The Best Decaf Coffee – Decanted And Delightfully Described

by | Jun 30, 2020

The world loves coffee. In recent years, however, the world has also become much more health-conscious, and every now and then there’s a little scare in the world media about whether drinking too much caffeine is bad for you. Enter, if you dare – the world of decaf coffee.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Best Decaf Coffee Options Of 2020

With so many delicious varieties on the market, though, just how is a discerning coffee drinker to decide? Welcome, then, to our short and snappy guide to some of the best decaf coffee beans we could find.

 

The Most Delicious Decaf – Don Pablo At Your Service  

Our Winner: Don Pablo (5/5)

Dark and delicious with a hint of caramel, citrus, and cocoa, Café Don Pablo was our very favorite decaf coffee. The decaffeination process uses water to remove as much caffeine as possible from this Colombian gourmet whole bean coffee, which ships in 2 or 5-pound bags.

While the packs are not vacuum sealed, there is a one-way degassing valve – CO2 is allowed out, but no oxygen is allowed in.

2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 Pound (2 lb) Bag
2,936 Reviews
2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 Pound (2 lb) Bag
  • All Natural Swiss Water Process decaffeinated Colombian Supremo
  • Carmel and cocoa with a hint of citrus. Smooth, clean finish with low acidity
  • Medium-Dark Roast - Whole bean Arabica Coffee - GMO Free
  • Artisan roasted in small batches
  • Try Don Pablo Risk-Free: Buy now, and if you don't love our coffees, contact us directly through Amazon, and we will happily refund your order

The acidity is low. The finish is clean and smooth. We’ve mentioned the caramel, cocoa, and citrus hints, but we’re pretty sure there’s a bit of walnut in there too.

These 100% Arabica beans are roasted in small batches. Due to the decaffeination, the beans may appear to be a little darker than you’d typically expect. The end result is 99.9% caffeine-free. Not that you’d know it from the taste – the flavor really is like the real thing. Just without the caffeine. Oh, and they’re GMO-free too.

The company grows, harvests, and processes their own coffee beans in Colombia. Through the Sharing Certified Program, the company also manages the production of over 1 million coffee plants. The coffee is never, ever blended with Robusta, past crop, or sub-par beans. We found it worked beautifully in a traditional drip machine, a hand drip mechanism, French press, and cold brew.

 

Victorious And Vigorous – Verena Street 

We also loved this medium roast decaffeinated Arabica Sunday Drive coffee from Verena Street. Shipping in 2-pound packs (or 32 ounces, if you prefer), the caffeine is removed via the Swiss Water Process. It’s Rainforest Alliance Certified.

You can also buy 80 ounce, 12 ounce, or 11-ounce bags. The Swiss Water decaf method means this coffee has a full-bodied aroma and robust flavor without any bitterness. They’re also kosher certified by the Orthodox Union.

Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process Decaf Beans, Sunday Drive Decaffeinated, Medium Roast Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica Coffee
2,056 Reviews
Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process Decaf Beans, Sunday Drive Decaffeinated, Medium Roast Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica Coffee
  • 2lb. medium roast whole bean (32oz.); naturally decaffeinated coffee beans; rich yet mellow flavor
  • The Swiss Water decaf process gives this a full-bodied flavor and aroma without any bitterness
  • Sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms to protect farmers, wildlife and environment
  • Freshly roasted and packaged in Dubuque, Iowa at an independent, family owned coffee company
  • Kosher certified by the Orthodox Union, the world’s most trusted and recognized kosher certification

On arrival in the US, the beans are craft roasted and packaged as soon as possible in Iowa, at an independent family firm in Dubuque. And if you’re wondering why it’s called Verena Street, it was the name of a lane in the peaceful, quiet neighborhood down by the Mississippi River, back in the day.

The decaf variety tastes relaxing and smooth – there’s no need to sacrifice flavor just because it’s low in caffeine. The flavor is pretty creamy, dark, and smooth, something akin to a typical espresso. Taste-wise, it’s also pretty close to Folgers decaf coffee. The Swiss Water process used removes 99.9% of the caffeine.

The company also takes pride in sustainable sourcing: including agricultural methods that aim to protect soil, waterways, and wildlife, and support the well-being of farmers.

