Love coffee but suffer from a sensitivity to caffeine? All is not lost. If you opt for decaf coffee beans, you can have your coffee without adverse reactions. Decaffeinated coffee allows you to enjoy your cuppa Joe without any of the jitters.
Unfortunately, over the years, decaf has become tarnished with a bad reputation by coffee purists who insist that the processes used to remove the caffeine can be harmful to your health. But that is not entirely true.
Nowadays, safe decaffeination processes mean that you can enjoy a cup of caffeine-free coffee without any worries.
Decaf coffees are 100% safe and tasty to boot. But like all types of coffee, some fall flat in the taste department. So if you’re looking for delicious deaf coffee, I suggest you stick around.
Best Decaf Coffee Brands: Chosen By Bean Ground
I have rounded up my top picks for decaf die-hards, including different roast profiles, prices, and forms of coffee, from whole bean to flavored coffee options and even K-cups.
Volcanica House Blend Decaf
My top decaf pick comes from one of my favorite online coffee roasters, Volcanica Coffee. This family-operated company specializes in high-quality coffees from volcanic regions around the globe.
The team at Volcanica has a keen eye for quality, and the team takes regular trips to coffee farms to ensure that the growing conditions are well maintained as well as the farmers.
Volcanica’s House Blend Decaf comprises 100% Arabica coffee beans that have been carefully acquired from Central and South America. The Swiss Water processing method is used to decaffeinate the coffee, and the beans are then medium-roasted in small batches.
The brewed cup of decaf coffee has a rich, full body with a pronounced bold and slightly sweet flavor profile.
One of the advantages of buying your coffee directly from Volcanica is you get coffee that is freshly roasted in small batches and shipped out to you the same day – all at affordable prices.
Lifeboost Organic Hazelnut Decaf Coffee Beans
Lifeboost is a brand that frequently ranks on our coffee roundup lists. They offer high-quality organic no GMO coffee in a small range of different roast profiles.
Their Hazelnut Decaf roast comprises single-origin Arabica beans that have been carefully sourced from high-altitude small family-run farms in Nicaragua.
The coffee in this region is shade grown and processed entirely by hand. The coffee beans undergo the Swiss water processing method to remove the caffeine. The beans are then roasted in small batches, and a natural organic hazelnut flavor is introduced.
If you often find that you have stomach sensitivity with regular coffee or even decaf, for that matter, I recommend that you give the brand a try. The coffee has a pH level of only 6, making it much less acidic than regular coffee.
Another good reason to opt for flavored decaf coffee is you can ditch those sugary additives and syrups you would typically use to add flavor; the natural hazelnut notes in this bag are enough.
Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast Coffee
Kicking Horse coffee has an extensive range of in-house coffee blends, which are all focused on organic sustainable growing practices.
Their decaf coffee blend is a mix of 100% Arabica beans sourced from growing regions in Central and South America. The coffee beans have undergone the Swiss Water decaffeination process. They are then dark roasted at their Rocky Mountains roasting facility.
If you enjoy dark-roasted coffee and are on the hunt for a decaf option, look no further than this offering from Kicking Horse. Each bag comes loaded with deep chocolate notes and subtle yet noticeable notes of roasted hazelnuts.
This blend works well in all types of coffee brewing but really shines when used in a French Press coffee maker or pour-over brewers like the Chemex or V60.
Coffee Bros. Colombian Decaf
Coffee Bros. is a small-batch roasting company based out of New York. They offer a small range of single-origin coffees and carefully crafted in-house blends.
For their decaf coffee offering, they have opted for single-origin coffee beans sourced from the high-altitude Huila region in Colombia.
The coffee from this region is naturally processed, which gives the coffee fruity and sweet characteristics. The coffee is then decaffeinated using an ethyl acetate process.
Because Coffee Bros. works on such a small scale and opts to use small-batch roasting, their selection, including the decaf beans, is only available for shipping within the US.
Also, another thing to note is that their roast profiles are slightly lighter than most other brands. So if you would typically drink a medium roast, try opting for a dark roast instead.
