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Scientists Work Towards Naturally Caffeine-Free Coffee 312

Posted by timothy
from the preemptive-buzzkill dept.
First time accepted submitter eternaldoctorwho writes "Research has been underway to produce a coffee bean plant that naturally has no or little caffeine content. Now, it looks like that might become a reality in the near future: Paulo Mazzafera of the University of Campinas in Brazil has come closer than ever with a strain containing 'only 2% of normal caffeine levels.' Coffee, anyone?"
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Scientists Work Towards Naturally Caffeine-Free Coffee

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  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:30AM (#39363723) Homepage

    It's like a car without wheels or a computer without a CPU.

    • by Idbar (1034346) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:36AM (#39363829)
      Agree. Like I care to get coffee for the taste. If I want something tasty, very likely it will be a smoothie or plain juice. I wonder if Starbucks has statistics about the consumption of decaf?
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:45AM (#39363979) Homepage Journal

        STOP THESE PEOPLE!

        Decaffeinated, Sugar Free, Low Fat Guardians to the GAtes of Hell!

        Those things are not a problem.

        • by neurophil12 (1054552) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:19AM (#39364517)
          I would love such a drink. I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine, but I enjoy coffee quite a bit. In fact, the stuff is more likely to put me to sleep than keep me awake, so I tend to enjoy coffee after some dinners rather than early or during the day. Occasionally I have a cup of decaf during the day. If this coffee becomes available I'd drink it much more frequently than I drink coffee now.

          I've heard of others like myself, though I doubt we're a particularly large portion of the population, so we are probably not a major reason for this research. Still, why are you so against people having a less processed low-caffeine option? And how is railing against such a possibility with zero facts or specific arguments in any way insightful?
          • Because it's /. and most of this is tongue-in-cheek anyway.

            Personally, I would love to have non-processed coffee after dinner and not be up the rest of the night.
          • Same here. I enjoy a large cup of freshly ground coffee in the mornings. Caffeine has very little effect on me after I've been drinking coffee regularly for a few days, but the withdrawal headaches if I don't have any for a couple of days are incapacitating. I'd love to drink caffeine free coffee with the same taste.
          • by jimbolauski (882977) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @12:07PM (#39365299) Journal

            I would love such a drink. I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine, but I enjoy coffee quite a bit. In fact, the stuff is more likely to put me to sleep than keep me awake, so I tend to enjoy coffee after some dinners rather than early or during the day. Occasionally I have a cup of decaf during the day. If this coffee becomes available I'd drink it much more frequently than I drink coffee now. I've heard of others like myself, though I doubt we're a particularly large portion of the population, so we are probably not a major reason for this research. Still, why are you so against people having a less processed low-caffeine option? And how is railing against such a possibility with zero facts or specific arguments in any way insightful?

            You might have ADHD, caffeine has been shown to treat the effects of ADHD, many people with ADHD claim that drinking coffee before bead calms them down and they fall asleep much easier.

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          In the process of making decaf coffee, they produce raw caffeine, which they can then add to soft drinks, and stay-awake pills.

          Your Mountain Dew comes as a direct result of my decaf coffee!

          This new variant will reduce the amount of raw caffeine available, or they will have to start growing crops just for the caffeine content, but it doesn't make sense to do this at all, when they could just keep making decaf coffee.

          Also, caffeine is an insecticide. These uncaffeinated coffee plants will be more susceptible

      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        I wonder if Starbucks has statistics about the consumption of decaf?

        I would expect so since some time ago they stopped brewing pots of decaf coffee after noon local time. I would hole that this decision was based on some hard data. It didn't make sense to me though. I prefer decaf later in the day so I can hopefully get to sleep at night.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:37AM (#39363851)

      It's like taking the cocaine out of Coca-Cola.

    • It's like a car without wheels or a computer without a CPU.

      Yeah, this was also my first reaction.

      But some people (like me) have trouble sleeping if they have coffee after 4-5 PM; so it would be nice to be able to have a real coffee (not a decaf) after dinner.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        So, you're saying you actually like the taste of coffee?
        • So, you're saying you actually like the taste of coffee?

