How does Starbucks decaffeinate its coffee?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how does Starbucks decaffeinate their coffee” with an in-depth analysis of the method used by Starbucks to remove caffeine from the coffee through the use of a solvent, known as methylene chloride.

Moreover, we are going to highlight whether the method of decaffeination used by Starbucks is safe or not, whether the decaffeinated coffee provided by Starbucks is completely caffeine-free or not, and what decaf coffee options are provided in the menu by Starbucks.

How does Starbucks decaffeinate its coffee?

The decaffeinated coffee made by Starbucks usually involves the method of using methylene chloride to remove the caffeine from coffee beans. This method involves the addition of methylene chloride solvent in the water already containing green coffee beans and then caffeine is removed upon boiling along with this solvent.

The decaffeination process can remove the caffeine to an acceptable level but still, one may find traces of caffeine in the coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee by Starbucks:

Starbucks decaffeinates their coffee by using the direct contact method, involving the mixing of a solvent, known as methylene chloride, with the green coffee beans when they are soaked. The components of the solvents form bonds with the caffeine in beans and cause the removal of the caffeine from the coffee.

The solvent is then removed through the process of roasting or boiling. In this, the water added with solvent and coffee beans is boiled. Methylene chloride has a low boiling point of about 114 degrees Fahrenheit and the coffee beans are roasted at over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the solvent easily evaporates along with the caffeine from the solution.

Starbucks decaffeinated method is harmful or not:

Methylene chloride used in the decaffeinated method by Starbucks is thought to be toxic as it can cause several conditions, including cancers. This toxic compound can be even lethal when ingested. In the decaffeinated method used by Starbucks, no detectable traces are found as the boiling or roasting of coffee beans completely evaporates this solvent.

The major problem that is thought to be problematic is the health of workers that can be compromised while dealing with this process. The fumes or vapors of this solvent may cause damage to their skin or may be inhaled and cause severe health problems.

Moreover, these fumes can also be released into the external environment and may contaminate the air in the surroundings. Therefore, we cannot say that the decaffeinated method used to remove caffeine from the coffee, employed by Starbucks, is completely safe due to the potential health risks posed by this solvent.

You can read whether decaf coffee is good or bad here.

Decaf coffee is caffeine-free may be or not:

The decaffeination process can remove the caffeine from the coffee beans but you can not say that the coffee is now completely free of caffeine. You may still find traces of caffeine in it. For example, when a cup of Starbucks decaf Pike Place was analyzed for caffeine content and compared to the regular caffeine-containing cup, the caffeine was found in small amounts in the decaffeinated one.

Pike Place Coffee cupDecafRegular Roasted
Short15 mg155 mg
Tall20 mg235 mg
Grande25 mg310 mg
Venti30 mg410 mg

Starbucks caffeine-free coffee options:

Starbucks is a world-known coffee brand that can provide you with a menu containing a wide variety of options and you can have a coffee with very wonderful quality. Some of the famous or most commonly consumed options of decaffeinated coffee by Starbucks are:

  • Espresso drink
  • Brewed coffee
  • Pour-over
  • Clover brewed Coffee
  • Iced decaf Coffee
  • Decaf frappuccinos


Decaffeination is defined as the removal of caffeine from coffee beans that are performed when the coffee beans are still green. The main purpose behind this is to make the coffee caffeine-free as caffeine has been known to be associated with a lot of health conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular problems.

The process usually involves the soaking of green coffee beans in water to extract the caffeine from the beans and then removing the caffeine using water, any solvent, or activated carbon. The coffee beans are then roasted to make them dry and to remove the traces of solvents or activated carbon added.

The solvents commonly used for decaffeination are ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, and superficial carbon dioxide. The process of decaffeination should be controlled strictly to prevent the exposure of humans to these solvents or carbon used as these compounds may cause severe health problems or even death.

Other FAQs about Coffee that you may be interested in.

What to do if I accidentally bought whole coffee beans?

What happens when adding coffee to chocolate cake?

Can coffee cause Gastritis?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how does Starbucks decaffeinate their coffee” with an in-depth analysis of the method used by Starbucks to decaffeinate their coffee beans through the use of methylene chloride.

Moreover, we discussed whether the decaffeinated coffee provided by Starbucks is completely caffeine-free or not, whether the Starbucks decaf method is harmful or not, and what are the decaf coffee options provided by Starbucks in their menu.

Citations:,two%20of%20their%20decaffeinated%20coffees.& text=As%20with%20most%20solvents%2C%20you,let%20it%20touch%20your%20skin.

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