Coffee hag, if you like decaf

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  • 21.06.2016

There is special attitude to decaffeinated coffee in Italy, and even a special word “hag”. It appeared thanks to the German businessman Ludwig Rozelius, who, together with his assistant Carl Wimmer accidentally invented the first method of decaffeination. It happened in 1903, when a merchant’s coffee laden ship ran into a gale. The goods were considerably wet, but Rozelius did not want to write it off as spoiled and instead sent the beans for tests. The coffee was quite acceptable in quality, but the caffeine content decreased greatly.

After three years the decaffeination method was patented, and decaffeinated coffee producing company titled Kaffee-Handels-Aktien-Gesellschaft (Kaffee HAG) opened in Bremen. To stimulate sales of the unusual consumer product, Rozelius invented a legend that he had created that very product in the memory of his father, who died of heart disease caused by an overdose of coffee.

In the middle of the XX century the beverage was introduce in Italy, and quickly gained popularity. Over time the technology unvented by Rozelius was recognized non-ecological and then banned, but the beverage name “hag” remained. Just remember: when ordering decaf in Italian café, the first letter of the word “hag” is not pronounced, by the rules of the Italian language.