Peet’s Decaf Mocca-Java
Peet’s Coffee is one of the biggest brands in the US coffee market and is up there with the likes of Folgers and Nescafe. Although they have a significant market share, they still roast coffee with the attention to detail you’d expect from small-scale coffee roasters. In fact, I think that Peet’s Coffee is one of the best supermarket shelf brands you can buy.
If you buy directly from Peet’s website, your coffee is roasted immediately, sealed, and shipped the same day. So you’ll receive coffee beans that are as fresh as possible within a week of being roasted.
Their Mocca Java decaf coffee blend is a mix of premium Arabica beans sourced from Indonesia and Ethiopia. This coffee blend is a timeless classic highlighting the best old and new-world coffee beans.
The coffee beans have been carefully sourced from sustainable farms where the beans are wet hull processed. They are then passed through the Swiss Water method to remove the caffeine from the beans.
The roast profile for this particular blend is dark, and you’ll be able to identify notes of cocoa from the Ethiopian beans and sweet syrupy cardamom notes from the Indonesian coffee beans.
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC – Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf
Another great-tasting decaf coffee to make the list is a bag from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. The company has been around since 2009. Since then, they have focused all their efforts on sourcing premium coffees from around the globe from small family-run farms.
This particular Sumatran decaf coffee is supplied by a small community of Gayonese farmers. This is coffee farming on a small scale, with roughly a hectare of land owned by individual farmers who each adhere to meticulous organic farming practices.
The leftover coffee pulp is also reused as fertilizer for new crops, and farm animals are fed with the same leaves used to shade the growing coffee plants.
Their entire range, from decaf to premium coffee blends, is roasted to order and shipped out to you immediately. With this decaf Sumatra coffee, you can expect subtle hints of chocolate with earthy undertones and a noticeably creamy finish.
The coffee is processed using the Swiss Water method. It’s Fair Trade organic, shade-grown, and completely chemical-free, which helps to retain optimal flavor and body.
Green Mountain Dark Magic Decaf Coffee K-Cups
If you primarily use a coffee pod machine at home, I’ve not forgotten about you. These are the best decaf coffee pods I could find for those who crave instant coffee.
These decaf K-cups work in all modern machines and come in boxes of 24 or 48. Compared to other K-cups, these come packed with more ground coffee, which translates to a bolder, more robust cup of coffee.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear what process is used to remove the caffeine from the coffee beans. But I suspect a chemical process is used, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate.
When the Swiss Water method is used, most brands will typically show this on the packaging; it’s a plus for them. However, if cheaper methods are used, they tend to be hidden or hard to determine.
When it comes to taste, you can expect complex, rich, intense flavors often associated with regular dark roast coffee. This coffee pairs well with milk or even better with a splash of cream; the subtle natural sweetness of milk balances the rich dark roast.
What Does Decaf Coffee Taste Like?
One of the biggest questions many people have about decaf coffee is whether it tastes different. Honesty, most people won’t be able to differentiate a difference in flavor.
Although, die-hard coffee drinkers may notice a subtle difference. As long as you pick the best decaf coffee, it will be hard to tell it apart from regular coffee.
If your taste buds are finely tuned, you may notice a more sour flavor when drinking decaf coffee due to how the coffee has been processed.
But honestly, the sourness is so subtle it will be hard to notice, and any sourness will often be put down to how the coffee was brewed rather than processed.
Decaf Does Not Mean Caffeine Free
Just because the coffee has undergone a decaffeination process doesn’t mean all the caffeine has been removed.
Decaf coffee still has a tiny bit of caffeine left in it. The way the coffee bean is processed removes most but not all of the caffeine. In fact, decaf coffee only needs to be only 94% caffeine-free to be considered “decaf.”
Compared to a regular cup of coffee that typically contains around 95 mg of caffeine, a cup of decaf coffee only has about 2-15 mg of caffeine.
This tiny amount of caffeine probably won’t cause any adverse reactions if you’re sensitive. To put it in perspective, there are about 32 mg of caffeine in a 330ml can of Coca‑Cola Classic.