100% Arabica beans are expertly blended to create unique and delicious flavors. You’ll get the very best results with cold, clean water, ideally filtered or bottled. Use around 2 tablespoons of water for every 6 ounces of water, depending on your brewing method (we like this one with the drip method in particular).

 

Kicking Kirkland – Decaf Arabica 

If it’s a dark roast, fine grind coffee you’re looking for, then give Kirkland’s signature decaf Dark Roast a whirl. It ships in 48-ounce packs, and it’s all Arabica. If you want something to compare it with, it’s pretty close to Starbucks.

Arabica beans usually produce a smoother, less bitter coffee than Robusta, the other variety, although how the coffee is roasted makes a difference too. Perhaps counter-intuitively, dark roasts are usually more mellow than light roasts. And decaffeinated coffees are often dark-roasted.

This coffee works especially well in a French press or in a drip coffee maker, the slower the better. The slower the extraction method, the less acidic the end coffee. If you combine a slow brewing method with a fine grind, you’ll also get maximum flavor.

We have to confess we also love the packaging on this one – it ships in a metal can, sealed at the factory. It’s a decent, all-round decaf coffee.

 

Best Decaf Instant Coffee: Starbucks 

No overview of modern coffee, caffeinated or not, would be truly complete without a nod to the world’s most familiar coffee shop, with one of the world’s most famous mermaids. If you want a super-convenient decaf coffee, then may we suggest Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf, now over a decade old? It’s an Italian roast, dark roast, and you get 50 servings in a pack.

Only Arabica coffee beans are used, and the flavor is sweet and rich. You’ll be able to pick up hints of caramelized sugar in there. It’s super-convenient and good value for money. You don’t need any specialist equipment for this one, just hot water, 10 seconds, oh, and your favorite coffee cup. Each packet gives you an 8 ounce serving of coffee.

Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Coffee Packets — Italian Roast — 100% Arabica — 1 box (50 packets)
4,754 Reviews
Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Coffee Packets — Italian Roast — 100% Arabica — 1 box (50 packets)
  • Made only with high-quality arabica coffee beans
  • Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Italian Roast Coffee is roasty and sweet with a rich, deep flavor and notes of caramelized sugar
  • Just tear open a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Italian Roast Coffee, add hot water, wait 10 seconds and stir. No coffee machine or grinder needed
  • Create great-tasting beverages with these single-serve, ready-to-brew packets. Enjoy them anytime, anywhere--in an instant
  • Includes 1 box of 50 packets

You can even use it to make a cool coffee, if you prefer. You just need to allow a little more time for the beverage to dissolve, and make sure you give the final result a thorough stir.

The best way we can describe this coffee is that it’s sort of a darker Espresso roast, but without that smoky aftertaste that you find in French roast. There’s no sugar in these sticks.

 

No Need To Wait For Eight O’Clock  

It might be called Eight O’Clock Whole Bean, The Original Decaf, but you can enjoy this coffee at any time of the day or evening. Or even through the night, if you’re one of those night owl types.

It’s a 50% decaf blend, so a little higher than some others, and there’s a range of sizes including 24 ounces.

Sale
Eight O'Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf, 24 Ounce
6,688 Reviews
Eight O'Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf, 24 Ounce
  • Unique blend of 100% Arabica decaffeinated coffee beans, medium roasted
  • Same rich, smooth, and original taste without all the caffeine
  • Packed in sealed bags for freshness
  • Today Eight O'Clock is America's best-selling whole bean coffee
  • Kosher certified

Eight O’Clock coffee has been produced for over 150 years. It’s kosher certified and roasted with love and care by master roasters. In many countries, eight pm is the time of day associated with supper, but it varies around the world. And should it be after eight, there’s more than one dark mint chocolate which goes especially well with after-dinner coffee, decaffeinated or otherwise.

 

Jeremiah's Organic Decaf Coffee  

You’ve probably picked up by now that many of the decaf roasts we sampled are dark roasts, which retain maximum flavor with minimum bitterness. And Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee is no exception. This water processed coffee is organic and ships in 10-ounce bags – you get three in a pack.

Like many of the decaf coffees we investigated, the Swiss Water process was used to extract the caffeine. We detected dark chocolate. We detected caramel. And we definitely detected 100% Arabica beans – both in aroma and flavor.

