What is MC Decaf Coffee?

by Lars H

You’ve probably heard of Swiss water decaffeinated coffee, but have you heard of MC decaffeinated? Perhaps it will seem more familiar if I tell you that MC stands for methylene chloride, which is a chemical solvent that is used to decaffeinate the coffee beans.

MC decaf is the standard chemical method of making decaffeinated coffee that’s been around forever, before they invented Swiss water decaf method that doesn’t use that chemical.

If you look at a bag of coffee and it says decaf and doesn’t specify which method, chances are very high that they used the MC method.

is also the chemical ingredient used in paint stripper! Which makes it sound very scary, especially since the EPA is banning it from paint removal products sold to consumers.

But the truth is that after MC treatment, there is almost no methylene chloride left in the coffee beans.

The Inter-American Coffee Association says, “Based on extensive research data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that methylene chloride is safe for use in coffee decaffeination. FDA regulation allows for up to 10 parts per million (ppm) of residual methylene chloride, but actual coffee-industry practice results in levels that are 100 times lower than this amount.”

I personally stick to Swiss water decaf or mountain water decaf when I buy beans, but if I am ordering a decaf at a coffee shop or restaurant, I don’t have any worries about whether it’s MC decaf or not and don’t think it’s a big deal.

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