“I Drink My Coffee Decaffeinated” – Are You Sure?

Coffee remains the Germans’ favorite beverage, yet many coffee drinkers prefer the decaffeinated alternative. But decaffeinated coffee always contains a certain residual amount of caffeine. How can this content level be verified?

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Coffee remains the Germans’ favorite beverage. The overall coffee market grew by 1.5 percent in 2020, as home office and lockdown led to an increase in coffee consumption at home. Last year, per capita coffee consumption was 168 liters. [1].

Yet many coffee drinkers prefer the decaffeinated alternative, due to such conditions as high blood pressure, sensitive stomach or interaction with pharmaceuticals. But decaffeinated coffee always contains a certain residual amount of caffeine: The European Union allows a residual amount of 0.1% caffeine in the unroasted beans for the sale of decaffeinated coffee. How can this content level be verified?

Detection of residual caffeine in decaffeinated instant coffee

We analyzed four different types of instant coffee, with and without caffeine, using the NETZSCH TGA-GC-MS method. The coupling of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to a thermal analyzer allows for the precise identification of the gas species emitted. The primary scope of TGA/STA-GC-MS coupling is to detect, separate and analyze organic components.

Learn more in our latest application literature about:

  • The difference between instant coffee and brewed coffee
  • Investigation of different instant coffees with and without caffeine using the NETZSCH STA 449 F3 Jupiter® coupled to the Agilent GC 8890 and Agilent MDS 5975 to determine the caffeine content
  • Detection of residual caffeine in decaffeinated instant coffee using Evolved Gas Analysis

More knowledge through coupling techniques

The technique of TGA-GC-MS offers a great variety of different options for analyzing and comparing different food products. This method can also detect and analyze substances such as additives, stabilizers and solvents in the food and chemical industries, in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, and in testing laboratories. Continuous high heating of the transfer system allows for the condensation-free transfer of substances that boil at high temperatures. Due to the high sensitivity of the GC-MS system, even traces in the μg range and lower of gases released can be detected. For more information, please visit our website.

Sources:
[1] German Coffee Association

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