If, like us, you love tea but are sensitive to caffeine, you’ll be interested to know that there is a way you can drink all, all the tea you want: it’s called decaf tea.
Do you want to know its elaboration process and if it affects its flavor and the wonderful benefits of tea for health? Continue reading because we will answer these and other questions.
How is decaffeinated tea made?
First of all, you should know that decaffeinated tea is made, like any other tea, from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. However, they undergo a process that removes their natural caffeine content.
It is important to note that this procedure does not eliminate 100% caffeine, but simply reduces it. That is to say that when you drink decaffeinated tea you are actually drinking a tea with a very low dose of caffeine that is around 2.5% of its original caffeine. If you want to know how much caffeine teas have, follow the link.
Clarified this, there are different processes to decaffeinate the tea; however, the safest and most widely used is the one that uses liquid carbon dioxide.
It consists of the application of liquid carbon dioxide on the leaves. This substance at a certain controlled pressure and temperature causes the caffeine molecules to come to the surface and can be isolated.
The best thing about this procedure is that, as it is a natural substance that, in fact, is found in the air, it does not harm the tea but is more respectful than other options for tea in general, since it preserves its aroma better. and its taste.
The other processes used are:
- The ethyl acetate that consists of soaking the leaves with this natural substance. The biggest problem is that while it does not affect health, acetate can alter the taste of tea.
- Methylene chloride: the procedure is the same as the previous one. In this case, the taste is unchanged. However, some research has indicated that this substance could cause health problems.
- The water: The tea leaves are washed and then put through a carbon filter to remove the caffeine. After this process, the leaves are mixed again with the water to “recover” flavor. The problem? The flavor of the resulting tea is usually more watery.
Does it affect the taste?
It is very difficult, if not almost impossible, to differentiate a decaffeinated tea from one that has not been.
In the case of decaffeinated teas with carbon dioxide, the difference in flavor is negligible and imperceptible to the palate, even for the best tasters. For this reason, it is the most recommended procedure and the one that is most used today.
Does decaf tea have the same health benefits?
If you are wondering if the tea loses its benefits after the decaffeination procedure, rest assured that we will answer your questions.
Currently, there are not many specific studies on decaffeinated tea. However, it is believed that the caffeine reduction process could also affect tea polyphenols to some extent.
Let us remember that polyphenols are antioxidant substances that prevent premature aging and the development of degenerative diseases.
However, there is no exact data on the extent to which polyphenols would be reduced. In any case, there is talk of a possible reduction, not an elimination. Therefore, decaffeinated tea would continue to be beneficial to health.
Without a doubt, drinking decaffeinated tea can be a good option for those who are sensitive to caffeine, as well as for those who suffer from high blood pressure or a disease that could be exacerbated by caffeine consumption.
Is it possible to remove caffeine from tea at home?
The first brew of a tea is said to contain the highest concentration of caffeine. Following this premise, it would be possible to reduce the caffeine in a tea in the comfort of our home.
To do this, infuse your tea like every day and, after thirty seconds, remove the tea leaves (or the bag). Eliminate the liquor resulting from the first infusion and infuse again. It is estimated that 90% of the caffeine present in tea leaves is extracted during the first moments of preparation. Thus, this procedure would allow you to drink a tea with less caffeine, although it is true that with a certain impact on the taste.
Preparation of decaffeinated tea
There is no secret in the preparation of decaffeinated tea. Simply, you must follow, as always, the instructions of the manufacturer or your trusted herbalist.
Remember to pay special attention to the temperature of the water before placing the leaves, as some varieties of tea are more sensitive than others and could vary in flavor. On the other hand, the infusion time also requires attention: a tea steeped for several minutes will be more concentrated and stronger than one steeped for a short time.
In conclusion, decaffeinated tea is a valid option for any tea lover who wants to enjoy a cup of hot infusion with little caffeine. However, we advise you to consult your herbalist about the method used to reduce theine in order to confirm that you buy a tea treated with the carbon dioxide process, which is, after all, the safest and best preserves the properties, flavor and aroma of tea.