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Does Caffeine Affect the Taste of Coffee and Cola?

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Question: Does Caffeine Affect the Taste of Coffee and Cola?

Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee and is added to cola. Does caffeine have a flavor of its own or do decaf coffee and decaffeinated drinks taste different from regular coffee and cola for another reason?

Answer: Yes, caffeine has a flavor. On its own, caffeine has a mildly bitter flavor. In coffee, cola and other beverages it also reacts with other ingredients to produce new flavors. Removing caffeine from coffee or cola changes the flavor of the drink because the resulting products are missing the bitterness of caffeine, the flavors resulting from interactions between the caffeine and other ingredients in the product, and also because the process of removing caffeine may impart or remove flavors. Also, sometimes the recipe for decaffeinated products differs by more than just the absence of caffeine.

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