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10 Best Decaf Coffee Beans: reviews and buying tips

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If you’re someone who needs a jolt to kickstart their morning, coffee without caffeine might seem pointless. But there’s so much more to love about coffee: the ritual, the aroma, and of course, the taste. With decaf, it’s something you can enjoy at any time of day.

Decaffeinated coffee might have a bad reputation, but the days of bland decaf are over. Our guide to the best decaf coffee reviews the brands putting flavor first and foremost.

TOP PICK
LifeBoost Organic Decaf
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LifeBoost Coffee Organic Decaf

These beans by Life Boost coffee represents the best intersection of healthy decaffeinated coffee, that does not sacrifice flavor. 100% Chemical and Mycotoxin-free hand washed and sun-dried beans from the Nicaraguan mountains, decaffeinated with care using the Swiss water processing. Tastes amazing, and leaves you feeling the same.

Top 10 Best Decaf Coffee

We’ve already told you about the best overall coffee beans, but we saved decaf for this list. After a lot of research on your behalf (you can thank me later) here are the best decaf coffees we’ve found. All these options have been Swiss water processed.

We’ve excluded chemically decaffeinated options, such as the Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, which is processed with methylene chloride – known in your local hardware store as ‘paint stripper’. It might be safe or it might not, but hey, why take the risk?

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
HEALTHIEST HEALTHIEST
LifeBoost Organic Decaf
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LifeBoost Organic Decaf
  • Organic, shade-grown, Mycotoxin free
  • Flavor profile: Caramel and nutty
  • 100% Swiss Water Processed
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BEST DECAF BLEND BEST DECAF BLEND
a kind of coffee named after a volcano
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House Blend – DECAF (Volcanica)
  • Sweet and bold flavor
  • 100% chemical free decaffeination process
  • Swiss Water Processed
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FULL OF FLAVOR FULL OF FLAVOR
kona coffee bag
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Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf
  • Pure Kona Coffee grown in Hawaii
  • Swiss Water Processed
  • Comes from an extremely reputable seller
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Best on Amazon Best on Amazon
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Coffee Bros. Decaf Roast Coffee
  • Naturally processed
  • Medium roast
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cafe don pablo decaf
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Cafe Don Pablo
  • A full-bodied, well-rounded brew flavor
  • Has low acidity
  • Swiss Water Processed
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Volcano and a Garden
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Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu Coffee (Volcanica)
  • Swiss Water Processed
  • Roasted after you order
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Wood bridged on the beach
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Sumatra Mandheling Decaf Coffee (Volcanica)
  • Swiss Water Processed
  • Roasted after you order
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Advertisement of a coffee brand
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Kicking Horse Decaf Coffee
  • Swiss Water Processed
  • Dark roasted
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A pack of No Fun Jo Decaf
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No Fun Jo Decaf Coffee
  • Swiss Water Processed
  • Medium-Dark Roasted
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peets decaf
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Peets Decaf Mocca-Java
  • Arabica
  • Dark Roast
  • Blend
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1. Lifeboost Coffee Organic Decaf

The healthiest decaf you can buy?

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium roast
  • Origin: Nicaragua (single origin)

This 100% chemical-free Swiss Water Processed decaf coffee by Lifeboost coffee is low-caffeine, low acidity, organic, and sustainably sourced from the Nicaraguan mountains.

These 100%-Arabica single origin beans are praised for their smooth, balanced flavors, with low acidity and caffeine levels. Home baristas describe the flavor profile as ‘caramel’ and ‘nutty’. Life Boosts organic beans are Fair Trade, shade-grown, handpicked, spring water washed, and grown at high altitudes like the best coffee usually is. This company is serious about offering amazing tasting coffee without risking the health benefits.

You won’t be inspired by their branding or packaging, but at the end of the day that does not matter as long as the product is gold standard.

