The Scoop on Decaf: FAQs About Decaf Coffee

Here's everything you could ever want to know about decaf coffee!

We get it. Decaf coffee isn't necessarily for everyone. However, if you don't regularly drink decaf or refuse to even try it, it might be time to reevaluate how you feel about this brew. Not only can decaf coffee taste great, but it can be a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of coffee without having to worry about any of the effects of caffeine. 

Or, perhaps you're on the other end of things and regularly drink decaf. If this sounds like you, you should definitely investigate this impressive list of flavored coffees, all of which come in decaf variations!

Regardless of where you stand on the subject of decaf coffee, understanding how decaf works, what's good about it, and whether there are any flavor differences can be helpful! That's why we have created this in-depth guide to decaf coffee.


What is decaf coffee?

So what IS decaf? Decaffeinated coffee, otherwise called decaf, is coffee made using regular coffee beans. However, the beans go through certain processes that remove most of their naturally occurring caffeine, effectively decaffeinating them. There are a few different ways to decaffeinate coffee beans using water or chemicals.  

Although decaffeinated coffee is not TECHNICALLY completely free of caffeine, it contains only a fraction of the caffeine of full-calf coffee. Generally, decaf contains less than 0.3% of the original caffeine found in regular coffee beans, which is 97% less caffeine than full-strength coffee, about the same amount as you'd get from eating a piece of chocolate.

How is decaf made?

Decaf coffee can be prepared in a few ways. Generally, dried coffee beans are warmed and soaked in a liquid that dissolves and removes the caffeine. This can be either through using just water, a mixture of water and solvents like ethyl acetate and methylene chloride, or using water and supercritical carbon dioxide. 

Why would you drink decaf? 

Some people just don't 'get' decaf. But the thing is, coffee has many inherent health benefits and has even been known to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Many people drink decaffeinated coffee to avoid consuming excess caffeine while also getting the benefits of coffee. Decaf coffee can help regulate the digestive system and is full of natural antioxidants. 

Additionally, some people feel like decaf coffee has a smoother and gentler taste than regular coffee.  Decaffeinated coffee can also be fantastic for drinking in the evening as with a dessert or when trying to wind down. 

What does decaf coffee taste like? 

Decaffeinated coffee tastes nearly indistinguishable from regular coffee. It has the same smooth, creamy nuances when prepared correctly. However, decaf does have a slightly subtle, sweet taste. A decaffeinated cup of coffee is a fantastic option for coffee lovers who are trying to reduce their daily intake of caffeine.

What if “half-caff” coffee? 

The term “half-caff” refers to a mix of fully caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. This can be in a blend of coffee beans, in a drink made with decaf and regular coffee, or in premixed coffee grounds. There are also certain coffee blends that contain less caffeine compared to other options from a certain brand that may be labeled as half-caff. 

The ratio of decaf to regular coffee in a half-caff brew can range anywhere from 90% regular+ 10% decaf beans, to 50% regular + 50% decaf coffee. Essentially, half-caff coffee is coffee that contains less caffeine than regular coffee, but more caffeine than decaf. 

Is decaf coffee actually decaf or is there caffeine?

Although decaffeinated coffee has 97% less caffeine than regular coffee, decaf coffee is not fully caffeine free. Indeed, decaffeinated coffee may contain a negligible amount of caffeine, anywhere from 0.10 to 0.30 measurements compared to regular coffee. However, this is usually not enough caffeine to make you feel hyper or alert. It's less caffeine than what you'd find in most types of chocolate. In the United States, the USDA regulates that decaf coffee cannot exceed 0.10% of caffeine on a dry-packaged basis. 

Will decaf cause acid reflux?

Since decaffeinated coffee contains far less caffeine than regular-strength coffee, some find it to be a great alternative. Especially those who struggle with GERD and acid reflux. For some individuals, decaf coffee does not cause heartburn, whereas regular-strength coffee does. 

However, other people find decaf coffee to be more bitter and astringent. Perhaps, this has to do with the type of decaf coffee being consumed. There are many conflicting opinions on the subject. It may all simply depend on the type of decaffeinated coffee you are drinking. For example, this brand of flavored decaffeinated coffee is often praised for its incredible smoothness and low acidity. 

Is decaf coffee bad for you?

Research suggests that drinking decaf coffee is not harmful to you. In fact, some studies indicate that drinking decaf coffee actually provides certain health benefits. This may include lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reducing the likelihood of liver cancer, and potentially even helping to prevent Parkinson's disease. 

Is decaf coffee a diuretic?

As the caffeine has been removed from decaffeinated coffee, it has little to no diuretic effects whatsoever. This makes it a great way to hydrate if you love the flavor of coffee drinks but don't want to have to make multiple trips to the bathroom. 

Is decaf coffee dehydrating? 

Since decaffeinated coffee has no diuretic effect, it is just as hydrating as any other non-caffeinated beverage. Black decaf is more hydrating than Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and many other sugary, caffeinated drinks. 

Can I drink decaf coffee while pregnant?

While you should always check with your OBGYN doctor, for most women, it is safe to drink decaffeinated coffee while pregnant. According to research, the most common guideline for coffee consumption in pregnancy is no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. Recent studies seem to reinforce this. 

Since a typical cup of decaffeinated coffee contains about 1 to 2 mg of caffeine, it is generally considered safe to drink while pregnant. However, you should always consult your doctor first with any medical questions about what is and is not safe to consume when you are expecting. 

Does decaf coffee taste different?

It depends on who you ask. It might also depend on what type of decaffeinated coffee you are drinking. Generally, decaffeinated coffee is indistinguishable from regular coffee. However, certain mainstream brands seem to have noticeable differences in their decaf brews when compared to their regular strength blends. There may be many reasons for this. If you would like to try decaf coffee that tastes the same as regular coffee, we recommend checking out this link

Should I switch to decaf coffee?

Whether you switch to decaf coffee is up to you. It all depends on your personal situation and health needs. Switching to decaf can be a great way to reduce your daily caffeine intake without sacrificing your favorite coffee flavors. 

Can you get organic decaf coffee?

Definitely! There are many great coffee retailers that offer signature single-origin, flavored, and organic decaf blends, many of which are Certified Organic using a “Swiss water” decaffeination process. We highly recommend checking out this organic decaf Swiss water Peru coffee

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