Decaf Coffee: What Does It Taste Like?

Decaf coffee has been growing more and more popular, especially for those who would like to reduce their caffeine intake. This is the main reason that blows everyone’s minds and made them ditch their regular cup. However, how different does it taste from regular coffee?

That’s what we’re about to answer in this article. We’ll also answer more questions you may have about the topic.

So, are you ready? Get yourself your favorite cup and let’s get into it!

What Does Decaf Coffee Taste Like?

This is perhaps the biggest question people have about decaffeinated coffee. Surprisingly, it doesn’t taste that different compared to regular coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee doesn’t taste very different at all. It just tastes slightly sour because of how the beans were processed. But, let’s be honest—is that small extra sourness really going to stop you from indulging a decaffeinated cup?

How Different Does Decaf Coffee Taste From Regular Coffee?

The only difference between decaf and regular coffee is that decaf coffee tends to be slightly sour.

In fact, it’s hard to find major flavor differences between regular and decaffeinated coffee. This is because both types of coffees are roasted differently. Another reason is that it uses a completely different coffee bean from your regular coffee beans.

The coffee beans used in decaffeinated coffee are usually different and undergo a different process. This contributes to a slight difference in flavor.

This is what makes decaf coffee so great: you won’t notice any difference even in a blindfold test. If you still don’t believe us, go to your coffee roaster and ask for some caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. This is the only way to taste a difference in flavor, if any.

How About Decaf Espresso?

Just like decaffeinated coffee, decaf espresso won’t taste any different. Plus, it may not have that sourness because the robust flavors of the espresso beans overpower those sour notes.

Decaf espresso is a good alternative to your regular espresso shot. It has the same flavor notes, letting you enjoy the same delicious cup without much caffeine!

Does Decaf Coffee Contain Caffeine?

Decaffeinated coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine in it. Meaning, the coffee beans aren’t 100% caffeine-free.

Decaf coffee beans are processed using the Swiss water decaf process. This method makes sure that the coffee beans become 99.9% caffeine-free. Therefore, decaf coffee still contains 0.01% caffeine.

Can Decaf Coffee Still Give Me Energy?

Caffeine, which you can find in coffee, gives you more energy and makes you more alert. Since decaf coffee almost has no caffeine, it will barely give you any energy. So, you need to drink an unhealthy amount of decaffeinated coffee to have the same “kick” you get from regular coffee.

For instance, a ristretto contains 60 to 80 mg of caffeine, which can give lots of energy for the day. Decaf ristretto, on the other hand, only has about 0.6 mg of caffeine in it. This small amount won’t make you feel different or give you the same energy your regular cup of joe provides.

Just do the math. That’s a lot of coffee!

So, What’s the Point of Drinking Decaf Coffee?

There are four main benefits of drinking decaffeinated coffee. You can now say goodbye to:

Caffeine Sensitivity

Regular coffee can come with several side effects. For example, many people experience anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, palpitations, and high blood pressure.

Drinking decaf coffee will help you escape the negative effects of caffeine. It allows you to enjoy this tasty beverage even if you think that you’re sensitive to caffeine.

Caffeine-Induced Health Problems

Caffeine is acidic, a diuretic, and a stimulant. It can induce palpitations, insomnia, and other health problems.

Too much caffeine can make you experience heartburn, bowel problems, and difficulty sleeping. But, with decaf coffee, you can still incorporate this energizing drink while reducing the said effects.

Anxiety is one of the most common side effects of caffeine. It can lead to restlessness, nervousness, and what we call “jitters.”

Just keep in mind that coffee itself doesn’t cause anxiety. However, it can still worsen the symptoms in people who are already prone to anxiety.

If you drink regular coffee and experience anxiety, consider switching to decaf coffee. You may notice your anxiety go down and find that your anxiety only worsens with regular coffee.

Digestive and Dehydration Issues

A study suggests that coffee causes a gastrocolic response in some people. This means that coffee may have some laxative effects, although it’s still being studied today.

Ultimately, know that everybody is different and it’s only you who knows yourself best. What happens to other people may not necessarily happen to you.

Is Drinking Decaf Coffee More Advisable?

Drinking decaffeinated coffee is a good option if you’re trying to lower your caffeine intake. However, if you’re not drinking a lot of cups in the first place, sticking to regular coffee is fine.

Many people limit their coffee intake because of the large amounts of caffeine in regular coffee. But, what if you still want to enjoy your favorite beverage without worrying about your caffeine level? This is where decaffeinated coffee comes in.

With decaffeinated coffee, you can now have coffee any time you want. You’ll still have that nice coffee flavor but with much less caffeine. You may even drink a cup at night if you like! Amazing, right?

Additionally, it still contains most of the antioxidants in regular coffee. So, if you want to cut out caffeine but still want the benefits of coffee, decaf coffee is for you.

You can use a simple pour-over coffee brewer to brew a nice cup of decaffeinated coffee. If you prefer a more full-bodied cup, you can use a French press instead.

How Do You Process Decaffeinated Coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee comes from the same green coffee beans we know and love. So, while they don’t differ in flavor, the processing stage changes the outcome of these beans.

Here are the three main steps involved when processing regular coffee beans:

The Natural Process

In this process, the entire coffee cherries are left to dry. This usually happens on big patios outside a farmer’s house or on drying beds. This method of drying the coffee beans helps get more airflow, resulting in a more even drying process.

This can take up to six weeks and the coffee cherries are covered at night and when it rains. The farmers then separate the coffee beans from the fruit. What’s left is a clean green bean that’s ready to be shipped and roasted.

The Washing Process

During this process, the coffee cherries will run through a stream of water and get to enjoy a nice bath. The good cherries will float while the bad ones will sink and will be thrown out.

Next, they will move to a washing station where a pulping machine will remove their skin. The beans are then left to ferment, which can take a few days. This will help remove more mucilage that was left during the washing process.

Lastly, the coffee beans will be left to dry, normally under the sun. But, since the weather can be very unpredictable, farmers can use drying machines as well. This is because if it rains and the beans get wet, it will take time to get fully-dried coffee beans.

The Pulped Natural or Semi-Washed Process

The process produces a slightly sweeter and less acidic coffee and is commonly used for making dark roasts.

It starts with the pulping machine removing the skin, similar to the washing process. The coffee beans will then be stored until the following morning.

This waiting time leads to a small fermentation process to produce a more flavorful coffee bean. The coffee beans will then be washed off and dried. The drying process can range from three to six weeks.

In short, the processing of the coffee cherry helps bring out a different flavor profile. Coffee beans with a slight mucilage turn out to be sweeter than those that underwent the natural process.

Some people like the washing process while others prefer the natural process more.

Meanwhile, processing decaffeinated coffee beans is far different from the traditional way. It involves an additional step to remove as much caffeine as possible from the coffee.

This extra method is called the Swiss water process. This chemical-free and environmentally friendly method helps remove 99.9% of the caffeine from the beans. So, while decaf coffee is not 100% caffeine-free, this is as close as it can get.

In a nutshell, after washing the coffee beans, the caffeine is then drawn away and filtered out. This entire process takes anywhere from 8 to 10 hours, according to Swiss water.


Decaf coffee doesn’t contain the same amount of caffeine as regular coffee but doesn’t taste that different. This is perfect for avid coffee drinkers who want to keep enjoying that great coffee taste without the caffeine side effects.

Happy shopping and happy brewing!

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