If you have no adverse reactions to drinking a soft drink, you’ll be fine with a cup of decaf coffee.
What To Look For When Buying The Best Decaf Coffee
Just like regular coffee, purchasing decaffeinated coffee beans can be hit or miss. Some are packed full of flavor, while others can leave you regretting you made the switch to decaf.
However, there are a few things you can look for that will increase your chances of some mouth-watering beans.
One of the crucial considerations when making your choice should be the processing methods used to remove the caffeine from the coffee. Some harsh processing methods affect the taste, while others can actually be detrimental to your health.
Decaffeinated coffee is processed using various techniques. While most modern practices work well at retaining the coffee’s flavor, some processing methods can adversely affect how your coffee tastes.
Last time I checked, there were several different decaffeination methods, each of which will have some effect on the taste of the coffee when the coffee reaches your cup.
When it comes to removing the caffeine from the coffee beans, a cheap and common method involves soaking the coffee beans in water and then introducing a chemical savant such as methyl chloride.
Although this method is very cost-effective and draws out caffeine compounds, it does come with some concerns regarding the health implications of using harsh chemicals.
If the coffee is cheap and doesn’t clearly show the method used, the chances are that the beans have been processed using a technique such as this.
One of the more popular methods is the water processing method (often referred to as Swiss-water decaf). This method is safe and effective, and producers who use the technique often proudly display “Swiss-water decaf” clearly on their packaging. It’s like a badge of honor.
A newer modern CO2 method to remove caffeine from coffee is also gaining popularity. The process involves forcing pressurized liquid carbon dioxide into the coffee beans. So keep a lookout for this process too.
If you’re unsure about the implications of health and taste, I suggest looking for whole coffee beans that have been processed using the Swiss-water decaf method. The coffee may cost slightly more, but the peace of mind is worth the extra cost.
What Is The Swiss Water Process?
I’ve mentioned the Swiss Water process a few times in this article, but what is so special about this decaffeination process? Let’s take a closer look.
First, this method uses only water to remove the caffeine from the coffee beans. No harsh chemicals are used, so it’s entirely organic. The processing removes up to 99.9% of the coffee beans’ caffeine with water alone.
The process involves soaking the coffee beans in water for extended periods, where the caffeine slowly seeps out. The process is repeated numerous times while applying a low amount of heat.
The only downside to this method is the time required to completely decaffeinate the coffee beans – time is money.
Taste is subjective. What I might enjoy, you might not. If you have a favorite roast with regular coffee, start by trying a decaf brand with the same roast profile. Chances are that you will enjoy the same roast profile light, medium, or dark just as much.
Aside from that, if you want to go out on a whim, keep an eye out for the decaf coffee blend tasting notes, which are typically written somewhere on the packaging.
If you enjoy dark roasts, you might enjoy a decaf coffee blend that features notes of chocolate. You get the idea.
There is generally little difference in cost between decaf and regular coffee. However, personally, I would stay away from cheap decaf coffee.
As I pointed out before, the lower the price, the higher the chances that the coffee has been processed using chemicals rather than a natural method.
I suggest sampling different coffee brands in a roast profile you enjoy and settling on a price you’re comfortable with. Determine if you prefer a $5 bag of decaf coffee beans and a $20 bag.
Just because a bag of coffee is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best tasting for your tastebuds.
So there you have it, my roundup of some of the best-tasting decaf coffees I’ve tried recently.
With the modern-day chemical-free processing methods used to remove caffeine from coffee and the dedication of premium coffee brands, it’s now far easier to get your hands on good decaf coffee.
You won’t go wrong with any of these. Just pick a roast profile you’ll enjoy with regular coffee and experiment from there.
But, If I had to pick one favorite from the list, it has to be the Volcanica House Blend Decaf. I enjoy most coffees from the Volcanica range, and you can order easily online.
They roast in small batches weekly and ship directly to your front door. For the freshness and low price, you really can’t beat them.
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