          Like ? No, love !

        • by arth1 (260657)

          So, you're saying you actually like the taste of coffee?

          Coffee made the European way tastes very nice to my palate.

          Coffee made the American way, not so much. It is generally lighter roasted (first crack) and brewed much slower (slow-drip), which brings out a lot of acidity and caffeine. Add that Central American beans are generally higher in organic acids than African grown beans. So to compensate, it's often made much weaker, generally using about half the amount of coffee grounds.
          And yes, coffee brewed the American way includes Starbucks - it's just stronge

          • by Prune (557140) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:11PM (#39367673)
            And yet, some of the top baristas in the world, as shown by international competitions, are to be found in North America (for example, the founder of Vancouver's Caffe Artigiano was in the top three in the World Barista Championships multiple years). The west coast is particularly good for this. Seattle in the US and Vancouver in Canada have several small chains with extremely well trained staff and who commonly purchase their coffees from auctions offering selections of best-of crops for a given growing season. In other places in North America, however, it can be a bit harder to find good coffee, let alone a barista that can pull a proper espresso show by knowing how to properly adjust his tamping technique and tweak the grinder setting each day as a batch of roasted coffee ages and requires these adjustments daily. The reverse side of this coin is that there is a significant community of amateur coffee geeks who can give the pros a run for their money (you can get a pretty good coffee roaster online for little over $100, and a decent burr grinder for about the same)--enthusiasm and experimentation can go a long way.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          According to this article [boingboing.net], coffee falls into the "acquired tastes" category. Almost nobody likes it at first, but eventually your brain starts to associate the taste with receiving a drug (caffeine) and starts to interpret the taste of coffee as pleasurable. I think very few people would "like" (black) coffee if they only ever tasted decaffeinated coffee. Just as nobody would smoke if there was no drug involved. Also, even most coffee drinkers I know don't actually like coffee. Being in Canada, I know pl
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      That was my first thought. The only reasons I drink coffee is it makes my mind sharper, wakes me up in the morning, and I'm addicted to it. Without caffiene, coffee is worthless. I never could understand why anyone drank decaf.

    • Agreed. What good is non-caffeine coffee? I know of no one who actually drinks coffee just for the taste of it...even gourmet and flavored coffees. Maybe de-caff coffee is for people who can't drink coffee (due to religion or medical reasons) but want to "fit in" to crowds that do break-room or hallway gossip...I'm conjecturing.
      • I drink coffee mainly for the taste. But you don't know me so you are still correct.
      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Agreed. What good is non-caffeine coffee? I know of no one who actually drinks coffee just for the taste of it...even gourmet and flavored coffees. Maybe de-caff coffee is for people who can't drink coffee (due to religion or medical reasons) but want to "fit in" to crowds that do break-room or hallway gossip...I'm conjecturing.

        No one that drinks coffee for the taste drinks "flavored coffee". They'd rather drink coffee that was pooped out of a monkey than drink vanilla flavored coffee.

      • IMO, flavored (as in when the bean is somehow flavored, not a syrup) coffees taste worse. :P
      • by Creepy (93888)

        Well, de-caf coffee is not entirely caffeine free, so if I were a religious zealot averse to caffeine, I'd avoid it. On that note, fruit is not alcohol free (nearly all fruit contains some natural fermentation) and fruit is almost essential for human survival without artificial supplements (for its vitamin C content ya scurvy dogs!), so I guess there is a fine line to be drawn...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        I only drink coffee for the taste. Caffeine has very little effect on me, so drinking it for the drug would be a waste of time. The thing is, coffee is kind of like salt. I love the taste, but I don't want to drink coffee straight any more than I want to eat a bowl of salt straight. Some salt on my steak, and some coffee in my sugared cream.. Now that is tasty.
    • The idiots! What's next, a rose without a scent? Sex without babies? Hey, wait a second....

    • That excludes flying cars, and flying cars would be AWESOME.

