Caffeinated coffee vs decaf, which is better? Coffee is among the healthiest beverages in the world today. Besides being antioxidant-rich, it has many other health benefits.
Related: How To Make Lattes At Home + 7 Easy Recipes To Try
However, the caffeine in coffee may cause problems in some people. In this case, decaf coffee is an ideal alternative. Let’s find out more, shall we?
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Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: What is Decaf Coffee
Decaf coffee, which is the short form for decaffeinated coffee, refers to coffee made from coffee beans that have had between 97-99% of their caffeine removed. The coffee beans are decaffeinated before roasting and grinding using many ways, including water, organic solvents, and carbon dioxide or charcoal filters.
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: What is Caffeinated Coffee
This is coffee made from coffee beans which have caffeine present in them. Coffee contains high levels of caffeine, a legal and popular stimulant in most countries.
Is decaf coffee harmful to health?
No, it isn’t. There is no proof that decaf coffee is harmful to one’s health. It provides some benefits which are similar to those of regular coffee.
regular Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf
Apart from the caffeine content, decaf coffee is similar in composition to regular coffee. It has almost identical nutritional value to regular coffee.
While regular coffee contains caffeine, decaf coffee has its caffeine removed using a combination of water and other chemicals such as methylene chloride, activated charcoal, supercritical carbon dioxide, or ethyl acetate.
How much caffeine does decaf contain?
Decaf coffee is not entirely caffeine-free but has some caffeine. However, it comes with significantly lower caffeine levels compared to regular coffee.
While regular coffee contains 80-100 mg of caffeine per 8-oz cup according to the FDA, a typical 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee, on the other hand, has 2 milligrams of caffeine.
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Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee
Decaf coffee has various health benefits, which include:
- It’s an excellent antioxidant source: Although lower by about 15% than regular coffee, decaf coffee is rich in two antioxidants, namely, hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols.
- Reduces the risk of rectal cancer: Daily intake of decaf coffee reduces the risk of developing rectal cancer by up to 48% – source
- Reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus: A daily intake of a cup of coffee can help minimize the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 7% – source
- Improves liver function: Decaf coffee reduces liver enzymes providing a protective effect on liver function.
- It helps relieve the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux resulting from regular coffee intake.
Why drink decaf Coffee?
Drinking decaf coffee will provide you with the nutritional and health benefits of coffee without experiencing the side effects of caffeine.
Decaf coffee is also an excellent beverage for coffee lovers who are sensitive to high caffeine levels as it contains a lower amount of caffeine.
Taste profile differences between decaf and regular coffee
Decaf coffee differs in taste from regular coffee. The decaffeination process removes the caffeine and other chemicals that give coffee its distinct smell and taste.
The method and the composition of the solvent used in making decaf coffee hugely impact the flavor.
Using water only in the decaffeination process can help preserve the flavor and aroma but not remove all the caffeine.
Doesn’t It taste different?
Although decaf coffee tastes different from regular coffee due to the decaffeination process, the taste profile is highly dependent on an individual’s unique tastes profile.
Decaf doesn’t mean nocaf
Despite its name, decaf coffee isn’t 100% free from caffeine as it still contains some amount( up to 2 mg per 8 oz cup) lower than regular coffee. It’s, therefore, not nocaf.
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: What’s The Best Decaffeination Method?
Let’s dive in.
What is caffeine, and how do we remove it from coffee?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant primarily found in coffee, tea, and cacao plants. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system keeping you alert and preventing the onset of fatigue. There are various methods of removing caffeine from coffee. Most of these methods involve the use of water, organic solvents, and liquid carbon dioxide.
The most popular decaffeination method is the swiss water decaf process. Many people consider this method the best as it produces the highest quality and most flavorful decaf coffee. This is how it works:
Swiss Water Processed
The Swiss Water processed technique is a chemical-free decaf method that depends on the solubility of the green beans and water movement (osmosis) to extract caffeine from whole coffee beans. Rather than relying on solvents for caffeine extraction, this method uses green coffee extract (GCE), where green coffee beans dissolve in hot water.
This allows the caffeine plus other sugars and acids present in coffee to dissolve. The coffee solution is then passed through charcoal filters removing caffeine while retaining the other elements. Although the Swiss water process is costly, it delivers the most flavor in coffee, making it the preferred decaf method.
