DO I REALLY NEED TO DO WITHOUT COFFEE AND CAFFEINE?
Drinking a lot, little stress and a healthy diet, that’s what pregnant women keep hearing. But what about coffee during pregnancy? Is the popular drink really completely banned? Whether black tea or coffee during pregnancy, in the end it’s more about the caffeine content than the beans themselves. At Flatberry we offer you some alternatives to classic filter coffee and espresso.
An important note in advance: Every pregnant woman is different and every body reacts differently to stimulants such as caffeine. To be on the safe side, you should consult your doctor about whether you can drink coffee during pregnancy.
A cup of good espresso in the morning, a cup or two of filter coffee at work and a good Americano with cakes and biscuits in the afternoon, this is what everyday life looks like for many people. As coffee lovers, we also appreciate that the drink wakes us up, but only increases the concentration to such an extent that everyday tasks are carried out more quickly. Many guides claim that pregnant women should avoid coffee during pregnancy.
HOW YOUR CHILD REACTS ON PREGNANCY COFFEE
You look forward to your baby and like to adapt your diet to pregnancy. But to do without coffee completely during pregnancy? However, it is not at all because of the drink itself. You should drink a lot during pregnancy – only if possible without caffeine. Caffeine is not a problem for adult people. It stimulates the circulation and increases the pulse slightly, which makes us feel awake. Our body gradually breaks down the caffeine after drinking and it is excreted a few hours later. However, your baby does not yet have the enzymes to break down caffeine.
So if you drink coffee during pregnancy, the caffeine crosses the placenta and gets into your child’s circulation. It stays there much longer than in the rest of your body. A Norwegian study found that coffee reduced the birth weight of babies by 21 to 28 grams during pregnancy. More caffeine led to higher weight loss. A healthy baby can handle the slight difference. However, if health is pre-stressed, it becomes a problem.
IS NO COFFEE IN PREGNANCY BETTER?
Up to 3 cups of coffee during pregnancy can be drunk easily every day. You should also make sure that the caffeine content is not too high. A stronger roast also banishes the acid from the beans, which can hit the stomach. It is of course up to you whether you, as an expectant mother, want to completely change your diet and avoid drinking coffee during pregnancy. Although the studies show that up to three cups of coffee a day are not a problem for the baby, you can take it safe and not drink coffee, black tea, or other caffeinated drinks.
You should definitely avoid concentrated drinks such as energy drinks and caffeine supplements. They contain a much higher dose than a few cups of coffee and are generally unsuitable for a conscious diet.
OUR ALTERNATIVE: DRINKING CAFFEINE FREE OR DECAF COFFEE IN PREGNANCY
At Flatberry we know that not only pregnant women like to avoid caffeine. That is why we have included decaffeinated blends in our range. Regardless of whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding as a mother or simply looking for a healthy alternative, decaffeinated coffee is always an option. The coffee beans are prepared either with Swiss Water method, Sugar Cane method, DCM method and CO2 method. Otherwise, roasting and preparation take place as with any type of coffee.
Various methods are used to decaffeinate coffee. The goal is to remove the caffeine from the still unroasted coffee bean and to lose only as few flavors as possible through the process. There are various methods for this, which have different advantages and disadvantages. The procedure is more or less similar for all processes:
- Moisten or steam to cause the bean to swell
- Rinsing out the caffeine
First of all, we at Flatberry only use the water methods (Swiss Water or Mountain Water method) and the sugar cane method (Sugar Cane or E.A. method). All other methods are out of of question for us. Although all methods are considered harmless according to the European guidelines we feel most comfortable when either only water or a solvent is used which is made on a natural basis.
Swiss water or mountain water method
When decaffeinating, the coffee bean is first made to swell with warm water or steam. Then the caffeine is extracted from the bean. This removes the solid components of the coffee bean, including the caffeine. The water, which now contains all solid components of the coffee bean, is passed through an activated carbon filter and the caffeine is filtered out. All other aroma carriers remain in the water.
In the next step, new beans are added to the decaffeinated water and the caffeine is extracted with this water, which no longer contains caffeine. This process is repeated until the bean has reached the desired level of decaffeination.
The beans are then dried. The advantage of this process is that it completely does without solvents. The main disadvantage is the high cost, since the washed out caffeine cannot be reused. In other processes, the caffeine is sold to companies that manufacture soft drinks or energy drinks.
Sugar cane method
In the Sugar Cane method, a solvent is made from molasses and acetic acid (ethyl acetate). Both products are completely natural. Again, the beans are first made to swell with steam and then the caffeine is washed out with the naturally produced ethyl acetate. The ethyl acetate is cleaned again and again during the process and the undesired substances such as caffeine are separated from the solvent. This ensures that the solvent can be reused several times. The beans are then treated with steam several times and washed to remove any residues of the ethyl acetate.
One advantage of this method is that the raw materials (sugar cane and vinegar) for the production of ethyl acetate can be obtained on site in the coffee growing areas.
Of course, ethyl acetate can also be produced chemically. So here you have to look closely at how the solvent was made.
Other procedures are:
- Decaffeination with dichloromethane (DCM)
- Decaffeination with CO2
Dichloromethane (DCM) method
This procedure works almost the same as the Sugar Cane method. However, dichloromethane (DCM) is used as a solvent. The DCM flows through the steamed coffee beans, releases the caffeine and is then cleaned. The process is repeated several times until the bean has reached the desired caffeine content. The beans are then freed of the DCM again under vacuum with the help of water damping.
According to the legislator (Technical Aid Ordinance) DCM can be contained in coffee with up to 2mg / kg. However, DCM is banned in many European countries due to health concerns.
The advantage of the process is the relatively low cost and the use of caffeine for other products. The disadvantage is that DCM is classified as harmful to health.
With this method, the caffeine is released from the coffee bean using supercritical gases under increased pressure and temperature. CO2 has the property of releasing the caffeine from the bean very quickly. There are two different methods for this method: the discontinuous method and the continuous method. The continuous method is a further development of the discontinuous method. In the first phase, the beans are steamed again with water and then flushed with the CO2 under high pressure. The CO2 is then not freed of the caffeine in an activated carbon filter as in the discontinuous method, but flushed out with water. The CO2 is then used again until the desired caffeine content is reached.
The advantage of this method is the reuse of the caffeine and the comparatively low cost.
Old methods still partially used
In the past, a lot of coffee was decaffeinated with benzene. The procedure is the same as the DCM procedure. However, benzene is classified as harmful to health and is therefore no longer used.
What does decaffeinated coffee actually mean?
The residual caffeine content in the European Union is 0.1 percent. So a kilogram of dry roasted coffee has less than 1 gram of caffeine. A normal coffee is around 15 grams or 1.5 percent per kilogram of roasted coffee.