      How they currently make decaf [ineedcaffeine.com]
      • by arth1 (260657)

        That excludes flying cars, and flying cars would be AWESOME.

        Not over my house.

    • by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @12:13PM (#39365435)

      Couldn't these scientists build better weapons or something else useful?

    • Absolutely true.

      If you worry about caffeine, then you have to avoid other vegetables that have small amounts of caffeine in them, but most of all you have to avoid Red Bull.

    • by moco (222985)

      Or orgasm-less sex

  • Blasphemy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeavyDDuty (2506392) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:31AM (#39363735)
    If it has no caffeine it isn't coffee. Yes, this includes decaf.
    • by delt0r (999393) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:34AM (#39363787)
      It is like an energy free Energy drink! Sheesh, if ya don't want caffeine, perhaps coffee is not a good choice of drink? It is like a skier that doesn't like snow. There should be something about the wookie defense in here somewhere too. It does not make sense.
      • by CRCulver (715279)

        It is like an energy free Energy drink!

        There may well be a market for that. I drink Red Bull for the taste, but I don't need the energy effects (and in any event, my body has long since built up a tolerance to the caffeine). Thus I think it would be nice if there were a caffeine-free version of this drink.

        • by delt0r (999393)
          Well there really are "sugar free energy drinks". Hilarity ensued when i saw the billboard a while ago. Don't remember the brand.
          • by arth1 (260657)

            Well there really are "sugar free energy drinks". Hilarity ensued when i saw the billboard a while ago. Don't remember the brand.

            Most of them, it seems. Look at the ingredient list the next time, and you'll be surprised how many of them have sucralose (Splenda) as a sweetener.
            I simply can't drink anything with Sucralose - the five minute aftertaste I get is frankly disgusting.

            Is it too much to ask to get an energy drink with water, cane sugar, caffeine, nicotine, tauric acid and phosphoric acid - completely free of artificial sweeteners and vitamins?

      • by dtmos (447842) *

        It is like a skier that doesn't like snow.

        Like many semi-tropical regions, Florida is full of skiers that don't like snow. (I was 12 when I first heard of snow skiing. Before then, "skiing" meant what I now know to be "water skiing.")

    • If it tastes just like coffee (unlike the decaf crap) but doesn't keep me awake at night I'm all for it.
    • After the late night host David Letterman had bypass surgery, he had to switch to decaf. It was a running joke for weeks:
      "Decaffinated coffee: It's just useless warm, brown water."

      He even had a jingle created every time he mentioned it.

      Decaffinated coffeeee--it's what they serve in Hell
      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:10AM (#39364359) Homepage Journal

        Decaffinated coffeeee--it's what they serve in Hell

        A thief dies in a gun battle with police, and when he reaches hell, he's given a tour and told he has a choice of how he spends eternity.

        The first place he is shown has a man with oozing sores all over hime, in agony.

        The next one shown is a man chained to a wall.

        The next room has a bunch of people up to their waists in raw sewage drinking coffee. The murderous thief says "I guess that's my choice." He's given a cup of coffee and wades into the cesspool.

        The next thing he hears is "Ok everybody, coffee break's over. Go back to standing on your heads."

    • IAWTC, but I'm laughing at all the people saying that the caffeine is the only reason to drink coffee. Some of us drink it black, and we like it that way!

      I don't drink coffee all that much because I can't seem to develop a tolerance that lets me take more than 3-500 mg a day without getting really sick, but when I do it's definitely for the taste. I can get my caffeine in much more measured doses other ways, so when I drink coffee it's despite the caffeine. Decaf can go fuck itself until it tastes good thou

  • by Warhawke (1312723) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:34AM (#39363789)
    Wicked, tricksy, false! It chokeses, burnses us! Gollum! Gollum!
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:34AM (#39363797)

    "Scientists Work Towards Naturally Caffeine-Free Coffee"

    Why would anyone do such a thing?

    • I've been drinking coffee for 50 years. No grandchildren yet, and I intend to be around to watch them grow up.

      Yeah, yeah -- not a reason most people on /. can identify with.

