The short answer is a resounding yes – decaffeinated coffee contains more chlorogenic acid (CGA) polyphenols than regular caffeinated coffee. We explore why this is, how much more CGA is in decaf and why CGA polyphenols are good for your health.

Why does decaffeinated coffee contain more chlorogenic acid polyphenols than regular caffeinated coffee?

This is due to the decaffeination process, which removes a significant amount of caffeine from coffee beans whilst retain beneficial compounds - especially chlorogenic acids – and actually affects the coffee bean's chemical composition - particularly the final concentration of chlorogenic acids. It’s interesting to note that higher CGA levels are found in all decaffeination methods. It seems that by removing caffeine, it actually allows higher CGA levels to remain in the roasted coffee, which is pretty amazing!

How much more chlorogenic acid polyphenols are found in decaf coffee compared to regular coffee?

More research needs to done on the specific decaffeination processes as this does vary (though they all contain higher CGA levels compared to regular caffeinated coffee).

But, to give a more specific figure, research has shown that the CGA content in decaffeinated coffee can be up to twice as high as in regular coffee.

A study entitled “Chlorogenic acids and lactones in regular and water-decaffeinated arabica coffees”, published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in 2006, focused on focused on the impact of decaffeination on the levels of chlorogenic acids (CGA) and their derivatives, 1,5-gamma-quinolactones (CGL), in both green and roasted Arabica coffees.

As part of that study the researchers concluded that decaffeinated coffee had about 50-100% more chlorogenic acids than regular coffee.

  • Decaffeination led to a 16% average increase in total CGA levels in green coffee (dry matter).
  • There was a significant 237% increase in the precursors of CGL in green coffee due to decaffeination.
  • In roasted coffees, decaffeination resulted in a moderate increase of 5.5-18% in CGL levels compared to regular coffee. This change was more in line with the levels of total CGA rather than the CGL precursors observed in green coffee.

Does Swiss Water Decaf contain more CGA than other decaffeination methods?

Yes, it seems that that Swiss Water Decaf Process coffee contains more Chlorogenic Acid Polyphenols than other decaffeination process methods.

The Swiss Water Process is known for its ability to remove caffeine while preserving a significant amount of the coffee's original flavour and chemical compounds including chlorogenic acids.

Compared to other decaffeination methods that use solvents, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, the Swiss Water Process tends to be more effective in retaining CGAs.

This is partly because solvent-based methods can extract a broader range of compounds, including CGAs, from the coffee beans.

However, it must be noted that the exact amount of CGA retained in Swiss Water decaf compared to other decaf coffees can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of coffee bean and roasting.

What are the health benefits of chlorogenic acid polyphenols (CGA)?

Chlorogenic acids are well known for their potential health benefits, encompassing antioxidant properties, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory effects and positive influences on gut health.

One of the most well-known benefits of CGA is its powerful antioxidant capacity because CGA act as scavengers neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body, which helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation - two factors linked to various chronic diseases.

Emerging research also suggests that CGA may positively influence cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure and improving lipid metabolism, which could have significant implications for heart health.

CGA has anti-inflammatory properties for conditions influenced by inflammation, such as certain autoimmune diseases.

CGA has a role in improving gut health by acting as a prebiotic, which encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and a healthier gastrointestinal system.

January 28, 2024 — Guy Wilmot

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