Why you need to try decaffeinated coffee
Decaffeinated coffee often gets a bad rap in the coffee world. For many coffee drinkers, the processes used to strip beans of their caffeine content have one very infamous and undesirable effect - sacrificing the taste and flavour of regular coffee beans.
While it’s true that there are certainly many coffee brands out there doing a great disservice to decaf coffee, at Coffee Direct we’re proud that this isn’t the case. Using two different methods to remove the caffeine content from our beans, we offer beautifully rich, flavour-packed decaffeinated roasts that rival any caffeinated bean.
If you’re looking to cut down on caffeine and enjoy some delicious decaf coffees, our below guide covers everything from how decaf coffee is made to the best decaf coffee beans on the market.
The Java Jargon Decoder
- Caffeine - An alkaloid compound which stimulates the central nervous system. The 'buzz' or energy boost you get from coffee is down to its caffeine content.
- Grind size - The size of particles once you’ve ground your coffee. The scale ranges from extra-coarse to super-fine. There’s no universal setting for grind size, so a quick Google image search will help you determine if you’ve sized your grounds right.
- Green beans - Coffee beans that have yet to be roasted. You can find out more about green coffee beans here.
How is decaffeinated coffee made?
There are a handful of methods used to strip regular coffee beans of their caffeine content, including Swiss Water, solvent-based and carbon-dioxide processes.
The Swiss Water process
As its name suggests, this decaffeination process originates from Switzerland. Using no chemicals and retaining the bean’s flavour, the Swiss Water Process is a superlative way to remove the caffeine from regular coffee.
To start with, the raw green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to remove 99.9% of the caffeine. This liquid is then processed through an activated charcoal filter to remove the caffeine, leaving behind the flavoured, caffeine-free liquid. Finally, the beans are soaked in this liquid to absorb the flavour, resulting in a decaffeinated bean that is 100% free of chemicals but still packed full of flavour.
Another way to make decaf coffee is by using a solvent, namely methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. While this may sound like something you’d see Walter White do in Breaking Bad, these solvents are 100% safe, and no traces are left after the roasting process.
The process starts by soaking regular coffee beans in near-boiling water for hours, which extracts the caffeine and flavours. The water is then transferred to a tank while the beans are washed with methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. The solvent molecules bond with the caffeine molecules and the mixture is heated to evaporate the caffeine and solvent. Finally, the flavoured liquid is reintroduced to the beans.
Carbon dioxide process
A relatively new decaffeination process is the eco-friendly carbon dioxide method. Green coffee beans are immersed in highly compressed CO2, which is a natural and effective solvent for caffeine. The caffeine content is then slowly extracted from CO2 molecules using carbon filters. If you prefer to drink coffee decaf, this is a natural and sustainable way of controlling how much caffeine you consume.
The caffeine content in decaf coffee
When it comes to caffeine content, decaf coffee is not 100% caffeine-free. A cup of decaf coffee contains tiny traces of caffeine. The amount of caffeine in decaf roasts varies from brand to brand, but approximately 97% - 99.9% of caffeine will be removed, allowing you a more soothing sipping experience.
In comparison with regular coffee, a cup of coffee usually contains around 180 mg of caffeine, whereas you'll find around 5.4 mg of caffeine in a decaffeinated brew.
Three reasons to drink decaf
There are lots of benefits to switching to decaffeinated coffee. Here are our top three.
1. Decaf coffee is loaded with antioxidants
Coffee is the single biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet, and with decaf coffee, you can reap the benefits without the buzz. Antioxidants like hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols are effective defence mechanisms for neutralising free radicals, which some studies suggest can help counter heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
2. Decaf roasts are packed with nutrients too
Along with antioxidants, decaf coffee also contains nutrients. One cup of brewed decaf coffee provides 2.4% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 4.8% of potassium, and 2.5% of niacin, or vitamin B3.
3. You can enjoy all the flavour of coffee, without the caffeine
Love your after-dinner java but want to be able to drop off easily? Drinking decaf gives you all the flavour and health benefits but without the caffeine kick. This is great if you’re an evening drinker and want to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Our decaffeinated coffees
If you're on the hunt for the best decaf coffees, look no further than our range of decaffeinated roasts.
Like all our coffees, these decaf beans are roasted to order, so will arrive as fresh as possible and bursting with flavour. If you love grinding your own beans you can request whole beans, or if you'd prefer to leave the art of grinding up to us, simply select your brew method of choice and you'll get the perfect grind size delivered straight to your door.
A gorgeous decaf coffee that doesn't sacrifice on strength and intense flavours, our Dark Decaffeinated Colombian is ideal for deep, aromatic espressos and cappuccinos. These beans offer rich and luxurious flavours of sweet fruit and chocolate, producing wonderfully full-bodied coffees that won't be keeping you up all night.
“This dark roast decaf Colombian coffee is so good that it's hard to believe it doesn't contain any caffeine! The aroma, the taste, the appearance (with a good crema) are all just what I am looking for in my morning coffee.”
Jill B. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Some decaf coffee is pretty tasteless; not this decaf Colombian! Really good rich flavour.”
Jennifer H. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Made using the 100% chemical-free Swiss Water Process, our delicious Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee is a medium roast Arabica from Brazil. Versatile and flavoursome, this roast can be enjoyed filtered or as an espresso and is 99.9% caffeine-free.
“The Swiss Water has an excellent taste. I wanted pure decaffeinated coffee, and Coffee Direct met all my requirements. I would definitely recommend this coffee for quality and also worth a mention is the packaging it arrives in making it easy to access beans and seal pack keeping freshness in.”
Pauline W. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The Swiss decaf is, without doubt, the best decaf coffee we have ever tasted! Honestly tastes just as good as high-quality full caffeine beans.”
Tom B. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Our brand new Medium Roast Decaffeinated Colombian is the perfect decaf brew for those who love the fruity and nutty notes of our Dark Decaf Colombian but prefer a more mellow cup of coffee. Particularly suited for cafetière and filter coffee, you can enjoy this flavoursome Arabica roast at any time of the day.
Is decaffeinated coffee bad for you?
Not at all. On the contrary, decaffeinated coffee has the same health benefits of regular coffee, along with the lack of a caffeine buzz if you’re trying to unwind. Excess caffeine can overload the nervous system, so introducing decaf coffee into your life is a healthy thing to do.
Is it better to drink decaf coffee?
When it comes to caffeinated vs decaffeinated coffee, we find that there is no ‘better’ option, it entirely depends on your preferences. Nutrients and antioxidants are at a similar level but, if you suffer from anxiety, are caffeine sensitive or are pregnant, it may be better for you to try cutting back on how much caffeine you drink. On the other hand, if you enjoy the energy boost you get from your usual caffeinated cup of coffee, then you may prefer to stick with regular coffee.
Can I drink decaffeinated coffee while pregnant?
Yes, you can. Caffeine is broken down more slowly during pregnancy and can cross the placenta, entering the growing baby’s bloodstream where it cannot be broken down. Whilst decaf coffee contains tiny traces of caffeine, making the switch to coffee decaf brands when pregnant is a sensible choice to avoid the side effects of caffeine.
What are the side effects of drinking coffee that's decaf?
A cup of decaf has a range of health benefits due to its antioxidant and nutrient content (see our decaf coffee vs green tea section above). There's also the benefit of lowering caffeine intake, which is the main health concern many people have when it comes to drinking too much coffee. You should therefore not experience any side effects to your health; however, if you have any concerns, please consult your GP or a medical professional.