      • I've been drinking coffee for 50 years. No grandchildren yet, and I intend to be around to watch them grow up.

        Yeah, yeah -- not a reason most people on /. can identify with.

        I on the other hand, intend to be awake *sip*.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I've been drinking coffee for 50 years. No grandchildren yet, and I intend to be around to watch them grow up.

        Then you should start drinking coffee. It has a lot of health benefits, [harvard.edu] including warding off dementia and slowing the brain's aging process. Of course, if you have a medical condition that precludes it, you shouldn't drink it, but barring that, coffee is good for you.

        Cancer. Coffee might have anti-cancer properties. Last year, researchers found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to get liver

  • So you have a brown bitter liquid which lacks the characteristics of coffee?
    We already have that, it's called E150 [wikipedia.org]
  • This Is Just Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:35AM (#39363809)
    And we wonder why people see scientists as evil, soulless bastards out to destroy the very fabric of society? Doesn't this university have an ethics committee?
  • Non caffeinated coffee is like non alcoholic beer! And you can't tell me you drink either for the taste!
  • What's next? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mordejai (702496) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:43AM (#39363929)

    I wonder what other abominations they'll come up with next...

    Non-alcoholic beer?
    Sugar-free candy?
    Fat-free milk?

    Oh, wait...

    • by Applekid (993327)

      A nice cup of non-caffeinated coffee with non-nutritive sweetener and non-dairy creamer.

      It's like a little tempestuous cup of paradoxes.

  • Whats the point of caffeine-free coffee then?
    • What is this "the point" you speak of? Dude - just give it to marketing. The market droids can sell shit sandwiches without any bread, and the consumers go crazy over it. We don't CARE what use it may or may not be - we just want it on the market!

  • Research has been underway to produce a coffee bean plant that naturally has no or little caffeine content

    What a wasted life!

  • Heretics! (Score:4, Funny)

    by blackicye (760472) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:46AM (#39364013)

    We have to stop science!!

  • I've heard/read that most caffeine that ends up in soda and energy drinks is the caffeine that's pulled out of coffee during the decaffeination process. If all coffee growers switch to naturally caffeine-free coffee, won't that drastically reduce the supply of caffeine as an ingredient, causing its price and therefore Mt. Dew's price to spike? Uh....

    ... gone to stock up on Mt. Dew ...
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:53AM (#39364111) Homepage
    scientists are working on orgasm-free sex, first person shooters with blank bullets, and political discussions free of nazi-references. Next up: soccer games where swearing at the referee gets muffled with anti-sound.
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:55AM (#39364143) Homepage Journal

    The new strain invariably produces something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee.

  • Coffee tastes like shit, most people i know flood it with milk (or my boss with water) before they can even attempt to drink it.
    And too my knowledge, there's 2 (main ones, I guess a third is some people legitimately enjoy it) reasons to drink coffee:

    1. For the caffeine, because ya know, they need the energy. Or
    2. Because it's socially acceptable, to fit in and what not. My coworkers all think I'm weird because if I need the caffeine in the morning, I drink a coke.

    Taking out 1 of the 2 reasons to drink
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      How does flooding your boss with water help with the coffee?

      I like coffee. I do put milk in it, because I like coffee with milk, but it brings out some of the flavors and subdues others. Today I had an espresso mocha, which I make with a cheapie machine for which I paid, I believe, $3. Even tastier. Still a coffee drink.

      On the other hand, I'm a lot more sensitive to caffeine than I used to be. If I could buy coffee that was naturally about 1/4 or 1/3 as caffeinated as usual, I would consider that to be a go

    • by oGMo (379)

      My coworkers all think I'm weird because if I need the caffeine in the morning, I drink a coke.

      That's probably because according to Mayo Clinic [mayoclinic.com] at least, a 12oz bottle of coke has 30-35mg of caffeine, and a cup of brewed Starbucks coffee has 330mg. A cup of Starbucks decaf has 25mg, so you're essentially drinking slightly more than what regular coffee drinkers would consider decaf.

