Choosing a Good Decaf Coffee (It’s hard)

In the world of specialty coffee, the word decaf causes many baristas to shudder. The typical idea that decaf coffee isn’t real coffee is actually beginning to fade. With many new practices in the specialty coffee world, there are actually some decaf coffees that taste pretty darn good.

How Do They Make Decaf Coffee?

Caffeine is inherently present in coffee, therefore, in order to extract the caffeine from the coffee, the coffee must be manipulated. This can be done in many ways, however, the most common way is by using chemicals.

There have been many improvements in the world of decaf coffee; one of which being boiling the beans in hot water to extract the caffeine. While this a chemical-free way of decaffeinating coffee, it does result in some loss of flavor.

Recently, there have been some interesting improvements in methods to help decaf coffee lose its stigma of being so nasty.

What To Look For When Choosing A Decaf Coffee

While all decaffeinated coffee beans do have to sacrifice flavor on some degree, there are certain things you can look for on packaging that will point you to coffees with the least amount of flavor loss.

Look For:

Swiss Water Decaf Process: This is the only certifiably organic way to remove the caffeine. It also makes it taste significantly better.

Lighter Roasts: Choose a lighter roast when given the option. The darker coffee roasts mixed with the water decaf process will result in the least amount of flavors still being prevalent in the coffee. Choose lighter for more unique sweet flavors!

Our Favorite Decaf Coffees

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Trapper Creek Decaf

This one has some awesome dried fruit and graham notes.

Intelligentsia Decaf Librarian’s Blend

Smooth base and a hint of lime. Delicious.

Blue Bottle Coffee – Night Light Decaf

This one is my all time favorite. Notes of creme brulee, vanilla, and key lime. This coffee is not a compromise and in my opinion is even better than many regular coffees.

Counter Culture Coffee – Slow Motion Decaf

Notes of cocoa and molasses. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

Happy Coffee Drinking!


13 thoughts on “Choosing a Good Decaf Coffee (It’s hard)”

  1. You lost me at DECAF…caffeine is essential. LOL To me, decaf coffee is the equivalent of having a burger with no burger (bun & condiments and no meat).

    1. Hahaha, I can agree with that to an extent. I enjoy the lovely side effect of caffeine in coffee. However, it is nice to hear that there is an alternative that actually tastes decent for people who can’t handle the caffeine!

  2. Very informative! I have been looking for good decaf coffee to have at night, as my husband loves coffee but I am now not able to handle regular coffee after 6pm, but a wonderful warm coffee at night is such a treat. I’ll check out Blue Bottle as we have a cafe near by. Thanks.

    1. Coffee after dinner is my favorite, but I agree, sometimes the caffeine is too much! Yes, you should check out Blue Bottle; they are amazing. They’re Decaf is by far my all time favorite Decaf coffee!

  3. We honestly roast the best DCF. It’s delicious. Certified Organic. 99% caffeine free. Swiss-water decaffeination method. Zero chemicals added.

  4. I use to me against decaf until I my dad who has heart problems and health issues had to switch to decaf. It never dawned on my that decaf is necessary for some to maintain healthier lifestyles and also I have found it a good alternative when you want coffee late in the evening or at night without the caffeine to keep you awake. I can brew a cup and not worry about having trouble sleeping. Also, flavored coffee creamers are great to add to decaf coffee or just coffee period.

    1. I do agree that Decaf can be a great choice for someone in the evening! I enjoy having a cup of coffee after dinner, however, most people can’t do caffiene that late at night so I understand decaf from that stand point. With the many new decaf processing methods it is an exciting time for those who are more sensitive to caffiene!

Tell Us Your Thoughts!