You may think that decaf coffee tastes exactly like a regular one, but you’d be wrong. Decaf coffee tastes different and it’s a fact. The reason is the process of decaffeination which changes the taste profile (and the fact that regular coffees are roasted at lower temperatures).
Want to learn more about it? Let’s go!
Don’t miss out: I’m picking the best decaf coffee
What is decaf coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee is coffee from which caffeine has been removed; this process reduces the drink’s caffeine content and removes any unpleasant side effects such as jitters or headaches.
The ways of decaffeination include:
- The Swiss Water Process (SWP) – This process, invented in 1940 by George Constant Louis Omas, uses only water to remove caffeine from the coffee beans.
- Carbon Dioxide Process (CBP) – Green coffee beans are soaked in carbon dioxide under certain pressure and temperature conditions. This process is odorless and tasteless but can damage some organic components (flavor, taste) of the green coffee beans.
- Ethyl Acetate Process – The ethyl acetate solvent is applied to ground roasted coffee beans under certain pressure and temperature conditions.
All this leads to a different taste profile than standard-processed coffees which have been roasted at lower temperatures.
People drink coffee without the caffeine because they usually cannot metabolize the chemical and must work against their body chemistry to break down what remains in their stomachs.
Regular coffees on the other hand undergo a more intense roasting process, often called “dark roasting,” which produces flavors like chocolate and caramelized sugar that can be lost when making decafs.
9 Reasons To Drink Decaf Coffee
We already know that it tastes different than other coffees but decaf can also be healthier than its caffeinated counterpart because of the lack of caffeine content. So what are the facts? Read on to find out more about this intriguing beverage.
Depending on your palate, some people will say that a cup of decaffeinated coffee tastes worse than regular because it has been stripped out all its natural flavor. Others feel as if their usual caffeine habit leads them to mistake other flavors for bitterness from too much caffeine and not enough sugar. In reality, both sides have valid points that only further fuel the debate as who knows what truly lies behind tasting preferences?
2) Health Benefits
Caffeine has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, overdoing caffeine can cause anxiety, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and a fast heartbeat.
3) Caffeine Disrupts Sleep
If you are having trouble sleeping it may be time to cut back on caffeinated coffee. Caffeine has a half-life of about six hours, so the caffeine in your morning coffee stays with you until at least noon.
4) Better Taste
Decaf beans are usually not left out on the shelf for too long so they will have more flavor than ground coffee that has been sitting for several days.
5) Decaf is Green
When an entire batch of coffee beans goes through the decaffeination process, you lose many of the flavor notes that contribute to the taste of the coffee. Once all those different bean types are combined into one, it can give your cup of joe a more generic or muted taste.
6) Decaf Contains Caffeine
Your decaf will still contain some caffeine; it’s just not enough to make you jittery. A typical cup of decaffeinated coffee contains anywhere from 1-4mg of caffeine per cup. By comparison, an average 8 oz cup of regular coffee can range from 125-200 mg with a 12 oz “grande” at Starbucks containing roughly 360mg.
7) Decaf is Smoother
Since decaf coffee beans have been through a process to remove the caffeine, it allows for a smoother cup of coffee since you’re not going to get that jittery feeling from too much caffeine.
8) Better Blends
Certain types of coffees are normally blended with other beans to make them taste better, but since decaf has been stripped of its caffeine it is not blended with any caffeinated beans. An example would be the Swiss water process where the coffee beans are steamed and then rinsed in a bath of near boiling-temperature water to remove caffeine.
9) Roasted for Full Flavor
Some brands of decaf coffee are roasted just as long as regular to ensure that it still tastes the same. The only difference is that it’s harder for some companies to develop flavors with lower caffeine content so they have to compensate by roasting longer.
Is Decaffeinated Coffee Bad For You? (Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee Beans)
- reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Helps protect your heart
- Decaffeinated coffee is better for people with insomnia because it promotes an increase in theta (slow-wave) brain activity [source], which is associated with sleep.
- You wake up without a headache or jitters.
- You can stay alert and focused during meetings and conferences.
Decaffeinated coffee can help you from getting diabetes. That is because it causes the sugar in your drink to go slower into your body. The less sugar, the better.
Decaf coffee does help protect the heart! The caffeine in normal coffee has been linked with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, but decaffeinated versions of those drinks don’t share those same risks. They’re also lower in calories and generally less acidic (which is good for bone health and blood pressure).
Does decaf coffee give you more energy than regular coffee?
Decaf coffee does contain a small amount of caffeine, enough that some people say it might give you a “slight kick.”
As decaf coffee contains less caffeine than regular coffee but it still contains other stimulants that are found in regular coffee like theobromine (cocoa extract), lactose (milk extract), or sodium.
What is the point of drinking decaffeinated coffee?
According to experts, coffee has many health benefits, including antioxidants and lutein which are related to lower rates of various cancers, including cancer of the colon.
Decaf is a great option for people who want all these benefits but do not want caffeine. Other popular options include black tea or herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, ginger, etc. Either way, there’s always an alternative to getting our morning (or any time) pick-me-up that doesn’t involve coffee!
Which Decaf Coffee Should I Try?
If you are after a delicate, low acidic taste with a smooth finish you should go for Don Pablo Coffee. It has a citrus, cocoa, and caramel notes that enhance the taste of your coffee.
If you are a fan of stronger, more smoky flavors with a more complex blend then Peet’s Coffee Decaf would be my recommendation.
Does decaf coffee taste worse?
Studies have shown that caffeine makes the coffee taste better, increasing the full range of weighty, bitter notes to a wider extent than decaf.
On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee usually tastes better to those people who are all too sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
Why should you not drink decaf coffee?
A cup of decaf coffee is not as effective at getting someone fully awake as other types of caffeinated beverages, so it might leave you feeling unmotivated or less energetic than other types of coffees.
Why does decaf coffee taste bitter?
Decaf coffee needs to be processed using special equipment that removes caffeine from the process. It can taste bitter not because it is missing some key flavor, but because it had more caffeine than the decaf coffee had!
Conclusion on Why Does Decaf Coffee Taste Different
Caffeine-free coffee is a great option for those who want to enjoy the taste of coffee without caffeine.
The process of preparing decaffeinated beans differs from regular, caffeinated beans because it requires more processing due to removing most or all of the caffeine content. It is no longer an energy-giving drink.
Contrary to popular belief, decaffeinated coffee does not necessarily taste worse than regular coffee. It just tastes different; some people may even think it tastes better.
No matter whether you pick regular or decaf, remember that too much of anything isn’t good for your health or your taste buds.