7 of the Top Best Decaf Coffees Out There in the UK

For a long time, decaf coffee had a bad reputation, leaving caffeine-free individuals with subpar options. But those days are gone. The new wave of decaf coffees offers the same delightful flavors as their caffeinated counterparts, minus the heart palpitations.

There are many reasons why people opt for decaf. Some may need to limit their caffeine intake due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or medical reasons. Others may experience caffeine sensitivity, leading to symptoms such as headaches, jitters, a racing heartbeat, and anxiety. If you relate to these symptoms, especially after consuming regular coffee, it might be time to consider making the switch to decaf.

Decaf coffee is created using the same beans as regular coffee, but it undergoes an additional process to remove the caffeine. There are five main methods for caffeine removal: direct solvent, indirect solvent, Swiss water, sugarcane, and carbon dioxide processes. The first two involve the use of chemicals to extract caffeine. The Swiss water process involves steaming and soaking the beans, filtering them through charcoal, and drying them. The sugarcane process utilizes a natural chemical derived from sugarcane to treat the beans, resulting in both caffeine removal and a sweeter taste. The final method, carbon dioxide, entails soaking the beans and then subjecting them to CO2 blasts.

Most coffee brands employ one of the latter three methods, and nearly every brand now offers decaf alternatives. Regardless of your favorite coffee, you are likely to find a decaf version. Choosing the right one for you ultimately comes down to personal taste. Although most of the caffeine is removed, it’s worth noting that a small amount may still remain, and the caffeine levels may vary between different decaf coffees.

Now, let’s explore seven exceptional decaf coffees that have garnered praise from discerning coffee lovers:

  1. Inca Gold Organic Decaf Coffee Pods (Swiss Water, Sustainable & Fairtrade) Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 5 customer ratings (5 customer reviews) Say goodbye to mass-manufactured pods despair and hello to handmade and packed Swiss Water Inca Gold Organic Decaf Coffee Pods that are also Fairtrade. This isn’t your average chemical-free full-bodied decaf coffee; it’s like finding treasure in every mug. Made from the finest sustainable Peruvian single-origin beans, each sip is like striking gold. Warning: Do not store under any rainbow. Pack of 28.
  2. Everyday Italiana Decaf Coffee: This reliable, tasty, everyday decaf is a cut above your typical coffee shop Italian decaf. With a well-balanced smooth medium roast of expertly blended Arabica beans, it retains the romance and flavor profile of traditional Italian decaf while reducing caffeine content. Everyday Italiana Decaf Coffee is ideal for a filtered Americano and plays nicely in a cafetière. Enjoy a proper cup of coffee day by day.
  3. Luxe Organic Swiss Water Honduran Decaf Coffee: Indulge in the luxury of Luxe Organic Swiss Water Honduran Decaf Coffee, a brew from the Central American home of beautiful coffee. Grown at high altitudes in the rainforests of Honduras, this organic, Fairtrade, and chemical-free Swiss Water decaf coffee offers a taste that is more than just rich; it’s an experience filled with praline chocolate notes. No wonder Hondurans keep 90% of it for themselves.
  4. Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee (Swiss Water Style): Discover a rare gem in the world of decaf coffees: Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee. This Mexican velvet-bodied coffee stands out from the crowd. Using crystal-clear spring water from Mexico’s highest peak, Pico de Orizaba, this coffee undergoes a high-quality organic decaffeination process. What remains is an authentic-tasting decaf with a complex flavor profile. Immerse yourself in the notes of fruits, chocolate, nuts, and honey.
  5. Natural Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf Coffee: Apart from clocks, mountains, yodelling, and bank accounts, the Swiss are perhaps best known for the Swiss Water Method – the chemical-free decaffeination process discovered in the 1930s. Our Swiss Water Brasilia is made from specialty Arabica beans grown in the perfect climate, producing bold and satisfyingly smooth coffee with consistent notes of rich dark chocolate throughout the year.
  6. No Nasties Half Decaf Organic Coffee: Inspiration without the comedown is what you’ll find in No Nasties Half Decaf Organic Coffee. Blending Honduran Organic and Fairtrade-certified Swiss Water decaf beans with handpicked single-origin Nicaraguan caffeinated luxury, this unique combination offers half the caffeine but all the taste. With cocoa praline and orange notes, it’s a delectable choice for those seeking a balanced option.
  7. Happy Medium Roasted Decaf Coffee: Indulge in the sumptuous and tasty cup of Happy Medium Roasted Decaf Coffee. Premium Brazilian Santos Arabica beans are medium roasted to perfection, resulting in a well-balanced blend with notes of cocoa and praline. As smooth as a waxed barrister, this expertly blended Arabica mix loses none of the conviction, offering a satisfying coffee experience. Ideal for filtered Americanos and a pleasant companion in a cafetière.