Jeremiah's Pick Coffee Organic Water Processed Dark Roast Decaf Ground Coffee, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)
369 Reviews
Jeremiah's Pick Coffee Organic Water Processed Dark Roast Decaf Ground Coffee, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)
  • Pack of three 10-ounce bags (total of 30 ounces)
  • Ebony-roast ground coffee decaffeinated by chemical-free Swiss Water process
  • Flavors of caramel and dark chocolate with bittersweet intensity
  • Ground from 100% arabica beans: more flavorful/aromatic than robusta beans
  • Roasted and ground in San Francisco, CA

It all starts with the bean. “Right Roast. Right Taste” is more than just a slogan here. The color profile of each batch is matched to bring out the subtleties of the character and origin of each coffee.

This coffee is CCOF certified organic and certified kosher by Northern California’s Vaad Hakashrus. Once the caffeine has been all but removed, the beans are roasted in the French style. This gives the end product a smooth flavor profile. The coffee is also Rain Forest Alliance certified.

 

Fabulously Flavorful – No Fun Jo  

The name of this coffee couldn’t be further from the truth – it’s far from no fun. This medium-dark roast with the name of No Fun Jo Decaf takes whole bean Arabica coffee. The caffeine content is then reduced via the Swiss Water Process.

It’s Fair Trade and Organic certified Kosher Certified, and Swiss Water Process Certified.

Jo Coffee is one of the subsidiaries of Specialty Java Inc.

NO FUN JO DECAF: 12 oz, Organic Decaf Coffee, Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process, Fair Trade Certified, Medium Dark Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee, Certified Organic, Chemical Free Gluten Free, Decaf Espresso
1,100 Reviews
NO FUN JO DECAF: 12 oz, Organic Decaf Coffee, Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process, Fair Trade Certified, Medium Dark Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee, Certified Organic, Chemical Free Gluten Free, Decaf Espresso
  • 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...
  • Each batch of this fresh roasted organic coffee is hand-crafted, by artisan coffee roasters, in our micro-roastery.
  • Available in 12 oz or a 2 lb money-saving package, both packaged with resealable tin-tie for convenient storage. We recommend using 2 tablespoons of ground coffee to 6 oz of water for optimal...
  • Our organic coffee is specialty grade coffee, which is the top 2% specialty grade of organic Arabica raw coffee. This specialty grade coffee is sourced worldwide through direct sourcing and through a...
  • This coffee is USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Kosher Certified.

It ships in small 12 ounce bags or in larger 2-pound bags. So let’s get down to the fun bit – the taste. You’ll pick up milk chocolate. You’ll pick up sweet blueberry cupping notes. And other than that, it’s round and robust and delightful.

The processing method uses temperature, time, and of course, water, to bring you a 99.9% caffeine-free product. To be granted USDA Certified Organic status, coffee has to be cultivated on farms that comply with the high standards of the United States Department of Agriculture.

No contamination by chemicals is allowed. All farming operations are subject to an annual compliance inspection, as are any roasting operations.

 

Glorious Gevalia 

It’s another 100% Arabica for the Gevalia Decaf House Blend, which ships in a 6 pack of 12-ounce bags. The beans are dark roasted, and the coffee is 99.7% caffeine free.

This Swedish coffee has 150 years of expertise behind it and is known for its mellow, never bitter taste.

Sale
Gevalia Decaf House Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee (12 oz Bags, Pack of 6)
675 Reviews
Gevalia Decaf House Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee (12 oz Bags, Pack of 6)
  • Six 12 oz. bags of Gevalia House Blend Ground Decaf Coffee
  • Crafted in the Swedish tradition, Gevalia House Blend Ground Decaf Coffee is rich and never bitter
  • House Blend is Gevalia's classic flagship roast and part of the Heritage Collection
  • Decaf coffee with smooth, sweet caramel notes and lightly roasted flavor with citrus-like finish
  • Medium roast coffee is made with carefully selected 100% Arabica coffee beans

There’s a gorgeous hint of caramel, and we found this blend was most delectable when brewed with water between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. It worked especially well in a percolator and a French press. We reckon it would be pretty good in a drip machine too.

If you’re wondering about the hints of caramel, it’s all to do with the roasting process. It starts with the Maillard reaction, which takes place between 302 degrees and 392 degrees Fahrenheit. The caramelization of the sugars in the beans occurs when the roasting temperature is between 338 degrees and 392 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Kick Like A – Horse? 

