# How can they “wash away” the caffeine from Nescafe Gold to produce that “de-caf” version?

I buy and drink Nescafe Gold all the time. I also buy the smaller "caffeine-free" version of the same product. It tastes very differently, which makes me assume that the caffeine does have a lot of taste.

However, maybe it's not simply due to the lack of caffeine? Maybe the process with which they "de-caf" the original product (something about "washing it away", if I recall correctly from what I read/heard somewhere at some point) also removes other ingredients?

How can they possibly "wash away" just the caffeine from instant coffee like that?

Unless the truth is that the entire products are "built" from the ground up, separately for the caffeine-including and caffeine-less products, and the latter is not "based on" the former at all?

Even if so, they still have to "wash away" the caffeine from the raw coffee, which puts us back on square one...

• Far away to know the process in details you are right for that whatever process won't specifically target just caffeine. Or better the target is caffeine but minor flavours and components will be affected too. – Alchimista Feb 10 at 11:05
• Decaffeination usually proceeds via extraction of caffeine from the beans using supercritical $\ce{CO2}$. – Buck Thorn Feb 10 at 11:32
• In the words of an old coffee commercial, “the natural effervescence that makes water sparkle” was used to ‘wash away’ the caffeine. – Ed V Feb 10 at 13:05