The rich, warm aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee is the stuff of legend. We’ve been drinking it in some form or another since as far back as the 15th century. Humanity seems to have reached a consensus – coffee is one of life’s simple joys. Why, then, does this rosy atmosphere vanish as soon as you mention a word most reviled by coffee snobs everywhere – “decaf”. What is decaf coffee and why do so many people turn their noses up at it?
On this page, we’ll be diving into the decaf coffee question. We’ll cover what it is, why it’s brilliant, and how to get the perfect brew at home.
So, What is Decaf Coffee Anyway?
So what are you sipping when you raise a warm cup of decaf to your lips? Denatured sludge? Some sort of chemically constructed concoction? On the contrary – things are far less gruesome than first meet the eye.
Decaf coffee is made from regular coffee beans that have been through a process that removes the majority of its caffeine, the adenosine receptor antagonist that gives coffee its characteristic “energy kick”.
“How is decaf coffee made?” we hear you ask. Frustratingly enough, the answer is “it depends”. A handful of huge coffee companies own genetically modified plants that naturally grow without caffeine. For many decaf providers, however, regular coffee beans are taken through a process that:
- Soaks the beans when green to make their caffeine content soluble.
- Washes or otherwise filters the caffeine from the resulting solution.
This can be with carbon filters, natural compounds, or other methods. Some brewers also use a CO2 method which naturally removes the majority of caffeine from the beans. Depending on the specific method used, some subtle-yet-unwanted flavours can be left behind.
The Swiss Water Method is used by more premium brands to remove just the caffeine, leaving every other aspect of the coffee untouched. The result is a coffee that’s practically indistinguishable in terms of taste and texture from its more jitters-inducing counterpart.
Ignore the snobs – decaf can be absolutely delicious.
How Much Caffeine is Decaf Coffee?
People are often pleasantly surprised when they learn just how delicious decaf coffee can be. One thing to note, though, is that there’s still a small amount of caffeine left behind, even with super decaffeinated varieties.
You’re unlikely to get heart palpitations here, don’t worry – it’s just worth keeping in mind. Most decaffeination processes remove between 97 and 99% of active caffeine.
This means a decaf cup of coffee contains between 1-2 mg of caffeine VS coffee’s typical 95-110 mg.
Is Decaf Coffee Good for You?
So, we’ve asked ‘what is decaf coffee’, but is decaf coffee healthy? In short, yes! The science behind coffee’s health profile is much like the world’s rich cafe culture – it’s evolving all the time. Suffice it to say, however, that decaf coffee contains most of the same compounds that make “regular” coffee so revered.
- Chlorogenic acids.
- Other antioxidants.
These compounds are well established as offering a wealth of different health benefits.
If you want the antioxidant effects without the jitters, decaf can be a great way to go.
Decaf Coffee Pros
We’re not here to demonise caffeine. For many, it can be a great way to kickstart the day and feel a little more energised. It would be disingenuous, however, to overlook the negative impacts that caffeine consumption can have.
Especially to those of us who are sensitive to the compound, caffeine can spell anxiety, palpitations, stomach issues, and even sleep disorders if we’re not careful.
Many of us are familiar with coffee’s delicious flavour but no longer want to deal with the kick that it can bring (who decided that being kicked was nice, anyway?). It’s a great way to unwind and there’s no shame in that.
Decaf coffee’s benefits include:
- A similar antioxidant profile to caffeinated coffee.
- An excellent “transitioning tool” for those looking to reduce caffeine intake.
- Much kinder to the stomach – caffeine stimulates the gut in ways that many people find unpleasant.
- A great way to unwind.
- Fewer jitters.
- Helps you improve your sleep.
- Delicious if you find the right brand.
Try Decaf the Right Way Today
We’re not just decaf aficionados – we’re absolutely fanatical about the perfect decaf brew. We only ever use the Swiss Water Method for an untarnished, perfect brew every single time.