24 June 2004

Natural Decaf Now Available

Real, natural, decaffeinated coffee from Ethiopia has just been discovered by Brazilian scientists. The decaffeination process available today results in the loss of important flavor compounds, and this results in a lesser-flavored coffee. Decaffeinated coffee makes up about 10% of the world's coffee market. Lead researcher Paulo Mazzafera, a professor of vegetal physiology at the Institute of Biology of the State University of Campinas in Brazil, said:
"This coffee plant has approximately 20 times less caffeine then regular coffee, and double the caffeine of industrially produced decaf coffee."
According to Nature magazine where the study will be published this week, "caffeine-free coffee plants have been found before, growing wild in Madagascar but they yield inferior beans unsuited for coffee production." This discovery is the first time ever anyone has found coffee belonging to the species Coffea arabica with naturally-occuring decaffeinated properties. Coffea arabica beans are the most cultivated and consumed coffee in the world. The newly discovered variety lacks the gene for an enzyme that is required to make caffeine.

Caffeine has been known to raise blood pressure, trigger palpitations and disrupt sleep. This is good news for hypertensive and people with heart conditions. They can now enjoy their full-bodied coffee fix minus the harm. According to Reuters, "If the decaffeinated arabica is commercially productive, naturally decaffeinated coffee could be on the market in 5 or 6 years."

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