The name of this decaf coffee gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Yes, this isn’t a Kicking Horse so much as a kicking coffee. It’s dark roast and whole bean, decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process method.

It ships in 10-ounce packs, and it’s certified Fairtrade, Kosher, and Organic. The company doesn’t believe, just because a coffee has had the caffeine taken out, that the flavor should be any less delightful. And we can vouch for the fact that it’s just as delicious as an “ordinary” coffee.

Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
10,829 Reviews
Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
  • Dark roast, whole bean: Swiss water process. Decaffeinated coffee should be exactly like every other one of our blends: Deep, dark and delicious. Tip-top taste with a mellow finish.
  • Tasting notes, brew method: Roasted hazelnuts, chocolaty balanced body and a long lasting finish. Recommended methods: French press, drip machine, pour over, espresso and cold brew.
  • Origin Central & South America: Grown in a socially and environmentally responsible way, by farmers with sustainable businesses they can depend on.
  • Organic, Fairtrade, kosher, shade grown, Arabica coffee: Coffee that is good and fair for the coffee drinkers, the farmers and the planet. 100% certified.
  • Roasted in the rocky mountains: It’s all deep, dark and delicious, roasted right below the towering Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks.

You get a mellow tasting, delicious, dark, deep brew. Your taste buds will be able to discern roasted hazelnuts. Plus, a chocolate sort of balanced body. It works especially well in a drip machine, French press, and pour over mechanism. It even makes a decent cold brew and espresso.

The beans are grown in Central and South America and then roasted with the breath-taking scenery of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. We loved the Fairtrade credentials – it’s fair for farmers, and profits are reinvested in the community for sustainable future growth.

 

Best Bonus: Decaf K-Cups 

As we all know, there are times when the sheer convenience of a Keurig machine provides everything you need from a coffee, at the touch of a button. And now you can enjoy decaf the Natural Water way, with this San Francisco Bay decaf French Roast pods.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY Coffee DECAF French Roast 80 Ct Natural Water Processed Dark Roast Compostable Coffee Pods, K Cup Compatible including Keurig 2.0 (Packaging May Vary), 80 Count (COMINHKG051155)
15,939 Reviews
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Coffee DECAF French Roast 80 Ct Natural Water Processed Dark Roast Compostable Coffee Pods, K Cup Compatible including Keurig 2.0 (Packaging May Vary), 80 Count (COMINHKG051155)
  • DECAF FRENCH ROAST: We blend water processed decaffeinated beans from Central & South America & roast dark for a bold, full-bodied, decaf coffee you'll love.
  • KEURIG COMPATIBLE: Designed for use with K cup style single serve brewers including Keurig 2.0. SF Bay Coffee is not affiliated with Keurig Green Mountain.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY, COMMERCIALLY COMPOSTABLE: OneCup pods, including the outer bag and one-way coffee valve, are made from plant-based materials and are certified fully commercially compostable by BPI.
  • Packaging: Due to the current circumstances and material supplier constraints, the packaging may vary. The product ingredients, roast, amount of coffee, etc. have not changed and the product quality...
  • SF BAY COFFEE is a family owned, American made company with a rich tradition. Our reputation reflects on us as a family so if you're ever not happy with your purchase, call us at 1(800) 829-1300 and...

They’re K-Cup compatible, no less. Not only that, but they’re also compostable. Fully, commercially compostable. Certified by BPI. You get to enjoy the convenience of a Keurig K-Cup with the conscience of a composter.

The beans hail from Central and South America. They’re roasted dark. They’re 100% Arabic. They’re also certified Kosher.

What’s more, San Francisco Bay Coffee is family-owned. The company takes real pride in the customer service and products they provide. Coffee farmers are paid a fair price for their crops, and the company also takes the high ground in social and environmental responsibility, giving back to the community wherever possible.

As part of their Community Aid Program, thousands of acres of rainforest have been restored. Only shade-grown farms are used. The company has also planted their own coffee on their own organic farms.

 

What is Decaf Coffee?

Let’s just take a little time out to cover how decaffeinated coffee is created, so you can keep the process in mind when you’re choosing your decaf beverage. In fact, let’s take a (virtual) trip back in time, to find out how it all began.

