Can you get a decaffeinated caramel macchiato? Certainly! Any coffee beverage can be brewed using decaffeinated beans; however, this coffee raises a lot of questions, and most baristas don’t welcome decaf.
How is decaf coffee made? Traditionally, green coffee beans are steamed for about half an hour or soaked in hot water for a short time. Then, they are soaked in water that contains a solvent, either dichloromethane or ethyl acetate, for 10 hours. The solvent binds well to the caffeine, but after that, the manufacturer has to get rid of the solvent. This is done by evaporation, which takes about 10 more hours. In the case of using ethyl acetate made of fruits or cane sugar, this method is called “natural,” but don’t be swayed by a marketing ploy.
In fact, in 95% of cases when this method is employed, an industrially synthesized chemical compound is used, albeit a low-toxic one. Most decaf coffee on the market is made in this way. Don’t think that this coffee is very harmful since only too small and permissible amounts of these substances remain in it. Still, after all these procedures, the taste of coffee also changes. Nowadays, there is no way to remove caffeine without affecting the rest of the components that form the taste. As a result, this coffee always tastes more sour, and its flavor is barely perceptible.
My opinion is that decaf coffee should only be drunk by those people who have serious medical contraindications or, in some cases, by pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you value coffee for its taste, decaf drinks won’t let you enjoy it to the fullest.
If a coffee house doesn’t serve decaf beverages, ask the barista to brew a latte macchiato or any other ristretto-based drink. Ristretto is an espresso made of finely ground beans and less water. To put it simply, it is a “restricted” espresso, meaning that you restrict the water supply and less water saturates the ground coffee, resulting in lower caffeine. This drink can be made at home if you have an espresso machine.