      That said, coffee doesn't always taste like crap. I'm pretty picky myself and wouldn't touch the sludge you get at work or re

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      While there are plenty of people that fit your descriptions of 1 and 2, the idea that coffee tastes bad because some people don't drink it straight is like saying that salt tastes bad because some people don't eat it straight. I like the taste of coffee, just like I like the taste of salt. I don't want to drink coffee straight any more than I want to drink salt water.
  • by tinkerton (199273) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @10:59AM (#39364205)

    you know which one I mean, just imagine I put it here.

  • About time. The processes used to remove the unwanted chamicals from my coffee (caffeine, in particular) from my coffee so y'all can have the straight drug are nasty and degrade the fine flavor. Since caffeine does absolutely bupkis for me (aside from headaches when I go off of it) I don't see any point in consuming something that does no good and might, maybe, raise my blood pressure and screw with my sleep patterns. Waking up ready to go at 0300 is fine; I don't see any point in getting any less sleep.

  • Pet rocks can be re-tasked to be a coffee subsitute as well. Like sucking on a rock

  • by Pope (17780) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:22AM (#39364553)

    I used to love the stuff, 2 a day on most work days. I stopped cold turkey at the start of February, giving in to a quarter cup after 3 weeks after a big breakfast when up north. Had half Starbucks "short" this morning because I was just too damn tired.

    I was partly inspired by this blog article [youarenotsosmart.com], partly by health concerns that had developed over the previous few months including a feeling of over-sensitivity to the caffeine, and partly just to see if I could do it.

    After the first week of withdrawal symptoms, mostly slight headaches in the afternoon, I was pretty much operating as normal. I think it's good to force one's self out of a habit for a while.

  • by brainboyz (114458) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:25AM (#39364595) Homepage

    If they farm it and it cross-contaminates the world coffee DNA, there will be an apocalyptic uprising of caffeine deprived people.

    • by trongey (21550)

      If they farm it and it cross-contaminates the world coffee DNA, there will be an apocalyptic uprising of caffeine deprived people.

      OMG! That's the most frightening thing I've read since "With Folded Hands"!

    • about the zombie apocalypse. And you laughted! Laughed, I say! Ha!!

      You'll see! <laugh="evil">

  • Like booze without alcohol?

  • by ari_j (90255) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:30AM (#39364679)

    Almost twelve years ago, Slashdot posted an article about the caffeine gene in coffee plants being isolated [slashdot.org]. At that time, the Futurama references were fresh, but what we all wanted was caffeinated bacon (and baconated grapefruit). Or at least caffeinated apples. An apple with caffeine would solve 100% of the problems in my life. The future was promising. We all believed that genetic engineering would allow this gene to be spliced into other vegetables, animals, and yes, even minerals by now.

    Now, over a decade later, the last great promise of the pre-9/11 world has been broken. We are using science not for good, but for evil. Our only hope is that the scientists committing this blasphemy drink their own creation and fall asleep before they can finish their work.

  • by Lashat (1041424) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:36AM (#39364781)

    - Jeff Albertson

  • If you're like me, and love coffee, but hate the fact that your cat looks at you in disgust because you're awake too late at night, this is perfect. And before you say it doesn't affect you that way, try quitting it cold turkey. Just be prepared to hate everyone, and for everyone to hate you, for about two weeks.

    Now I'll just get back to my heathen apostate business.....

  • The reason decaf tastes like crap is because of the decaffeination process. It removes most of the caffeine but the side effect is that it also removes some of the flavor compounds. There is good decaf out there, but it's very expensive because you have to start with ultra-premium beans to make up for the flavor lost from decaffeination.

    If the beans are grown to not have caffeine in them in the first place, hopefully the flavor is there to begin with, and with no decaffeination process necessary, there w
  • Who drinks coffee for the taste?

  • by EMR (13768)

    The problem I have with Coffee is the Coffee part :)

    (yeah I'm one of the few programmers who does does not turn coffee into code.. I just crank out code.. No coffee nor caffeine! )

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