2. Volcanica Coffee House Blend

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium
  • Origin: Blended

Our top pick comes from Volcanica Coffee, a family-run company that specializes in providing some of the highest quality gourmet coffees – and at some pretty incredible prices to boot! Volcanica is focused on exceptional quality, making frequent personal trips to farms and ensuring that they’re providing the best treatment for everyone involved from the crop to your cup.

Their beans are sourced from the best growing regions around the world, particularly those defined by rich, volcanic growing soil, and usually at fairly high altitudes – both of these factors being renowned for yielding incredibly high-quality beans.

This Volcanica Decaf House Blend is an exquisite blend of Central and South America beans. Medium roasted after you’ve placed your order to ensure optimal freshness, these beans deliver a cup of coffee that has a very full, rich body and is defined by its strong and bold – while simultaneously sweet – flavor profile.

3. Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf Whole Bean Kona Coffee

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium
  • Origin: Single origin

These decaf beans come from Koa Coffee, a high-end coffee producer that grows their beans right on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, giving it that exquisite “Aloha taste” that Kona beans are famous for.

Painstakingly grown and medium roasted to perfection, you shouldn’t expect anything less considering the price tag. These are certainly some of the most elite beans in the coffee world. They work well for a straight decaf cuppa as well as a half and half mix to cut down on the caffeine in your regular coffee.

As you can probably guess from the title, these beans are Swiss Water Processed, which means all of those flavors and oils have been carefully preserved just for your cup.

4. Coffee Bros. Decaf Roast Coffee

Specifications

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium
  • Origin: Colombia

This single origin decaf is here to give your favorite caffeinated brew a run for its money. It’s bold, smooth, and punchy with flavor. It may not be caffeinated, but it’s definitely not going to put you to sleep!

The 100% Arabica beans are sourced at high altitude from the renowned growing region of Huila, Colombia. They’re naturally processed, which gives them an inherent sweet and fruity character, and decaffeinated at the source via the ethyl acetate process. Coffee Bros. then roasts them to just shy of medium to deliver a brew with a classic chocolatey profile backed by a unique hint of graham cracker.

5. Cafe Don Pablo

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Dark to medium
  • Origin: Blended

Processed using the Swiss Water Method, these award-winning Arabica beans from Colombia are roasted in small batches just prior to packaging.

Cafe Don Pablo brews with a less acidic flavour profile than other low-caf brands. And whereas some beans can leave you with a bitter aftertaste, there’s none of that with this smooth, well-rounded bean from Cafe Don Pablo. It’s worth noting that some drinkers find it tastes more like a dark roast than medium roast.

Although the beans from this Colombian decaf are not fair-trade certified, the company does have their own ‘Sharing Certified’ program and works closely with farmers in Colombia (1).

6. Peets Decaf Mocca-Java

Specifications

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Dark
  • Origin: Blend

The best blended coffees should bring highlight the qualities of the beans and develop complexity in your cup, and that’s exactly what Peets Decaf Mocca-Java blend does.

This popular mix from Peets is based on a traditional recipe that brings together the best of old world and new world coffees. Mocha beans are sourced from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, adding a rich chocolate flavor. Earthiness, syrup, and spice come from beans sourced from Java, Indonesia.

The result is a smooth, full-bodied coffee with notes of cocoa, cardamom, and port wine. The dark roast makes is a top choice for a French press brew, but Peets suggests trying it with a pour over too.

All coffee you buy from Peets is roasted to order, sealed immediately, and shipped the same day, so you’ll get beans that are as fresh as possible. For the days you do want a little pick me up, this blend is also available in regular and half-caf options.

7. Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu Coffee

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium
  • Origin: Single Origin

Central America is a coffee paradise, and Costa Rica is no exception. The country has been a major coffee producer for a long time now, and that experience is on full display with this Costa Rica Decaf Ta​​rrazu Coffee.

Grown in the cooler, high-altitude regions of the Tarrazu mountains, this full-bodied and well-balanced coffee is an excitingly bright, yet delicately smooth cup that is sure to deliver an exciting, flavor-filled experience without overwhelming you in the process. It has a medium acidity and notes of crisp apple and chocolate that are the perfect accent to a mellow cuppa.

