Does Good Decaf Tea Exist?

I Love Decaf Tea Mug From Zazzle.com

Until recently, it never occurred to me to try decaffeinated tea. I mostly kept my tea consumption confined to daylight hours, never going much beyond mid afternoon.

As my love of tea has grown, so has the urge for a post-dinner cuppa. Naturally caffeine-free herbal varieties are okay, but they are no substitute for my beloved black tea.

What I didn’t realize initially was how difficult it would be to find a good decaf tea. While doing research, I quickly learned about the four most commonly used methods used to extract the caffeine from the leaf. The CO₂ process seemed superior to the rest because it (supposedly) best retains the flavor of the original tea leaf without the use of a known carcinogen.

English Tea Store — an online tea merchant whose products and service have never disappointed me in the past — sells a decaf Irish Breakfast tea from which (according to their website) the caffeine is removed early, at the green leaf stage, using CO₂. The leaves are then left to mature. It sounded promising.

A funky chemical-like odor was the first thing I noticed when I smelled the dry tea leaves — very unusual, I thought, considering what I read about CO₂ caffeine removal. Unfortunately, that smell translated directly into a funky flavor when brewed.

The body of this decaffeinated tea was as full as English Tea Store’s regular Irish breakfast blend; however, the aroma and taste were way off. Because this was my first attempt at decaf tea, I can’t judge this tea too harshly. I have to assume that a good decaf cuppa is unattainable. Or, maybe the carcinogenic method of caffeine removal (a Methylene chloride solvent) is worth considering.

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Author: Leo Kapusta

Leo enjoys pursuing his interests in writing, web design, yoga, internet marketing, and denim. Of all the useless degrees he holds, he is most proud of his Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film (Mass Communication Sequence) from the University of Texas at Austin.

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