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Separating Mixtures

Outlines five common ways to separate mixtures

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Regular or Decaf

Regular or Decaf

Credit: Kenny Louie
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwl/3457656569/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

For many people, the day doesn’t really start until they have that first cup of coffee. This beverage is enjoyed by millions around the world, either at home, in restaurants, specialty coffee shops, or drive-through coffee stands. Some coffee drinkers like the full impact of the caffeine, while others prefer less of this stimulant. Decaffeinated coffee has become a staple for many who like the taste of coffee, but not the effects of the caffeine.

Why It Matters

  • Caffeine in the body can contribute to increases in blood pressure and heart rate in some people. It also has psychological effects, such as anxiety and agitation. Removal of most of the caffeine will result in a lower intake/cup of coffee.
  • Decaffeination occurs before the coffee beans are ground. There are several different techniques available, but all involve some form of solvent extraction. Care must be taken to remove caffeine without significantly affecting the levels of oils and other compounds that contribute to the flavor of the coffee.
  • License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    A coffee bean before decaffination [Figure2]

  • In some decaffeination approaches, an organic solvent is employed for caffeine removal. Although the solvent extraction technique is more effective than simple water extraction, there are concerns about the solvent residue, which could be harmful to the body.

Can You Apply It?

Use the links below to answer the following questions.

  1. List three methods used for the decaffeination of coffee.
  2. How much caffeine is in a typical cup of decaf coffee? In a regular cup?
  3. Can people who drink decaf coffee still have adverse effects to caffeine?
  4. What is the caffeine comparison between lattes and a popular soft drink?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Kenny Louie; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwl/3457656569/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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