If you were to ask people why they drink coffee, the chances are at least 95% or higher you’ll get at least one of these two reasons: I like the taste and/or I want my CaFfEinE!
But alas, there are some who for various reasons still enjoy the taste of coffee but don’t or can’t have caffeine.
Or maybe someone just wants to drink coffee in the evening but still wants the possibility of getting that thing called sleep, too.
This is where decaf comes in.
The only time I drink decaf coffee is if I want coffee in the evening because I end up with trouble sleeping if I try to drink regular coffee at nighttime.
Otherwise, I love my caffeine.
In this article we’re going to talk about decaf coffee, and especially the best decaf coffee.
What Exactly Is Decaf Coffee?
Coffee beans, in their natural state, contain caffeine.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and it’s molecular formula is C8H10N4O2.
Caffeine can make our heart race, give us a wonderful little boost in the morning to help get us going, give us the jitters, make us that much happier, cause insomnia, and oh so many other things.
Simply put, caffeine can certainly be both good and bad.
Which is why some people love the taste and experience of coffee but want to have it without caffeine.
Anyway, decaf coffee is made by removing most of the caffeine content from coffee beans.
Notice that I said “most of”, not all caffeine content.
Decaf coffee is never fully decaffeinated; it usually has around 2% of the caffeine content remaining.
So practically any given decaf coffee you may find is technically 98% decaf.
There are four main ways that coffee is decaffeinated, these are:
- Swiss Water method
- Indirect-solvent method
- Direct solvent method
- Carbon dioxide method
The Swiss Water method is the most popular, and produces arguably the most high quality decaf coffee.
For this process, the green coffee beans are first soaked in hot water.
After that, the beans are removed, leaving what’s called the green coffee extract.
This extract is then filtered through a carbon filter which takes away the caffeine (or most of it).
After this, a new batch of green coffee beans is then soaked in the green coffee extract.
But because the green coffee extract is saturated with caffeine-free soluble components, the only caffeine that will find its way into that extract is from those beans, leaving the oils and origin coffee flavors undisturbed.
If it sounds complicated, it’s because it is complicated.
But the Swiss Water process is another topic for another article.
The Best Decaf Coffee(s)
Before I get into the top choice(s) for decaf coffee, I’ll just mention for those who may be wondering…
When it comes to the taste, decaf coffee only tastes very slightly different than regular caffeinated coffee.
The difference is so small that most won’t be able to notice it.
One of the main differences is that decaf coffee can be a bit less acidic because of the process it goes through in taking out the caffeine.
But overall, there’s hardly any noticeable difference between decaf and regular coffee, and especially if the Swiss Water method is used.
So without further ado, here are my top choices for decaf coffee!
I couldn’t give you just one, that’s a hard call to make to say what the single best decaf coffee is, so I’ll give you three!
Here we go!
Kicking Horse Decaf Coffee
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If you know me, of if you’ve read some of my articles, you probably know that I absolutely love Kicking Horse Coffee.
I’ve tried many of their coffees, and none of them has been bad at all.
In fact, they’ve all been amazing, fresh, and well-balanced coffees.
And their decaf coffee is no exception.
This is a Swiss Water process decaf and the beans are from Central and South America, a dark roast coffee with low acidity and a beautifully balanced flavor.
The Kicking Horse decaf coffee has a nutty, deep, and earthy flavor.
Some of the other flavor notes are hazelnut, chocolate, and brown sugar.
This one is perfect for anyone who likes a dark roast, deep coffee that’s delicious and well-balanced.
Not only is their decaf a huge winner, but Kicking Horse also makes my official favorite coffee I’ve ever tried.
This is a decaf coffee from an amazing brand that you simply cannot go wrong with.
No Fun Jo Decaf Coffee
First off, you’ve got to love the “fun” they have with the name by calling it “No Fun”.
It gave me a good smile anyway.
But even if they take the fun out of the coffee, they don’t take the great taste or quality away.
Jo Coffee uses the top 2% of specialty organic Arabic raw coffee beans for their coffees.
For this decaf coffee, Jo also uses the Swiss Water process.
It’s a medium-dark roast, that has milk chocolate, blueberry, and complex flavor notes. This is an awesome and delicious profile for this high quality coffee.
Because it’s a medium-dark roast, it’s great for pretty much any brewing method you could want to use.
If you’re after an all-around awesome decaf coffee with a delicious berry and milk chocolate taste and many quality certifications, you may want to give this one a go!
Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Decaf
There’s a reason why this company is called Volcanica.
That’s because they take advantage of the mineral-rich, high-altitude soils of volcanic mountains to make coffee which tastes delicious.
Just like with Kona coffee, which is also grown in volcanic soil and tastes awesome, Volcanica Coffee makes use of this rich soil to produce a high quality coffee.
This Costa Rica decaf coffee from Volcanica comes from the mountain ranges of Tarrazu in San Jose in Costa Rica, a single origin coffee.
This decaf coffee has a full body, and it’s well-balanced, smooth and bright. It also has a delicate chocolate flavor.
This is on my list because it’s a high quality coffee, and it has that volcanic soil flavor to it that Kona coffee lovers also enjoy.
It’s a taste that is unique and just great.
This coffee is a great decaf option if you’re looking for a single origin, delicious brew.
Wrapping It Up
Decaf coffee, although the process has become more complex and has improved much with Swiss Water, is not a totally new thing.
It goes back to around the year 1906 when a man named Ludwig Roselius pioneered the process.
It involved taking out the caffeine with… benzene.
So as you can imagine, this process was stopped and not allowed for obvious reasons.
As time went by, people tried using different solvents to take the caffeine out of coffee, but none of them worked so well so as to improve the bad reputation that decaf coffee had.
It is more recent however that the process has become more safe, as with the techniques like Swiss Water.
So whatever the reason someone may be drinking decaf coffee for, whether it’s health reasons or just to be able to enjoy coffee at nighttime and be able to sleep, I hope that at least one of them from the list here today will be a great option.
There are so many excellent options when it comes to decaf, thankfully.
I hope this article was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know.
And with that, decaf coffee cheers!