Gone are the days of lackluster decaf coffee options. With the wide range of decaf coffees available today, caffeine-free individuals can enjoy exceptional flavors without compromising taste. Whether you prefer organic, Swiss Water-treated, or unique blends, there is a decaf coffee that suits your palate. Embrace the world of decaf and savor each sip, knowing that great taste can be caffeine-free.

Orizaba Mountain Water or Swiss Water Decaf Coffee: Which Tastes Best?

OK: A taste retest of two similar-sounding coffees on an over-warm day at the nub end of a July heatwave? Are you kidding me?

It’s one of the privileges of being a minion of a coffee company that you get to try out the goods. But you know what happens, right? You pour cup after cup of the Everyday Italiana Decaf and it’s so good it becomes the first, last and always cup of the day. A satisfying, amenable, comfy coffee that weaves itself into the afternoon as much as it unzipped the morning.

But what’s this? Word comes down from the top, El DeCaffito himself, that customers have asked him about our Brasilia Swiss Water and Orizaba Mountain Water Decafs. What are the differences? Which tastes nicest when? 

Your stash of Everyday Italiana Decaf is confiscated, and you are ordered on an expedition of discovery. To scale and survey the rainforests of Brazil, the mountain scenery of Switzerland and Mexico and come back with an explorer’s account of your findings. For Decaf. For humanity.

Actually, the memo looked like this.

Swiss water coffee memo

It’s pointless telling you that drinking coffee for a living holds any high drama or jeopardy, so we’ll take off our hiking boots, straw Panamas, put down the machetes and get on with it. 

Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf vs Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf: The rules. 

We hand-ground both Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf beans and Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee beans in two separate grinds. A medium grind for a French press and a fine grind for an espresso-style from a moka pot. We had to be sure not to overgrind the French press in case it over brewed in the cafetière and, likewise, sufficiently grind the espresso so its brief rendezvous with super-heated steam water in the moka pot would develop the brew enough. There’s a whole art to grinding, detailed right here on the Ground Zero blog

Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf Coffee

This should be the bolder of our two beans and it scored well, particularly from the Moka pot. It has a slightly richer roast with that caramelised chocolate note running right through the liquid. It produced a nice crema, and we would challenge anyone to call this a decaf in a blind tasting. It has enough body to make it taste full and substantial, with the flavour oils front and centre of the brew.

The French press cup was more laid back, but had equally delicious notes, not so much caramelised but still dark enough to make a satisfying drink.

No mistake, this is everything promised by Swiss Water decaffeination – all the original flavour is still there, everything except over 99% of the caffeine.

Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee

On paper – as it is on the packaging – Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee is a slightly lighter roast than the Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf coffee. The water in this case comes from the glacial meltwater streams on Mexico’s highest mountain, Pico de Orizaba. Other than that, the origin of the beans and the difference in roast, the process is very similar to Swiss Water. Once again, then, we expect great things from our Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee.

It did not disappoint us. Even after the truly excellent Brasilia Swiss Water decaf, our Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf shone in the Moka pot brew review. It’s lighter and has some of that chocolate goodness, but also fruit and a honey-like nutty sweetness. This is less bold than the Brazilian Swiss Water decaf, but rounder and just as satisfying.

The French press gave us cause for thought though. Steeped for a few minutes in the cafetière, we found a subtly more developed fruit and nut note than we had from the Moka pot, as if the chocolatey-ness had moved over and let it through. We went back for more from the French press but, as Sheryl Crow and Cat Stevens might sing, the first cup was the deepest.

Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf vs Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf: The result.

Both coffees are magnificent, but as there can only be one winner…

No, scrub that. 

What surprised us was the Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf Coffee’s performance in the French press. This reviewer prefers espresso style, but the cafetière version of Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf revealed a lot of hidden nuances in the flavour, so Orizaba Mountain Water Decaf gets the vote for the French press. Brasilia was not far behind, however.

The bolder roast of the Brasilia Swiss Water Decaf did very well in the frankly terrifying environs of the Moka pot and came out in one piece, so to speak, with its trousers on. After all the gurgling and percolating, it delivered a satisfying full punch of flavour.

What is Aspalathus Linearis and where do I buy some?

