If coffee is a drug, then I’m under influence every morning! I was so for decades.Let me be honest with you: you were told that coffee is a beverage and that caffeine is a drug. Is there any difference? Chemically, yes. From the stand point of what you ingest, no, it is not! Do you see any difference between taking a pill of oxycodone with water or sprinkling oxycodone powder on your yogurt? None, right? Well, then there isn’t a difference between coffee and caffeine either. Or… you may drink decaf. That’s even worse. Did you ever see a chemist drinking decaf? I didn’t. You know why? Because they understand the process of how decaf coffee is made. Methylene chloride or ethyl acetate are solvents used to remove the caffeine without removing other water-soluble flavors. Read more in the link provided, you need to know that.
So, decaf already “yucks”, right? You didn’t sign up for either of these two when you asked for “a cup of coffee”! Some argue that neither solvent would make it through the roasting process. It’s true. If either of the two could be identified chemically in the decaf coffee, they couldn’t sell it! What I can tell you though is that both solvents are capable of reacting with the myriad molecules in the coffee during the roasting process. What forms may very well be thermostable (i.e. stable at very high temperatures). I mean, if you got born in an oven, you are probably resistant to heat – just sayin’! What would any of these unknown compounds do to a decaf drinker? God knows! I’m not drinking it. In fact, I can tell the taste difference and I do not like it. When I hear “naturally decaffeinated” I flip out! Do what now?
Let’s do a brief recap: with the solvent method of decaffeination, they either soak the beans with solvent to take the caffeine out or they soak the beans in water to lose the caffeine (and flavors), then they add the solvent to the water, heat the water to evaporate solvent and caffeine and put back the soaky water over the original beans to re-stock the flavors. Then they bake the beans for a very-very long time because now they are wet and morphologically changed. This on itself will change the taste of the bean. Then they sell them to you. If you use that to make “coffee”, let me tell you: that is not coffee! That is a cup of brown soup of whatevers that goes much closer to poison than to coffee.
There is a so-called organic method of decaffeination called the Swiss Water Process. The process basically pours boiled water over beans, gets the heck out of them (caffeine included) then it passes the soup over activated charcoal that is gauged to a precise porosity that only allows binding of caffeine (yeah, right!). The first beans are discarded, but here comes the second batch of beans that are now soaked in the decaffeinated soup of the first ones. In theory, since the soup is full of flavor but depleted of caffeine, the new batch of coffee beans will not any longer lose flavor when soaked into the soup – only caffeine. And there you have them: decaf flavorful beans. In my opinion, this misses several aspects of soup-making! A soup of something is very different from a freshly squeezed something. Hot-water-extracted (read modified) bean flavors are very different from roasting-modified bean flavors. This changes the taste and adds on risks that I am not necessarily eager to take. About the CO2 method, I am going to let you read more here because there is a bigger point I want to make below.
Alright, it seems that you got it: no decaf! What should you do if you drink decaf already? Let’s see in which one of the following situations you are:
- You heard or thought it was healthier. Nope, it isn’t. Easy solution: buy regular coffee. It is tastier and cheaper. Check out my coffee recipe in my store!
- You drink coffee with someone that has to drink decaf. Nobody “has to” drink it. It’s a choice you make. Let them drink decaf, say “no, thanks” and get a real coffee – or make one using my recipe
- Coffee upsets your stomach. The upset stomach is generally a result of the acidity in the drink and not a consequence of caffeine action. You may have likely experienced it with the decaf as well or worse, given the modified roasting method that applies to the making of the decaf coffee. It is only a slight chance that my recipes could help with this, but they might! It will, however, hinder your coffee enjoyment until the main cause of the heartburn is solved – this discussion is coming in a future post.
- You were told by your doctor to drink decaf. Hey, don’t denaturate the truth! The doctor likely told you to stop drinking (or drink less) coffee, not to drink decaf! That is specifically because (most of) doctors have the same concerns I have. So, then I assume you were either diagnosed with hypertension or you reported that your heart is racing when you drink coffee. For both cases, the solution will be the same. Keep reading.
- Caffeine is a drug. Coffee is a liquid drug. When you decide to administer to yourself one or the other think the same as you are thinking when you have a headache, you are offered a headache medication and you say “What else can I do because I don’t like taking drugs?“. Nine out of 10 times, this question triggers my adrenaline production. It does that not so because I am a pharmacist and I see a drug solution in everything, but because a vast majority of the people I meet fail to recognize how many drugs they take on a daily basis without even knowing! Coffee is only one of them. With that said, if you are one of those pals having 4-6 espresso servings daily, please do not tell me that you think of switching to decaf because your heart is racing. That is not a cardiac problem, that is a drug-abuse problem! On one hand, such situation may not stay under control on decaf anyway. On the other hand: anyone drinking coffee to the extent of heart-racing has taste buds developed to appreciate real coffee, so you will likely hate decaf’s taste to begin with. Luckily, toxic decaf will not be a lasting problem. Read my recipe! I got you covered.
- Hypertension. I will lay my cards straight on the table. Decaffeinated coffee is NOT the change you need. A fat-free and meatless veggie-based diet combined with daily exercise is what will let you enjoy more years of good quality real coffee! For me as a pharmacist, the presence of hypertension in a patient tells me that there is a sugar and/or cholesterol problem that went uncontrolled for sufficient time to deposit cholesterol on the blood vessels and get to this point. The one that wants you to buy the hypertension drug tells you there is an easy way out: just take this drug. I am here to tell you that you can do better not by avoiding your medication, but by acting so that you will not need it one day in the future and you will be set free. For the first step: read “Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution”. For the second step: check out my coffee recipes!
What in the world is my coffee recipe and why am I talking about it so much? Remember? I am a pharmacist and a biochemist. I understand how molecules behave in each and every environment. I know what they can do to the human body and for how long. In the end, I am a sorceress that has every skill to pick the best of the two worlds. You can minimize the caffeine impact right at home and you can control exactly how much of it you want to take out of your coffee cup in order to keep some stimulation or not at all. How can you measure it? Your body will tell you the right dose. Begin from the bottom up. Start with the lowest caffeine-content coffee, validate that you have no heart racing, then go up and settle with the right dose and taste for yourself.
PS. The only reason I charge you $1 for this recipe is for negligence. You knew already everything and never applied it. That is called negligence. I learned this from an old friend who found an old Rolex watch in his grandfather belongings, long after the old man died. Surprised, my friend took it to a watch repair shop. The guy in charge at the shop told him that he needs to dedicate appropriate time and it would be better to come next day to pick-up the watch. The following day my friend came to a like-new polished and working Rolex watch. Very excited he asked how much did the repair cost. He was asked for $100 (a fortune back then in that corner of the world, perhaps a 3-month salary of an educated man!). He paid right away and got ready to leave. “Don’t you want to know what was wrong with it?” he heard behind him. My friend stopped and asked what did he have to fix. “Nothing” came the answer. “I only charged you for negligence“.
I hope you enjoyed the reading! Check out the book links below and Dr. Alice’s Shop for the coffee recipe and many other useful recommendations. Stay healthy until next time and share what you learned!
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