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Decaffeinated Coffee - Written by Miles Spencer

How much caffeine is in decaffeinated coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee is the choice of people who want to enjoy the taste of coffee without the hit of caffeine. In order to sold as decaf, coffee has to fit within certain standards.

The Decaf Regulations

Coffee in the UK is produced and sold in line with European food regulations. These regulations state that:

for roasted beans – caffeine content should be no more than 0.1%
for instant (and soluble coffees) – caffeine content must be no more than 0.3%

Decaffeinated coffee is produced by various methods in which the raw beans are swollen by steam or water and various solvents used to extract and absorb the caffeine before the beans are roasted.

How Does This Translate to a Cup of Coffee?

The percentages quoted above relate to coffee before it’s made into a drink, i.e. to beans, ground coffee and instant coffee. The exact amount of caffeine in what you drink will depend on how the jug, cafetiere or cup of coffee is made. That said, the impact of brewing or processing on the percentage content of caffeine should be fairly insignificant.

A mug (of 240 ml) of brewed regular coffee will contain 96 mg of caffeine.

A mug of brewed decaf coffee contains 2 mg of caffeine.

A mug of instant regular coffee contains 62 mg.

A mug of decaffeinated coffee contains 2 mg.

Compare this to the stronger espresso where a regular shot of 30 ml contains 64 mg of caffeine, while the caffeine in a shot of decaffeinated espresso barely registers a value.

These figures are a guideline only.

Does Removing Caffeine Affect the Taste or Flavour?

Science would say the process of making decaffeinated coffee does have a minor impact on both taste and flavour. The colour may change, meaning the same type of beans when decaffeinated become paler than the regular beans. Taste and aroma may also be a little milder. This is a minor issue because coffee lovers who want to drink decaf can just use a stronger tasting bean, grinds or instant powder, or use more of their chosen coffee to make it stronger.

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