The health effects of coffee have been studied to determine how coffee drinking affects humans. Coffee contains several compounds which are known to affect human body chemistry. The coffee bean itself contains chemicals which are mild psychotropics for humans as a defense mechanism of the Coffea plant. These chemicals are toxic in large doses, or even in their normal amount when consumed by many creatures which may otherwise have threatened the beans in the wild. Coffee contains caffeine, which acts as a stimulant.
Recent research has uncovered additional stimulating effects of coffee which are not related to its caffeine content. Coffee contains a currently unknown chemical agent which stimulates the production of cortisone and adrenaline, two stimulating hormones.[1]
For occasions when one wants to enjoy the flavor of coffee with almost no stimulation, decaffeinated coffee (also called decaf) is available. This is coffee from which most of the caffeine has been removed, by the Swiss water process (which involves the soaking of raw beans to remove the caffeine) or the use of a chemical solvent such as trichloroethylene (“tri”), or the more popular methylene chloride, in a similar process. Another solvent used is ethyl acetate; the resultant decaffeinated coffee is marketed as “natural decaf” because ethyl acetate is naturally present in fruit. Extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide has also been employed.
Decaffeinated coffee usually loses some flavor compared to normal coffee. There are also coffee alternatives that resemble coffee in taste but contain no caffeine (see below). These are available both in ground form for brewing and in instant form.
Caffeine dependency and withdrawal symptoms are well-documented.

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