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: Things You Should Look Out For When Choosing Decaffeinated Coffee
These are some of the things you should look out for when choosing decaf coffee:
Not all decaf coffee is equal as they use varied decaf methods. The various decaffeination methods impact differently on coffee resulting in subtle differences in flavor and quality of your coffee. It’s therefore essential to consider the method utilized. The Swiss Water method is regarded as the most effective and the safest as it doesn’t include any chemical solvents.
It’s a certified organic procedure that removes 99.9% of the caffeine naturally while preserving all flavors as much as possible.
There isn’t much difference in terms of price between decaf and regular coffee. However, Different brands of decaf coffee come with different price tags. You should experiment with other brands to find out what suits your budget best. You should, however, note that expensive doesn’t always equate to better.
Roast type and flavor notes
It’s essential to determine your preferred roast level, whether light, medium, or strong. Although it can be complicated, always look for a blend’s tasting notes usually provided on the bag. You may, for example, have a preference for dark roasts with chocolate overtones and not smokiness and vice versa.
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: Who Should Drink Decaf Coffee?
Decaf coffee is best for:
Caffeine sensitive individuals
Different people have different levels of tolerance for caffeine. Some people may get acid reflux or heartburn as a result of the caffeine in regular coffee. If you are very sensitive to caffeine and get these symptoms, it’s best to switch to decaf coffee as it relieves these.
People with medical conditions
Individuals with some health issues, including those taking prescription medicines, should be wary of regular coffee intake. This is because some of the medications may interact with caffeine. Decaf coffee would make an ideal option in this case.
Pregnant and lactating mothers
Decaf coffee is a good choice for expectant and nursing mothers as too much caffeine may affect the babies.
Children, teenagers, and individuals with anxiety or sleep disorders.
This group of individuals should switch to decaf coffee as high caffeine levels may accelerate their condition, worsening it.
How to Brew Decaf Coffee?
This is what you need to do for a great cup of decaf coffee:
Buy decaf coffee in small quantities. If grinding your beans is impossible, buy only a small quantity of pre-ground coffee that you can use for a few days for optimal freshness. Go for decaf coffee made using the Swiss water decaffeination method for the most flavor and chemical-free coffee.
Store your decaf coffee in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness and preserve its aroma. Choose a slightly finer grind. This will allow water to linger longer for more flavor extraction. Use more coffee grounds. Ensure you use a higher grounds to water ratio while brewing.
Quick Overview Of The 5 Best Decaf Coffee Brands to Try:
- NO FUN JO DECAF:
- 2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf
- Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean
- Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast Swiss Water Decaf Coffee Ground
- Bulletproof Original Ground Decaf Coffee
NO FUN JO DECAF
- NO FUN JO DECAF PROFESSIONAL CUPPING NOTES: SWEET BLUEBERRY | MILK CHOCOLATE | COMPLEX | FULL BODY | NO FLAVORING ADDED | Descriptive terms are simply subtle undertones in the coffee itself and no flavors are added.
If you are looking for an organic way to ditch caffeine, then this is it. This coffee combines sweet blueberry and milk chocolate notes to give you a richly flavored cup of decaf coffee.
What’s more, the coffee is made using the Swiss water decaffeination method producing an irresistibly aromatic flavor. This is a delicious option if you are looking for a medium roast coffee that’s fully certified.
- Swiss water process decaffeinated; hence it is flavor-rich and chemical-free
- USDA certified organic, Fairtrade, and Kosher certified and thus quality coffee
- Subtle sweet blueberry and milk chocolate notes for delicious taste
- Made with only 2% of the world’s finest organic Arabica beans for guaranteed quality
- Handcrafted by artisan coffee roasters for maximum freshnes
2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf
- All Natural Swiss Water Process decaffeinated Colombian Supremo
Made from shade-grown, single-origin beans, this is a medium-roasted coffee with full-bodied flavor and notes of caramel, cocoa, and a slight hint of citrus. The coffee is also naturally decaffeinated using the Swiss water process allowing you to taste the full flavor of each bean for every cup you brew.
- All-natural swiss water decaffeinated coffee for a rich flavor
- Artisan roasted in small batches for optimal freshness
- Caramel and cocoa notes with a hint of citrus for a smooth, clean finish with low acidity
- Made with GMO-free, whole bean Arabica beans hence high-quality
- AIB food safety and CCOF organic production certified.
Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean
- 2lb. medium roast whole bean (32oz.); naturally decaffeinated coffee beans; rich yet mellow flavor
This coffee contains beans sourced from sustainable Rainforest Alliance farms producing a rich and mellow flavor. A family-owned company based in Dubuque, Iowa, roasts the beans. The Swiss water decaffeination method ensures maximum flavor preservation.
