Amuse Our Bouche: How do you remove caffeine from coffee?

Amuse Our Bouche is The A.V. Club’s column that answers your burning, boiling, and flambéed food questions.

It’s no coincidence that the two most popular non-water drinks in the world, tea and coffee, contain robust amounts of society’s most-consumed drug: caffeine. In America, consumers overwhelmingly prefer the morning joe; a recent Pew study showed that over three-quarters of those surveyed opted for coffee over tea. Of that, the vast majority never order decaf. Still, that hasn’t stopped science from perfecting the methods of decaffeination, developing a process that is a miracle of modern chemistry.

Decaffeination dates back to 1903, when a German coffee merchant, Ludwig Roselius, began experimenting with ways to remove its energizing component. As to why Roselius would be inspired to mess with what was arguably his product’s chief selling point, legend says it was out of personal vendetta. He believed too …

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