There’s a lot of buzz about the plant known as Aspalathus linearis, but you might not realise it is the scientific name of the South African plant otherwise known as Rooibos or Red Bush. Surrounding a well-understood therapeutic plant with an aura of mystery by using its Latin name feels a bit like the usual woo-woo scam to us, but wait: Aspalathus linearis – that is, Rooibos or Red Bush – is amazing and here’s why.

Apart from having an amazing light, sweet taste that is easy on the palate and which you feel you can drink all day, every day, Rooibos from the Aspalathus linearis has a few secrets too.

Aspalathus linearis is rich in flavonoids, which are believed to be responsible for its reputation for health benefits. Evidence is yet to be gathered that indicates without doubt that dietary flavonoids of the kind found in Aspalathus linearis affect cancer risk in general, but observational studies and clinical trials on hormone-dependent cancers (breast and prostate) have shown benefits. For example, analysis of 14 observational studies that examined breast cancer incidence in 369,934 women found an overall 11% reduced risk of breast cancer with the highest versus lowest intake of some flavonoids.

Meanwhile, a recent review has suggested that dietary intake of flavonoids is associated with a reduced risk of different types of cancer, including gastric, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

The focus of investigations into the health benefits of Rooibos or Aspalathus linearis is Aspalathin, the plant compound that may help protect against free radical damage that leads to conditions like diabetes, heart disease as well as, potentially, cancer.

You can buy Aspalathus linearis here, rather than pay the inflated prices that come with its mystified Latin name at a health food store.

The benefits of Aspalathus Linearis

With its aspalathin, if you’re looking for a naturally occurring substance that can help improve your health, Aspalathus linearis could be a good option for you. Science itself has marked Rooibos and its plant compounds as warranting further investigation. Some of the purported benefits of Aspalathus linearis include:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving digestion
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Lowering blood sugar levels

There is growing scientific evidence to support these claims and more research is needed

What’s the difference between Aspalathus Linearis, Red Bush and Rooibos?

When it comes to Aspalathus linearis, Red Bush and Rooibos, they are one and the same a plant that is native to South Africa, a naturally caffeine-free, shrub-like plant grown on the Western Cape. The leaves of the Rooibos plant are cut and are either oxidized (fermented), producing what we know as Red Rooibos, or are unoxidized (not fermented), producing what we know as Green Rooibos. Green Rooibos has more aspalathin than red.

Drinking Aspalathus Linearis

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy drink, look no further than Aspalathus linearis. native to South Africa. It has a refreshingly sweet taste and is rich in antioxidants.

The Rooibos tea that is made with Aspalathus linearis is available here at I Love Decaf and it’s available in eight different flavours:

If you are looking for a flavoursome way to kick caffeine or try more interesting tea that is as refreshing (some say more refreshing) as a cup of ‘normal’ tea, why not give one of them a try and see if you enjoy the taste of health Aspalathus linearis as much as we do.

Going Decaf and Fighting the 3pm Slump

One of the over-touted benefits of caffeine is as a pick-me-up – a stimulant that sharpens the mind and gets stuff done. While caffeine consumption revolves around these ‘accepted facts’, caffeine’s superpowers in the war on snoozing turns out to be over-played at best and completely fictitious at worst

Going decaf and fighting the 3pm slump

So, now you’ve gone decaf, how do you overcome the mid-afternoon mountain of doom that is the 3pm slump? The answer is all in the mind or, rather, the brain.

The brain is a brat. Your brain, my brain, your bosses’ brains are all self-obsessed, entitled, lazy bags of porridge comfortable with the high-life and quick fixes. You wouldn’t vote for your brain in a ballot if the only alternative was a brown paper sack of self-aware mashed potatoes. 

The brain’s biggest character defect is that it knows its own mind and is very uncomfortable changing it. All those gallons of caffeine it’s been swimming in your whole life, along with the sugar, the processed carbs and all the other quick hits, are what it’s used to. And it wants more. Your craving brain demands you run it a warm bath of cosy slop to hang around in every day. 

But you can challenge it. The brat can be changed. You already did by going decaf. A day or so of brain ache and things soon got better. Now it’s halfway through the afternoon and you’re feeling a bit limp, your brain wants you to run the bath as usual. Just once, for old time’s sake.

How to Avoid the Mid-Afternoon Slump Without Caffeine

As obstinate and lazy as a brain is, it’s also easy to out-wit. The best way out of the 3pm slump is a distraction, a change of pace, a new focus. Making your brain work in a different way means it will start making its own good time chemistry without all those artificial quick fixes. 