At the start of the 20th century, a ship carrying a precious cargo of coffee was swamped by seawater. It resulted in the caffeine content of the beans being literally washed out, but the taste of the coffee, and its other properties, were not affected.

We also owe thanks to Ludwig Roselius, founder of Kaffee HAG. After some thought and experimentation, he worked out that the caffeine content of coffee could be almost removed if you steam the beans with various acids.

He used benzene as the solvent to remove the caffeine, and, hey presto! Decaffeinated coffee to go. Almost. Modern decaffeinated coffee making methods have advanced a little – but, perhaps surprisingly, not all that far.

 

How is Coffee Decaffeinated?

Let’s take a look at how decaf coffee is made. There are several methods of removing caffeine from coffee.

The most common way used today is to soak the coffee beans in water and then add a solvent, typically ethyl acetate. This is a natural fruit ether found in fruit such as apples and pears. The solvent draws the caffeine out of the beans while they are still green.

 

Benefits of Decaf Coffee

There are many benefits to be had from drinking decaf coffee. Quite apart from the joy of the aroma and taste. While decaf coffee might not have quite as many antioxidants as the caffeinated version, it’s still high in antioxidants.

If you belong to one of the groups who is advised not to drink coffee, decaf allows you to enjoy the benefits of coffee. These groups include pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those taking prescription meds that might interact with coffee.

 

Be On The Alert For….

Beyond the taste profile, certain factors will help you choose the best decaf coffee for you. The region where coffee is grown, the altitude, and the type of soil, all have an effect on the coffee beans and how they taste. The roasting process also affects the flavor – so you might want to think about these factors as you’re making your selection.

There’s also the amount of caffeine. And then there are other considerations, such as sustainability, or the breadth of certifications. These might range from kosher to USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance to Fair Trade. Only you can decide if these will affect your buying choices.

 

Is There Caffeine in Decaf Coffee?

In short, yes, there is caffeine in decaf coffee. Decaf coffee doesn’t mean “caffeine-free”. It’s more accurate to think of it as “caffeine reduced”. Some processes reduce the amount of caffeine by 50%.

Some processes bring the amount of caffeine down by over 97%. And still others reduce the caffeine content by as much as 99.9%.

 

How Much Caffeine Is In Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee caffeine levels aren’t zero. There’s usually at least a trace of caffeine in there.

Let’s just take a look at how much caffeine in decaf coffee is typical. For comparison, a typical 6 to 8 ounce serving of ordinary coffee has around 100mg of caffeine. An equivalent serving of decaf coffee has around 7 mg of caffeine.

 

Less Caffeine, Less Taste?

It’s a myth that all decaf coffees taste weaker than caffeinated coffee. Some do, some don’t. And deciding on what is the best tasting decaf coffee is a matter of personal taste – no two palates are identical.

It all comes down to personal taste. Some taste of citrus, some of chocolate, some of hazelnut or walnut. You are likely to detect a hint of caramel in many decaf coffees, though – due to the roasting process.

 

Is Decaf Coffee Good For You?

There’s a lot of confusion about whether decaf coffee is bad for you, or is decaf coffee good for you? Well, in the main, it’s good for you. You get the pleasure and benefits of coffee, including the aroma and the taste. Just with less of the side effects from caffeine that are sometimes talked about.

While it may have been true that some of the chemicals used in the decaffeination process might not always have been the most benevolent substances you could ingest, many methods in use retain all the good bits of coffee. The antioxidants, the flavor – just not the same amount of caffeine.

 

So What Is The Best Choice?

Our Winner: Don Pablo (5/5)

We came. We sniffed. We sampled. We compared the amount of caffeine. And the convenience. And the brewing methods.

And above all, we compared the flavors. And we concluded – yes, our first choice is still Don Pablo. So, all that remains is to get brewing.

2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 Pound (2 lb) Bag
2,936 Reviews
2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 Pound (2 lb) Bag
  • All Natural Swiss Water Process decaffeinated Colombian Supremo
  • Carmel and cocoa with a hint of citrus. Smooth, clean finish with low acidity
  • Medium-Dark Roast - Whole bean Arabica Coffee - GMO Free
  • Artisan roasted in small batches
  • Try Don Pablo Risk-Free: Buy now, and if you don't love our coffees, contact us directly through Amazon, and we will happily refund your order

  Last update on 2020-09-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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