The coffee is Shade Grown, Rainforest Alliance Certified, wet processed, and decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process method.

The only criticism we could find on this one was that the taste was “good but not great.” If that eloquent criticism is the worst tasting experience out there, chances are this is a safe bet.

This one also continues the trend of Volcanica Coffees on our list that are both amongst the most affordable decaf options available, as well as guaranteed to be roasted after you place your order.

8. Volcanica Coffee Sumatra Mandheling Decaf Coffee

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium
  • Origin: Single Origin

One of the most prolific coffee-growing regions on the planet is Indonesia, and one of the biggest hotspots in the island nation is Sumatra. Sumatran coffees often have a very earthy, rich flavor, and this rare Sumatra Mandheling Decaf Coffee goes right along with that trend.

This exotic, low-acidic decaf option is as smooth as it gets. The beans have a heavy body and intensely syrupy flavor that ends in a rich, earthy aftertaste.

These mellow fellows are Shade Grown, Rainforest Alliance Certified, and, of course, Swiss Water Processed. Only roasted after you place your order, typically arriving fresh on your doorstep within the next few days.

The only negative comment we found claims that the price was too high for the overall quality of the beans, though this was counterbalanced by many satisfied, five-star review customers who loved the smooth, full flavor. (Let’s ignore this cheapskate for now).

9. Kicking Horse Decaf Coffee

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Dark
  • Origin: Blended

If you’re a fan of a good dark roast, these decaf beans from Kicking Horse may be just what you’re looking for.

Like Volcanica Coffee, Kicking Horse Coffee is a high-end coffee provider that is laser-focused on elements like organic products and sustainable practices.

This decaf blend is made with beans from Central and South America. It is dark roasted, giving it a deep, earthy, and nutty flavor with hints of chocolate and hazelnuts. This beauty of this blend is that it’s usable with whatever coffee maker you have on hand, from espresso to French Press or even a decaf cold brew.

And of course, like all beans in this list, the decaffeination is done using the Swiss Water Process, giving you virtually none of the caffeine, yet maintaining all of that exquisitely grown and roasted flavor. Kicking Horse Coffee has also gone out of their way to slap on as many sustainable labels as they could get their hands on: It’s Fair Trade certified, Kosher(!), and certified organic in both Canada and the U.S.

Be aware, though: the bag is priced affordably but is also pretty small. Just 10 oz!

10. No Fun Jo Decaf Whole Bean Coffee

Specification:

  • Beans: Arabica

  • Roast: Medium Dark
  • Origin: Blended

Jo Coffee is clearly committed to doing everything right. They’re Fair Trade certified, as well as USDA Organic, plus they’re members of the Specialty Coffee Association, and of course, they use the Swiss Water Process to remove caffeine from these beans. They’re roasted to a medium-dark level, great for pour over or drip but surprisingly good in espresso (if you’re a Third Wave coffee drinker).

Cupping notes describe blueberry and chocolate elements, which sound like some of our favorite Ethiopian beans. However, Jo Coffee doesn’t state the origin of these beans. They do say there are no flavorings added to the coffee, but that the fruity, cocoa elements are a natural component of the beans they use.

That blueberry aroma is delicious, but surprising. We’ve found, when brewing cappuccinos from Ethiopian coffees which have strong blueberry components, that you can omit sugar even if you normally sweeten your cappuccino – the fruity lushness of the blueberry scent provides enough sweetness without adding anything. So if you’re looking to cut down on sugar as well as caffeine, maybe No Fun Jo is one you should try.

Things You Should Look out for when choosing Decaffeinated coffee

If you’re not already a low-caf convert then you might wonder why you should give it a try. If you are, you may have noticed that most decaffeinated blends are Arabica based (robusta has more caffeine) so what’s the difference between them?

Choose the Swiss Water Method of Decaffeination

There are 4 methods of decaffeinating coffee – with the most popular today being the ‘Swiss water method’. It’s the most effective, and safest method used today. We cover these in detail in our guide: The truth about decaf coffee. Read it out if you really want to get into the science.