  • Get out of the office for a breath of fresh air, a bit of exercise. Exercise improves blood flow, helps brain chemistry and is more effective than caffeine at improving your alertness and focus.
  • Take a break. Sounds straightforward enough, but we don’t mean a sandwich at your desk, take a proper break away from your work environment, take in a view
  • Fire up your music player with high energy sounds or something you can completely shift your focus onto. We know at least one CEO who goes even further and takes his cello into his office. That’s probably not suitable for a cubicle worker but if you’re remote working, something similar might be the ticket to get away from the grind.
  • Give in. Surrendering to a crafty nap might be the best thing. We are programmed for the mid-afternoon siesta,and you will definitely feel better and the longer you sleep, the longer it will last. The so-called ‘power nap’ of 10-15 minutes can recharge you for a few hours, while getting in 90 minutes of sleep will allow your brain to experience all phases of light, REM and deep sleep. Deep sleep is where our brains consolidate memory, experience and learning. No wonder that a NASA study found a 26-minute nap improved productivity by over 30%.

Prevention is Better than the Cure

Bad sleep habits like late nights, evening snacking, and staring at screens into the evening can disrupt a night’s rest and can make us tired before we even get into work. Look after the nights and the days will look after themselves.

One last way to avoid hitting the caffeine in the afternoon is to play to your body and brain’s strengths and structure your day accordingly. We are much more mentally alert in the morning and much better at taking decisions, leaving the afternoon to practical matters and dexterity.

Good Health! Naturally Caffeine Free Coffee


Naturally caffeine-free coffee might not strike you as either a worthy subject for a toast or the perfect drink to charge a glass with, but the health benefits of managing the caffeine intake of you and yours could lead to better outcomes and long life. That’s something we can all raise a glass to.

So, with new discoveries in the world of caffeine awareness afoot, I Love Decaf, presents a guide to what’s going on now and in the near future.

Table of Contents

  1. The End of Decaf?
  2. New Species
  3. Charrier Coffee
  4. The Coffee Plant Perspective
  5. Half-Caffeinated or Half Decaf?
  6. Health benefits of going caffeine free

Caffeine-free coffee beans: do they mean the end of decaffeination?

Naturally, we are all used to decaffeinated coffee. We know that, given the right beans, grind, roast and decaffeination method, there’s no need to sacrifice the great taste when we ditch the caffeine. 

But could the process of decaffeination be side-stepped altogether if a bean was cultivated that had no caffeine in it at all? Coffee cultivation, like all agricultural enterprises, draws heavily on scientific principles – geology, meteorology, horticultural science, biology and botany, but as it happens, there’s no need for all the boffin ‘ologies’. There are already a few half-caff and even some no-caff coffee beans out there in the wild. 

Nature beat science to it and that sounds great to us. So, why are supermarket shelves not filling up with naturally caffeine-free coffee right now? Are these naturally caffeine-free beans not suitable in some way for the big time? Is it because of a global conspiracy? Is it the warped manifesto of ‘big coffee’? Perhaps it’s a shadowy Government cabal determined to keep us as busy, wired and panic-stricken as possible? Maybe it just tastes awful, you know, like Nescafé. 

None of the above. If anything, its absence from the supermarket could be down to the natural properties of caffeine itself.

Just because you want to kick it out of your coffee, the plant itself doesn’t care about your twitching eyelids or what Kid Barista at Costabucks say, caffeine has a real purpose as far as the plant is concerned. 

To find out what that might be, we should look at one the most recent discoveries of naturally caffeine free coffee plants.

Un-caffeinated: the answer to decaffeination?

In the wilder corners of the world, a surprising number of new species of plants and animals are discovered all the time. An average of 10,000 a year. In 2007, however, science busted the average wide open and formally identified over 18,500 plants and animals. 

Among all those breakthrough species, described scientifically for the first time, was a previously unknown coffee plant. Between a Welsh, carnivorous, white slug, a bacterium that lives in hairspray and a species of palm that tries so hard for pollination it flowers itself to death, was a naturally caffeine-free species of coffee.

Charrier Coffee – Naturally Caffeine-Free

The naturally caffeine-free coffee plant, Coffea charrieriana or Charrier Coffee, was discovered in the Bakossi Forest Reserve in Western Cameroon and is the first of its kind in Central Africa. It joins an Ethiopian un-caffeinated variety of Arabica and a Kenyan coffee plant – both recently discovered – and 30 out of 47 Indian Ocean Island varieties that are known to contain very little or no caffeine.

