 billion by 2025. Prospects for the decaf tea industry are similarly bright.
Salaried millennials living in cities are the main customers for decaf coffee. Key drivers are:
With greater awareness on the health positives of decaf tea, its consumption is picking up across the world. Main drivers include:
3. Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) & Carbon dioxide (CO2) SCFE
3.1. Why SCFE Use is Rising?
Regulations on toxicity, quality, safety, and residues in consumer products are getting stricter as consumers demand products with more natural ingredients in food-beverage, pharmaceutical, neutraceutical, and personal care products. SCFE is safer, more eco-friendly, and leaves behind zero or less toxic residues in the final product.
Alternative methods have drawbacks:
3.2. What are Supercritical Fluids & How do they Assist with Extraction?
A fluid at above its critical pressure and temperature is a supercritical fluid. The phase boundary between its liquid and vapour phase disappears and its properties can be customized by changing the pressure and temperature.
Roughly, supercritical fluids with higher density possess greater solvent power. And because altering pressure and temperature substantially varies their density, supercritical fluids make exceptional solvents.
Supercritical fluids are excellent solvents because of their:
3.3. Why Supercritical Carbon dioxide (CO2) Makes an Excellent SCFE Solvent?
Carbon dioxide and water are the most popularly utilized supercritical fluids. Supercritical (CO2) is an ideal solvent for SCFE because it:
Although CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG), the SCFE process using CO2 becomes eco-friendly if the gas is captured from the atmosphere, reused, and recycled.
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