You’re here because you want the best decaf coffee imaginable, and we’re right there with you. Far too many coffee shops serve bitter, tar-tasting decaffeinated coffee, so it’s time to take matters into your own hands and prepare it at home. Decaf coffee drinkers make up a small minority of customers, which is why these brands have dedicated their efforts to making some of the best decaf coffee you’ll have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. We’ll answer your questions on the decaffeination process, risks, caffeine content, and more, after showcasing the top ten best decaf coffees on the market.
The Best Decaf Coffee
Ask just about any old-school decaf drinker, and they’re going to tell you that Eight O’Clock was one of the greats. While it’s not readily available in coffee shops anymore, they’re still serving up a caffeine-free experience in these airtight bags. Those not only retain freshness, but keep your coffee grounds from clumping. These come completely kosher certified, opening up Eight O’Clock for anyone to enjoy. Here, we have the medium roast, original decaf blend that they’ve been using for ages, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re simply not going to find a smoother decaf blend out there than Eight O’Clock The Original Decaf. Make sure you also check our guide to the best coffee pod machines.
24 oz of medium roast blend
Completely kosher certified
Compact, airtight bags retain freshness
- BrandEight O’Clock Coffee
- Weight12 ounces
Looking for a little more of a premium flavor? Kicking Horse couldn’t have chosen a less brand-specific name, but they nailed down the perfect method of making decaf coffee. You get a mixed blend of light hazelnut and a smooth, though subtle tone of chocolate, all in a glorious dark roast flavor that tastes as good as any cup of caffeinated coffee. If you’re switching to decaf and you’re worried you’ll miss the taste of regular coffee, Kicking Horse decaf coffee is here for you. They’re also completely fair trade, organic, and kosher to meet every conservative need across a wide spectrum of coffee drinkers.
35.2 oz dark roast blend
Made with roasted hazelnuts and a chocolate body
Organic, fair trade, and fully kosher
- BrandKicking Horse Coffee
- Weight2 pounds
Don Pablo makes one of my personal favorite caffeinated coffees, but since making the switch, their decaf blend makes it feel like I’m not missing anything. Often times when you switch from caffeinated to decaf, you miss that flavor and feeling, but Don Pablo’s decaf coffee maintained the same great taste thanks to their unique process. They don’t utilize GMOs in their production methods, and keep everything in small batches to provide strict quality assurance at every stage of the process. In this particular blend, you get Swiss water processed medium roast arabica beans, with a bit of caramel and citrus undertones in the body. This might just be the last decaf you’ll ever buy.
Completely GMO-free process
Small batch roasted for flavor balance
Medium roast arabica beans with caramel and citrus body
- Brand Cafe Don Pablo
- Weight 2 pounds
There’s coffee, but then there’s something stronger, right? Espresso’s strength isn’t in the caffeine content; it’s in the way that the beans are procured and treated, and nobody knows how to do it better than Lavazza. Decaf espresso is a difficult concept, but they’ve brought that deep, rich flavor that you can expect with standard espresso. You get a Lavazza Decaf Espresso Grounds four-pack of 8 oz canisters for a great price, which allows you to maintain your stock in fresh, sealed containers while you enjoy the open one cup by cup. Lavazza brings the coffeehouse feeling right into your kitchen.
Fully non-GMO production process
All Lavazza decaf espresso is roasted in Italy
Excellent value at four canisters per pack
- Weight1.98 pounds
Illy doesn’t try to hide behind anything: they’re premium, they know it, and their coffee tastes like it. You’ll get two canisters, equaling a little less than nineteen total ounces in your purchase. Illy Medium Roast Decaf Coffee is not just premium because it’s roasted in Trieste, Italy; it’s not just premium because they use the finest grinds to maximize flavor, it’s… well, it’s all those reasons and more. They also process these beans in a fully air-free environment, utilizing high pressure to package and preserve the flavor of your decaf coffee from the moment it goes in the can, until the second it lands in your cup.
Two 8.8 oz canisters per purchase
Medium body roast perfected in Trieste, Italy
Packages in air-free pressurized facilities to preserve freshness.
- Weight8.8 ounces
We’re not really sure why they decided to call it No Fun, because the body of this decaf coffee is an adventure: hints of blueberry, milk chocolate, and a bit of nuttiness to tie it all off. It’s exquisite, and not costly, either. You’re paying roughly a buck per ounce for high-end decaf coffee, which is processed through the Swiss water treatment method, and certified organic and fair trade compliant. Jo Coffee didn’t soup up the packaging, either; they know that you’re going to fall in love with what’s on the inside, and take it from us, No Fun Jo Original Decaf is one of the most flavorful cups of decaf coffee you’ll have ever had.
