This weekend several coffee websites were abuzz about the Coffea charrieriana (or Charrier Coffee), which is a coffee plant that naturally has no caffeine. This made the Top 10 species list by The International Institute For Species Exploration and rightfully so. A coffee plant that can produce coffee without caffeine is a major breakthrough.
Some people won’t understand the significance of this story. They might scoff that we already have methods for removing the caffeine from coffee beans. Yes, we do, but it comes with a cost. All that additional processing to coffee results in reduced flavor. Every coffee roaster knows this. So instead of roasting to maximize flavor, the roaster will go darker and strive for more body. This is all fine and dandy if you always prefer darker roasts, but not great if you like tasting all the unique flavors found at the lighter roasts.
When I explain to people how exciting this could be they look at me in disbelief. I am reminded that I typically down 4-5 doppio espressos a day and I can handle caffeine just fine. True, I can handle that level of caffeine just fine. But perhaps I’d like the option of drinking espresso later in the day without fear of disrupted sleep. Or maybe I want to drink 10 espressos a day! I’d also like a tasty way to detox from caffeine prior to leaving the Pacific Northwest for vacations.
Cameroon – The location where the new caffeine-free species was discovered.
It will be interesting to see how many years it will take for this plant to make its way around the globe. If decaffeinated coffee ever tastes as good as regular coffee, I may be drinking coffee all day long.
IISE – Top 10 Species List (UPDATE 2023: page offline)
Accelerated Caffeine Detox – A fast way to get your caffeine intake under control.
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