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Decaffeinated Coffee - Written by Lewis Spencer

How much caffeine in decaf coffee

Decaffeinated coffee has the delicious coffee flavour and strength that you love, without the jitter-inducing caffeine that you sometimes – but not always – need! But it is something of a misnomer as decaffeinated coffee still has a perceptible amount of caffeine in it, and overdoing the decaf can leave you just as wide awake as a modest cup of full-caff coffee.

Many people avoid decaffeinated coffee because they confuse flavour and body with caffeine levels. The flavour of the coffee depends on the depth of the roasting, with dark roasts offering smooth and mild coffee, while light roasts offer strength of flavour. Neither of these have anything to do with the caffeine content of your brew! Caffeine is flavourless, and removing as much of it as possible from your favourite drink will not affect the taste in any way.

In the European Union there are stringent laws stating that only 0.1% of caffeine should be found in decaffeinated green (unroasted) beans, and only 0.3% in coffee products such as instant coffee. The USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) states that any decaffeinated product must be a minimum of 97% caffeine-free.

While there is much less caffeine in a cup of decaf, the amount is certainly not nil, and this is important to consider if you are avoiding caffeine for medical reasons, such as heart problems.

On average, all over the world, a cup of decaffeinated coffee has been found to contain anywhere from 1mg to 7mg of caffeine, while a full caffeine cup contains 70mg to 140mg. Thus you can see that drinking decaffeinated coffee all day, compared to one to three cups of full caffeine coffee can leave you with the same amount of caffeine in your system, potentially interfering with your sleep cycle (particularly if you are someone who metabolises caffeine slowly).

Water processed decaffeinated coffee is 99% caffeine free, whereas coffees decaffeinated with the Methylene Chloride process are about 98% free.

Any coffee that is classed as decaffeinated must be 97% caffeine free.

In a standard cup of ordinary coffee there is between 80-100mg of caffeine, in decaffeinated there is between 2-15mg of caffeine.

This table demonstrates the difference between different processes.

Product Process Caffeine Reduction Caffeine Level
Regular Coffee Beans No Decaffeination N/A 80-100mg
Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Water Process 99% caffeine-free 2-15mg
Dark Decaffeinated Colombian Coffee Methylene Chloride 98% caffeine-free 2-15mg
Guatemala Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Water Process 99% caffeine-free 2-15mg
Medium Roast Decaffeinated Colombian Coffee Methylene Chloride 98% caffeine-free 2-15mg

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