Swiss water treated to maintain maximum flavor
Notes of blueberry, milk chocolate and slight nuttiness
Excellent value per ounce
- BrandJo Coffee
- Weight12 ounces
Dark roast and decaf are opposites, but what Kirkland is referring to is the full-bodied flavor that dark roast brings, while reaping the benefits of a decaf blend. Kirkland’s decaf blend comes with rich undertones of hazelnut and caramel, which is especially present in the aroma after you pour that first cup. Because Kirkland usually deals in high volume orders, they’re giving you the option to stock up with large canisters at excellent per-pound costs. The only issue we found with this is that the cans are in 3 lb sizes, so you’ll have to find an alternate way to preserve your grinds to prevent them from going stale.
Finely ground dark roast flavored decaf coffee
Flavor components of hazelnut and caramel
Available in bulk deals to low the per-pound cost of your decaf coffee
- BrandKirkland Signature
Instant coffee has a place, and Mount Hagen is how it gets there. Using high-end organic, vegan-friendly coffee beans, they bring a truly natural way to enjoy your decaf without having all those extra additives thrown in. It’s GMO-free, USDA certified, and the packaging is even fully recyclable despite it being a food receptacle. With dollar store instant coffees (it’s okay, we’ve all tried them), you always get a few grinds that don’t blend into your hot water properly. Mount Hagen’s instant blend is fully immersed in the water within about ten seconds. One quick stir, and you won’t be able to tell the difference between this, and coffee out of a pot.
Fully vegan friendly, non-GMO and gluten-free
100% certified organic source
Ten second average immersion time
- BrandMount Hagen
- Weight10.6 ounces
If you don’t know what the Swiss water process is all about, we’ve outlined it below. All you need to know right now is that Verena’s take on decaf coffee is refreshing, in more ways than one. You get 32 oz of fair bodied medium roast beans, providing a rich flavor, without having a heavy greasy feeling. Verena Street Swiss Water Decaf utilizes the power of small batching for quality assurance, but also to maintain flavor, without losing valuable nutrients. There’s a seriously rich palate here that they’ve been able to achieve without that burnt, charred flavor that many of their competitors have fallen prey to.
32 oz of medium roast coffee
Swiss water method treated decaf beans
Rich flavor without a heavy body
- BrandVerena Street
- Weight1.5 pounds
Starbucks may be one of the biggest brands of QSR coffee out there but they’re still a viable option to grab a great cup of decaf from your kitchen. Now don’t hate us for suggesting instant coffee; you’d have to try it to believe just how good this can really be. With Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Italian Decaf you get fifty individual 3.3 gram packets that dissolve into your fresh kettle-heated water, delivering an authentic Italian roast flavor right into your cup. Starbucks did a fantastic job (for instant coffee), keeping the body light and nutty and avoiding dark, rich undertones that they’re often citified for.
Instant for mornings where you don’t have much time
100% Italian-roasted arabica coffee
Fifty individual packets per purchase
- Weight8.3 ounces
Decaf Coffee Buying Guide Аnd FAQ
We’ve looked at the best decaf coffee beans to start out your morning with, but now it’s time to delve deep into the subject matter. Decaf coffee has a lot of misinformation hovering around it, and we’re here to not only discuss the facts of decaf coffee, but to also make you more knowledgeable during your purchase process. It’s hard to find good decaf coffee; this makes it infinitely easier.
Q: What Are the Decaffeinating Methods Currently in Practice?
A: There are a total of four different methods currently in place to take the caffeination out of coffee. No two methods are equal; Swiss water process decaf coffee is superior not only in flavor, but also in maintaining nutritional value. Let’s explain the four of them so you can be in-the-know.
- Direct Solvent Decaffeination: We’re talking about this and indirect solvent decaffeination first, because they’re arguably the most ineffective ways of decaffeinating coffee, and subject your beans and grinds to retaining chemicals. They begin by steaming the beans to open everything up, but then washing them in methylene chloride for hours on end (sometimes as long as twelve hours). They drain the chemicals afterwards and steam the beans again, but it’s far from natural.
- Indirect Solvent Decaffeination: Similar to the previous method, the beans are steamed, boiled for roughly six hours, and then washed for the same amount of time with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. This is referred to as the European method, so if you see this on decaf beans, they’re using it as a measure to make it seem ritzy and expensive.
- CO2 Process: There’s something called alkaloid in your coffee beans, and using CO2 will remove it from those beans. This is the most recent and mass-produced method, where massive pressure is applied to coffee beans submerged in CO2. It only affects the alkaloid and nothing else, so it’s seen as a much safer way than direct or indirect solvents.
- Swiss Water Process: The superior method of decaffeinating your coffee. This process uses osmosis and water solubility to decaffeinate coffee. It can sometimes mean that there’s still a 4-7% caffeine content (more on this later) in your coffee, but doesn’t use direct or indirect methods of chemical intervention, and we always want to keep our food and beverages as natural as possible.