Ensure that your coffee specifically mentions the Swiss water method, rather than simply claiming it’s done by pure or natural processing:

Some products were labeled as “Pure” but testing by an independent lab revealed quantifiable amounts of the toxic chemical methylene chloride.

The Swiss Water Method (S.W.M. for short) of decaffeinating coffee is a certified organic process that naturally removes 99.9% of the caffeine, while keeping all of the flavors as unadulterated by the process as possible.

Here’s how the process works:

Process of swiss Water Decaf
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Why Drink Decaf?

As many as 10% of us now buy reduced caffeine coffee. Why? Partly because some of us just like the coffee taste too much. Others like to drink a coffee after dinner – it’s such a nice ritual, hey? – but they’re weary of sleep problems. By the way, if you have any problems with heartburn, the low acidity of decaffeinated coffee might be a reason for trying it out.

As a life without coffee is too cruel to be imagined, if a decaf coffee can be a good compromise. Or if you want something a little weaker, go for some great tasting instant coffee.

Doesn’t It Taste Different?

It depends on the way the coffee has been decaffeinated. Water decaffeination doesn’t alter the flavour profile as much as solvent-based methods. Of course, any process that your coffee goes through changes the flavour to a certain extent, but it’s probably not as noticeable now as it was years ago (or for poor Ludwig).

To snub a fine coffee for lack of caffeine is to completely miss the point of all the efforts that went into making it an enjoyable culinary experience.

Decaf Doesn’t Mean Nocaf

No process can remove all the caffeine from the coffee. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration requires 97% of the stimulant to be removed from the coffee before it can call itself decaffeinated. In a recent study, it was found that most of the brews tested contained as much as 10% of a regular cup of drip (2) .The standards are a little tighter in Europe, with EU regulations requiring more than 99.7% of the caffeine to be removed to be called decaffeinated.

If you’re caffeine sensitive, the best brew to choose is one that’s been decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Method as that is the most effective process, removing 99.9% of the caffeine.

The Verdict

Thanks to the advance of chemical-free processing, and the commitment of quality coffee brands, it’s now much easier to get a great-tasting decaf. However, our pick of the bunch goes to Lifeboost Coffee Organic Decaf. Not only chemical-free and organic, but this coffee proves that freshness and flavor don’t need to take a back seat just because you’re skipping the caffeine.

FAQs

Yes, decaf coffee contains antioxidants in only slightly lower levels than regular coffee. If you need to make the switch to decaffeinated coffee, you won’t be missing out on the benefits that antioxidants can provide, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (3).

Low acid coffee is coffee that is either grown or treated to have a higher pH (lower acidity) than regular coffee. Coffee that is naturally low acid has usually been grown at lower altitudes. Treated low acid coffees are usually roasted at lower temperatures for longer times, which reduces the acidity (4). 

The recommended caffeine intake for a healthy adult is a maximum of 400mg per day (5). The caffeine content will depend on the brewing method, but this equates to around 3-4 cups of brewed coffee or 3 double espressos.

  1. Sharing Certified Program. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://donpablocoffee.com/pages/sharing-certified-program
  2. Jennifer Warner. (n.d.) Decaf Coffee Isn’t Caffeine-Free. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20061011/decaf-coffee-isnt-caffeine-free
  3. Bjarnadottir, A. (2020, July 29). Is Decaf Coffee Good or Bad? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/decaf-coffee-good-or-bad
  4. D’Silva, A. (2021, November 11). How To Buy and Make Low Acid Coffee – Era of We Coffee Forum. Retrieved from https://www.eraofwe.com/coffee-lab/en/articles/how-to-buy-and-make-low-acid
  5. Caffeine: How much is too much? (2020, March 06). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
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Growing up in a coffee-free household, the discovery of the Moka pot as a teen
was something of a revelation. I’ve now upgraded to the AeroPress for my daily
brew, with a Hario V60 on hand for lazy weekend mornings.

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