blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Researchers may have missed the boat on most recent decaf study

Jim Eastman drew my attention to this article that seems to have gotten worldwide press.

I suggest you watch the video because that's where he talks about the species of coffee plant used for decaf.

The "results" were that decaf coffee drinking increased levels of "bad" fatty acids. But the researcher, Robert Superko from the Piedmont-Mercer Center for Health and Learning at the Fuqua Heart Center in Atlanta Georgia, states that the decaf beans being used were Robusta beans instead of Arabica. The subjects in the study who were drinking regular coffee were presumably drinking Arabica bean coffee. I have previously posted some statistics about the vast differences between the two species.

This coffee chemistry website gives great information about the chemicals contained in coffee, and often cites differences between the Arabica and Robusta species. Robusta beans contain almost twice the levels of chlorogenic acids, twice the caffeine and half the levels of carbohydrates as Arabica beans. As a result, the decaffeination process would result in a different chemical composition of the finished product, depending on if you are decaffeinating Arabica or Robusta.

It's too bad that in this study they didn't use Arabica beans for both varieties of coffee. They introduced a confounding variable so that now the study only tells us that drinking decaf Robusta beans specifically seems to increase some unhealthy fatty acids.

The bottom line is that at Phoenix, we will still continue to label the decaf decanter "Why Bother?"


Anonymous javajoe said...

Hey Sarah,

Thanks for posting a link to my site. I did a little blurb on the same story.

1:40 PM, December 06, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home