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I saw this on a coffee site:

As we all know, it is really hard to get a good decaf specialty coffee. The decaf process removes oils and flavors as well as the caffeine, leaving a blah cup behind. It's a little known trick that you can "decaf" your coffee using a french press. Pour just enough hot water to cover the grounds. Let sit briefly. Press the grounds and pour off the water. As caffeine is highly soluble in water, this first extraction should pull off most of it. Then add more water to the pot, and extract as usual. Voila! A ‘decaffeinated’ coffee.

Is there any validity to this? Are you just tossing out good coffee or does this actually work? Many thanks.

  • My suggestion is to keep looking for good decaf specialty coffee. I found some decaf Ethiopian Sidamo that tastes wonderful. – Jerry101 Jun 2 '18 at 20:02
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In short: Very probably, you will lose the very best part of your coffee.

Caffeine is highly soluble, yes. But, also the other lipids and aromatics, too. So, you cannot obtain the benefits of specialty coffee if you ruin that first brew. The main taste we gain from coffee grounds are received from the soluble aromatic oils in the coffee. You don't want to loose them by pouring.

Normally, decaffeination process is made when the beans are green. That's why the aromatics are kept inside the beans when the beans are over-hydrated and then dried (in the Swiss process, which is the common way recently) a few times in a cycle to near completely remove the caffeine.

You can check the decaffeination process in the following question:

And also watch a nice explanatory animation here.

Still, if you wonder how to use the grounds for a second time, please see this discussion:

  • While waiting for an answer, I tried it and you are right. The coffee tasted like a weak, watered-down brew. A better way might be to make a 50/50 mix of regular beans and decaff beans then grind them together. – Penny11 Jun 1 '18 at 17:02

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