Does Decaffeinated Coffee Contain Formaldehyde?

(Republished from the Aug. 2011 Healing Harvest Newsletter)

coffee_cupWhat an unappetizing question!  There are two things that I have found many men to be most passionate about in their diets, and they are… meat and coffee.  First off, there is a small amount of formaldehyde present in coffee beans (naturally occurring) that is released during the high temperature roasting process.  Unlike tea, coffee contains a very hard shell around the bean, and often times solvents are used in the lengthy decaffeinating process.  The beans can have direct or indirect contact with these substances. 

Though it is believed that coffee is no longer processed with formaldehyde in the US, though the FDA allows formaldehyde in present day vaccines and other food substances that convert to formaldehyde derivatives in the human body – such as aspartame, it is best to contact the company to know for sure what type of process they use.  Water processes followed by ethylene acetate (naturally occurring in fruits and veggies) are more natural methods, and that is where the term “naturally decaffeinated” comes from.

However, it is interesting that some people report the smell of formaldehyde or allergic reactions (in formaldehyde sensitive individuals) to some coffee brands- this should make us all think twice to what is really in there.  Though it is true that there are some beneficial substances in coffee, it is also true that in some studies, even a cup of day can interfere with fertility.  Caffeine can have devastating effects on our health as well.  (Less is best, none is divine).  So if you have to have that coffee from time to time (or more frequently than that), make sure it is a good one and you know what is in there- all the way to the last drop!

13 Comments on “Does Decaffeinated Coffee Contain Formaldehyde?

  1. I looked at what the NIH says about the toxic effects of formaldehyde on the nervous system and little seems to be known. I am curious if there is a test that can determine if formaldehyde is present in coffee?

  2. coffee is full of antioxidants
    people in the USA get their antioxidants from coffee more than fro any other source.
    to tell people to quit it is damaging,
    (unless they start eating blueberries or other source daily etc…)

    what they should do, is learn about coffee
    grinding your own beans, and using a metal filter instead of paper
    can increase the antioxidant level 5x or more.
    it also tastes a LOT better.

    • Dear Greenman62,
      Well said! “To tell people to quit drinking coffee is damaging.” Coffee has many benefits to our health, that being said, too much of anything, even coffee can hurt us; but we should not STOP or quit drinking coffee in moderation. Also, learning about coffee and where it comes and how it is roasted and process can be beneficial.
      Thank you for your words of wisdom,


  3. I really wanted to share this on facebook, but can’t.

  4. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your submit is just nice and that i can think
    you’re knowledgeable on this subject. Thanks one million and please continue the gratifying work.

  5. Cowboy coffee doesn’t have to be bad. After all, you have all the supplies needed to brew great coffee: high-quality grounds, water, a heat source and a pot for brewing. Here’s how you can make cowboy coffee that would rival what you brew at home:
    Add water to your pot and bring it to a boil.
    Once the water’s boiling, remove the pot from your fire and let it sit for 30 seconds. This will lower the water temperature to 200°F — the perfect temperature for brewing coffee.
    Add 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water. (You may want to measure how much water your pot holds and how much coffee a spoon you bring holds before going camping so you can measure accurately.)
    Stir the grounds into the water.
    Let the brew sit for 2 minutes and stir again.
    Let the coffee sit for 2 more minutes.
    After a total of 4 minutes of brewing, sprinkle a little cold water on the grounds. Yes, this actually does help them settle to the bottom.
    Slowly pour the coffee, so the grounds remain on the bottom of the pot.
    Your coffee will taste best if it’s poured immediately after brewing. Coffee that sits in a pot with grounds will quickly become over-extracted and bitter. If you’d like a second cup, either brew another pot or pack a thermal carafe to keep your coffee hot in.

    • Cowboy coffee sounds very much like making coffee in a French press. Only difference between your discription is that with a press you have a screen to push the grounds to the bottom of the chamber. Also, the press is glass and the screen is stainless steel. Just like “Cowboy Coffee” the coffee brews in the water like tea, then the grounds are pressed to the bottom in a press and the Cowboy Coffee settles to the bottom by itself.The container with the bbn press is just big enough for a few cups, so it doesn’t sit in the grounds. After traveling in the UK and experiencing this , a French Press is all I use for my coffee. I can Always tell when its not made that way.I like to grind it right before putting it into the water. There is no fresher way to drink coffee.

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