The DeCaf Company, LLC, an advanced polymers research and prototype company that has invented and patented high-tech polymers, today announced a scientific breakthrough that will allow coffee or tea drinkers to reduce and control the amount of caffeine within their beverages -- all within a matter of seconds -- and without compromising the taste and quality of the drink.
For the first time, consumers can enjoy lattes, green tea and other coffee drinks while reducing the common side effects associated with caffeine such as jitters and headaches. And, for those decaffeinated coffee drinkers, it's a new world out there full with easy-to "self-decaffeinate" coffee/tea choices.
"Coffee remains the number one drink among Americans next to water," states Mel Stuckey, CEO of The DeCaf Company. "We have developed a technology that will enable consumers to control their caffeine intake without compromising the taste or quality of their coffee. For many, this will help them escape the 'common ails of coffee' such as headaches, jitters, etc. For others, it means that they can enjoy new, gourmet coffee blends that were not initially available to them in decaffeinated form. There is a great potential for this technology not only for coffee and tea, but for all caffeinated beverages. We are excited that this technology is now available to be acquired and marketed so the general public can experience this breakthrough in beverage science."
The scientific innovation, called "MIPs" (molecularly-imprinted polymers), is applied and used in tandem with the traditional coffee stirrer or cup. The stirrer or cup is coated with harmless molecular polymer beads that specifically attract caffeine molecules. As the consumer stirs the beverage, the caffeine molecules bind to the MIPs-imprinted stirring sticks or MIPs coated sides of the cup, rapidly reducing the levels of caffeine within the drink itself. The longer the consumer leaves the stirrer in the cup, the more caffeine is removed. With just a few swirls, caffeine can be reduced to up to 70 percent in most drinks.
The patented technique was developed by Dr. Anna Leone, Chief Scientist at The DeCaf Company, and is now ready to be licensed. The MIPs approach to caffeine reduction will offer coffee connoisseurs a new, heightened level of convenience and enjoyment.
According to the National Coffee Association's 2006 National Coffee Drinking Trends report, 82% of adult Americans drink coffee and 56% drink coffee daily -- with an 80% caffeinated and 20% decaffeinated mix. Among these drinkers, 72% have purchased "gourmet" coffee.
Until now, most decaffeination methods occurs in large batches and involve scrubbing, chemically treating, heating, or interfering with coffee beans which can significantly alter or "water down" the taste and aroma of the coffee. Given the MIPs technique allows consumers to "self-decaffeinate" directly within the cup, the original taste and aroma are preserved. In addition, it offers an environmentally friendly way to enjoy coffee as there has been no chemical treatment necessary to decaffeinate the coffee beans.
The MIPs caffeine reduction technique may also hugely impact consumer coffee purchasing trends. Americans spend an approximated $9.2B in the retail sector and an additional $8.7B in the foodservice sector each year for coffee-related consumption, according to The Specialty Coffee Association of America's (SCAA) 1999 Market Report. With the MIPs approach, a consumer can bypass ordering "a half and half" (half caffeinated and half decaffeinated coffee) at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, and alternately reduce the caffeine content to the level that he or she wants. Or, a family could opt to purchase one bag of coffee instead of having to buy two to accommodate a decaf household member.
The DeCaf Company, LLC is an advanced polymers research and prototype company that has invented and patented high-tech polymers that can decaffeinate coffee, tea and other beverages by the individual serving. Unlike today's large-batch decaffeination of raw coffee beans, the DeCaf method is performed effortlessly by the cup just before drinking. This new decaffeination is done naturally without altering the coffee bean or tea leaves with steam or heat, and equally important to health-conscious consumers, without the use of any chemicals.
Led by CEO and Chairman Mel Stuckey, The DeCaf Company is privately-held and based in San Francisco, Calif.