Q: What Are Some Decaf Coffee Benefits?
A: Decaffeinated coffee beans get a bad rep for flavor, but when you know how to prepare it right, you’re still reaping just about all the benefits of regular fully caffeinated coffee. The best tasting decaf coffee comes from the Swiss water method, as mentioned in the previous section, and maintains the full body without stripping arabica beans of their flavor and nutritional benefits. Decaf coffee can help to:
- Lower Risks for Diabetes: Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee share this attribute. Thanks to high contents of chlorogenic acid, you’re able to regulate and metabolize glucose easier. This means less work for your liver, which can help deter symptoms and negative effects that are risk factors for, or direct symptoms of diabetes.
- Safeguard Your Liver: Quite simply put, there’s an antioxidant found in most decaf coffees that help protect your liver by detoxing what goes into, and comes out of your liver’s natural process. In harsh decaffeination methods, this effect can be removed entirely, which is why it’s best to stick with Swiss water methods only.
- Increase Cardiovascular Related Health: Perhaps the number one thing that coffee in general does for you, is increase cardio health. This is something that will always be lessened through the decaffeination process, because you’re still stripping some of the natural oils from the coffee bean when it undergoes this process, but it still has a slight impact. Basically, it means you can have four cups of decaf in a day without the risk of high blood pressure, and improve your heart health through the most enjoyable way possible.
Q: Does Decaffeinated Coffee Have Risks?
A: It’s been proven that coffee, when in moderate amounts, is good for you. But if you’re like some of us and you’re extremely sensitive to caffeine, suffer heart issues, or you’re pregnant and want to enjoy your coffee without harming your baby, then you’ll be able to get most of the same benefits from decaf without the risks. To be clear, the health benefits won’t change whether you’re using organic decaf coffee or not: it’s all about the decaffeination process.
Even the best decaffeinated coffee will fall prey to one irrefutable fact: all coffee has caffeine. If the brand you’ve gone with uses the Swiss water method, that’s good, but there’s still up to 3% of the original caffeine amount in those beans. To put it in perspective, there’s usually 140 mcg of caffeine in a standard eight-ounce cup of coffee. With decaffeinated coffee, there’s maybe 7 or 8 mcg in there at best. It’s still better for you than caffeinated coffee, but there is no such thing as 100% decaf. If you’re still sensitive to these low levels and you use additives in your coffee, consider replacing half of the volume in your cup with milk. Four ounces of milk and four ounces of decaf coffee make an excellent beverage.
Q: How do I Prepare the Best Decaf Coffee?
A: Before you start preparing your decaf coffee beans, let’s talk about storage. Once you open those vacuum sealed bags, they’re essentially useless. Nothing bad against any of the companies that product them, but you don’t have the machinery in your home to get that same level of seal again. You need to find a storage solution that keeps your beans or grinds nice and fresh. Get a canister with a fairly tight seal, and keep your coffee in a dark, dry, cool place (preferably between 45 F and 68 F). As a heads up, if you have flavored decaf coffee, it won’t affect storage solutions.
Storage is assuring quality prior to actually preparing your perfect cup(s), but it isn’t all. You should:
- Invest in a Quality Grinder: Grinding your own beans will always yield a better cup of coffee than using grinds from a can or a bag. Believe it or not, the individual size of each grind will impact your coffee. In restaurant environments and QSRs, they have daily quality assurance measures to compare their grinds to samples of “perfect” grinds. Coarseness and size change the taste, and with decaf, it’s especially true.
- Get a Water Filter: Most of us use tap water to prepare coffee, especially when we’re making a pot a day. Even if you live in an area with excellent city water, you’ll still want to filter it. Get a Pur filter that clips onto your faucet spout, or consider getting a Brita pitcher to put tap water into, and filter it out. It’s going to make a major impact in the flavor and quality of your decaf coffee.
- Use a Kettle: The ideal range for great tasting coffee is between 180 F and 196 F. Coffeemakers can burn your decaf coffee (hence why you always find single-serve coffee from the shop to be bitter or burnt). It’s easier to distaste decaf coffee, so use a kettle instead. When it whistles from the water boiling, the water is at least 212 F or higher. Open the spout and let it rest for about ninety seconds or so. If you have a food thermometer, temp the water to ensure it’s in that perfect range.
- If You’re Not Sure, Overdo It: You can dilute your coffee, but you can’t do anything with watered down, thin coffee. If you’re afraid that you’re using too high a volume of grinds, test it, dilute it when necessary, and make adjustments for the next time. If you’re really ready to dig your heels into this and get the best decaf coffee of your life, you can invest in an inexpensive kitchen scale that measures in grams. Measure each batch of grinds to ensure you’re getting the perfect amount for the perfect flavor every single time.