Coffea charrieriana
Coffea charrieriana

Royal Botanic Gardens listing of Charrier Coffee

Scientists say that the ancestors of Charrier Coffee – like most of its ilk – diverged from caffeinated coffees around 11 million years ago. So far, so good, but at its first listing millions of years down the line, wild Charrier Coffee was given a ‘red’ critically threatened conservation status. A conservation effort is underway, but seeds have also been collected and exported for commercial cultivation in Costa Rica and Brazil.

Those who have tasted Charrier Coffee report it has a much less thick texture than Arabica and has an almost tea-like quality.

What has caffeine ever done for the coffee plant?

Its endangered status might not be purely down to the usual suspects of forest clearance and habitat loss – there could be other factors at play and caffeine content might be just as important to Charrier Coffee as it is to you and me.

Some experts believe that caffeine-containing plants are safer from certain insects, vertebrates, bacteria and fungi, the caffeine acting as a kind of pesticide to protect the seeds. If caffeine has potential to safeguard the plant, caffeine-free varieties grown at scale might offer much lower yields unless they are cultivated higher up mountains beyond the range of insect pests. 

Lower yields would mean much higher prices and, indeed, initial batches of cultivated naturally caffeine-free coffee sold at significant premiums.

Caffeine kills coffee plants

The jury is still out on whether caffeine’s pesticidal qualities are really all that, though other species – principally tea and cocoa – have both evolved caffeine content independently of coffee, even though that is apparently a high-stakes adaptation. Experts point to the fact that caffeine is not only a pesticide but also has the potential to kill the very plant that produces it. Caffeine produced in plants is a by-product of other processes and is physically isolated in special cell compartments called vacuoles. Ironically, concentrated caffeine is poisonous to plant cells. Even the coffee tree, it seems, doesn’t want the caffeine and operates a network of its own toxic waste dumps.

One last – and bizarre – theory for the presence of caffeine is that it is there for us and, like many other plants with psychoactive ingredients, part of their success comes from human cultivation. Like honeybees collecting nectar and pollinating flowers, we are in a symbiotic relationship with tea and coffee plants, only it’s us that gets the buzz, while they enjoy the comfort and care of the extraordinary lengths we go to in cultivation.

Half Caff Coffee 

Long before Western science started going on species collection to exotic locations all over the globe (and South Wales; remember the slug?) the world knew of naturally low caffeine species of coffee plant. Liberian Coffee is one such species.

Coffea liberica or Liberian Coffee, as the name suggests, is a native of west and central Africa from Angola and Uganda in the south to Liberia at its northern range. It has also become naturalised in the Indian Ocean Islands and southeast Asia and can be found in the Philippines, Indonesia, the Seychelles, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Malaysia.

Liberian is the third most popular bean in the world, but the dominance of Robusta and Arabica beans means it amounts only to around 1.5% of all cultivated coffee. Despite this, its caffeine content – around half of Robusta’s – means that it fetches premium prices on the coffee market. Unlike Charrier Coffee, it still does contain an appreciable dose of caffeine.

If you fancy a half-caff, I Love Decaf has a Halfway House half-caff offering if you’re not sure you want to go the whole hog right away or you just want a little bit of extra go in your juice. Its 50% decaf portion is even produced using the chemical solvent-free Swiss Water Process – another tick towards a healthy lifestyle.

Health benefits of lower caffeine

People who are sensitive to caffeine already have a reason to cut it out; it simply makes them feel unwell. They lose sleep, they have hand tremors, they might even have heart palpitations.

Almost all of us will experience some heart pounding after a coffee binge, so it’s no surprise that – almost to the exclusion of all other caffeine side effects – the heart and circulation are major concerns.

There is a lot of contradictory evidence on the effects of coffee generally on your health. Everyone seems to agree, however, that as a specific stimulant, caffeine does have real effects on your metabolism and by cutting it out, you still get to enjoy some of the positive effects of coffee without caffeine.

Nothing seems cut and dried on caffeine however – as this workshop clearly shows. Before reading that link, you might want to either complete a degree in biomedicine or be prepared to consume a few cups of strong joe to get to the end.

There are some easy takeaways though. It seems that caffeine use is safer sitting down than an hour before you go out for a run or hit the gym. Caffeine and exercise do not mix well with regards to circulation, blood pressure and heart health. 

If you are looking after your health, especially if you are incorporating exercise and activity into a healthy lifestyle, the message is clear; it is probably best to keep off the caffeine. Also it’s clear that caffeine won’t help with high blood pressure or hypertension.