Ethyl Acetate Molecule

Ethyl Acetate

Using this substance to decaffeinate coffee is often referred to as a "natural" process because ethyl acetate is a compound found in many fruits, such as apples, peaches, and pears.

This process is similar to the indirect contact method using methylene chloride described above, although ethyl acetate requires more time to absorb the caffeine.

The process begins when green coffee beans soak in a heated water/coffee solution, which gradually draws off the caffeine and flavor elements. The solution is separated from the beans and treated with ethyl acetate, a compound that absorbs caffeine.

A steaming process removes the caffeine-laden ethyl acetate from the water. The water is then retuned to the beans, which reabsorb the flavor elements. Finally, the beans are dried.

NOTE: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized by regulation the use of both methylene chloride and ethyl acetate for coffee decaffeination, According to an FDA report in the Federal Register, most decaffeinated coffee has less than 0.1 parts per million (ppm) of residual methylene chloride, 100 times less than The maximum level of 10 ppm allowed by the FDA.

Next we review the Charcoal or Carbon method.

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