Better still, this coffee produces a full-bodied drink with a tantalizing aroma and no bitterness at all.
- Naturally decaffeinated coffee beans with a rich, mellow flavor
- sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified farms hence environment-friendly
- kosher certified for guaranteed quality
- freshly roasted and packaged at an independent, family-owned company hence quality assured
- full-bodied flavor and aroma with no bitterness
Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast Swiss Water Decaf Coffee Ground
- Delicious, Ethically Sourced Coffee: You've tried the rest, now buy the best; This Non-Gmo organic decaf coffee is low acid and high in flavor; The beans are sun dried, and spring water washed; The result is pure, natural coffee derived straight from nature
This is low caffeine, low acidity, organic, chemical-free, Swiss water processed decaf coffee made with shade-grown Arabica beans sourced from the Nicaraguan mountains.
These single-origin beans produce a smooth and balanced brew with caramel and a nutty flavor profile. Besides being Fairtrade certified, credible farmers handpick the beans and hand wash the beans with spring water to give you a clean and high-quality coffee.
- Handpicked, sun-dried, and spring-washed for natural and pure coffee that’s high in flavor but low in acidity.
- Naturally decaffeinated using the Swiss water process hence flavorful and easy on the stomach.
- Shade-grown single-origin Arabica beans in Nicaragua mountains in Central America hence low in acid
- USDA certified organic hence high-quality
Bulletproof Original Ground Decaf Coffee
- Medium Roast Decaf Ground Coffee: Caffeinated coffee with distinct notes of cinnamon, plum, and orange with a cocoa hazelnut finish
Bulletproof makes this decaf coffee with high-quality beans grown on high-altitude estates in Guatemala and Columbia. The company expertly picks and sorts the beans to ensure the highest quality. Each batch is then cleaned and dried using sustainable washing and drying techniques before being tested for impurities.
- High-quality coffee with Rainforest Alliance certification
- Certified clean coffee that has been tested for impurities hence safe for consumption
- Expertly handpicked, washed and dried using sustainable methods to ensure optimal quality
- Medium roast coffee with distinct notes of plums, oranges, and cinnamon plus cocoa hazelnut finish
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: The Best Decaf Coffee Overall
Although all the products in our list are high-quality, NO FUN JO DECAF is our choice for the overall best. With its multiple certifications, you are sure of quality coffee in every cup.
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf: FAQs
Does decaffeinated coffee make you poop?
Yes, decaffeinated coffee may give you an urge to poop, although the urge is lower than caffeinated coffee. It’s, however, not clear what elements in decaf coffee cause this; hence researchers need to carry out more studies.
How much coffee does decaffeinated coffee have?
Decaffeinated coffee has lower caffeine content than regular coffee. Although it may vary with different brands, It usually contains up to 2 milligrams of caffeine for an 8-ounce cup.
How does decaffeinated coffee work?
Decaffeination involves removing caffeine from coffee, mainly using water and other solvents. This is done before roasting and removes between 97%-99.9% of caffeine.
Does decaf coffee keep you alert?
No, decaf coffee won’t keep you alert. This is because it contains very low amounts of caffeine, usually less than 5 mg hence incapable of distorting your sleep or altering your body clock.
Will decaf coffee give me energy?
Yes, drinking decaf coffee can help boost your energy. This is because of its low caffeine levels that won’t cause you to feel tired after taking it.
Is it okay to drink decaf coffee at night?
Yes, you can drink decaf coffee at night without the risk of losing your sleep or altering your body clock. It nearly has no effect as a stimulant since decaffeination removes 97-99% of caffeine.
Is decaf coffee free of caffeine?
No. Decaf coffee, despite its name, is not caffeine-free as it still has some caffeine. However, it contains very low amounts of caffeine usually less than 5 mg
Caffeinated Coffee vs Decaf Coffee: Good or Bad? Final Thoughts
Whether it’s due to medical conditions, caffeine intolerance, or you simply want to enjoy coffee without the side effects of too much caffeine; decaf coffee is a great beverage. Just like regular coffee, decaf coffee will offer you multiple health benefits without any side effects.
Although the decaf taste profile may differ from regular coffee due to the decaffeination method used, roast level, and type of bean, the taste depends on individual preferences. So, have you tried decaf coffee yet? Why don’t you choose from our list and give it a try? Let us know what you think.
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Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Shevy