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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...

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  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Feb 10 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ Decaffeination usually proceeds via extraction of caffeine from the beans using supercritical $\ce{CO2}$. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Feb 10 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ In the words of an old coffee commercial, “the natural effervescence that makes water sparkle” was used to ‘wash away’ the caffeine. $\endgroup$ – Ed V Feb 10 at 13:05
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In general they use different types of solvents and methods to wash away the caffeine (or at least a great percentage of it) from the coffee beans , you can find more information here : https://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/04/how-decaffeinated-coffee-is-made/

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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure that DCM is still used? I know that it was employed in the 70s, but I don't think that nowadays it would be allowed in food processing $\endgroup$ – The_Vinz Feb 10 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah , I am not sure that it is still used today considering there are other alternatives but for example if you are doing a caffeine extraction in the lab and not on an industrial scale you can use this method and obtain quite a pure product $\endgroup$ – David Sterlinsky Feb 10 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidSterlinsky But you can't drink it to compare the taste, so it does not address the OP's question. Supercritical carbon dioxide is popular for extracting caffeine. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Theis Feb 10 at 21:53

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