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10 Best Tasting Decaf Coffee Beans Worth Trying

For some time, decaf coffee has had a bad reputation, and many still believe that the taste is just blah. However, things have changed and this article is here to show you.

We’ll list the best decaf coffee you can currently find. All come from reputable brands and have the aroma and flavor profile of the real deal. Pick one and enjoy your cup of joe without the jitters.

How to Choose the Best Decaf Coffee Beans

If you still haven’t tried decaf coffee, now is the time. The decaffeination method has been perfected and decaf isn’t the same as nocaf. Here’s what you should know.

Swiss Water Process Coffee Is the Best

The Swiss Water Process is the most popular decaffeination method. It’s organic and naturally removes almost all the caffeine from the beans (1).

The process itself involves five steps and does away with the caffeine without messing up the coffee oils or the flavor profile. More importantly, using water reduces any effect on the taste.

Swiss Water Process doesn’t use any chemicals. It’s a water-based process and it’s organically certified. The coffee is cleaned and it’s pre-soaked in water and what that does is expand the bean and open up the pores which allow for caffeine extraction.

Two other decaffeination processes exist, one of which uses liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) to strip the caffeine; like the Swiss water process, this is considered chemical-free. The third process uses ethyl acetate and/or methylene chloride. The latter is controversial in some circles, linked to coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and headaches when inhaled in small doses. However, the FDA concluded that any trace amounts remaining in coffee are too small to cause health concerns – fewer than 10 parts per million (2).

How Much Caffeine Gets Removed?

Decaf coffee doesn’t mean your beverage is completely caffeine-free. In fact, there are rules and regulations which govern what can be labeled as decaf.

For example, the FDA allows for 3% of the stimulant to be left in the coffee (3). Regulations in some other countries are stricter, with EU laws stating that decaf coffee can have only 0.3% caffeine.

In any case, the Swiss Water Method is the most effective since it removes 99.9% of the stimulant. That being said, the FDA approves the safety of both the methylene chloride and carbon dioxide decaffeination processes (4).

What Does Decaf Taste Like?

This is the million-dollar question. The answer brings us back to the decaffeination method. Solvent-based processes like methylene chloride and ethyl acetate do alter the taste of decaf coffee beans. If you go for a Swiss Water processed brand, the flavor profile should stay unaffected.

Did you know that decaf coffee consumption was 0.27 cups per day in 2019 in the USA?

The bottom line is that decaffeination methods have improved a lot over the years. This means the aroma and flavor differences are not as pronounced as they used to be. You can enjoy a full-bodied cup of joe with all the fruity, citrusy, or nutty notes you like.

The Reasons to Try Decaf

Most people switch to decaf to avoid the jitters because their body doesn’t handle caffeine well. But this is not the only reason to join the decaf camp.

a cup of coffee made with the french press

Assuming you have a few cups of coffee throughout the day, decaf could be the perfect choice in the afternoon or evening. There is no need to worry about trouble sleeping and you still get to enjoy the brewing ritual and heart-warming flavors.

Related: Best Coffee Beans

Decaffeinated beans also have low acidity so these beans less likely to cause heartburn, especially if you like to grab a cup between meals. And if you’ve never had decaf before, it’s a fun experiment that might make you a convert.

The Best Decaf Coffee in K Cups – Myth or Reality

Believe it or not, some of the best decaf beans come in a K-cup as well. This usually means you can get beans, ground coffee, and K-cups that feature the same blend or single-origin beans.

Industrious coffee roasters have found clever ways to retain the flavor profile and give you the original decaf for the 21st century. So, you shouldn’t cringe at the idea of a decaf K-cup.

Other Things You Should Consider

When selecting decaf coffee beans, you want to get the best of the best. Forget cheap, instant coffees as much as possible although if you really must, you can consider decaf versions of the brands in our list. When purchasing coffee products, there are certain labels and certificates that might give you peace of mind. The most common ones are the USDA Organic and Fair Trade labels/certificates.

If you buy a non-America brand, they might have an organic certificate other than USDA.

The former indicates that the manufacturer adheres to sustainable practices and the beans were likely subjected to the Swiss Water processing method. The latter signals that the company follows strict ethical principles. There are several variations of the Fair Trade label.

The Best Decaf Coffee – Top 10 Reviews

Which brands managed to remove most of the caffeine without compromising the taste? Here is the ultimate rundown and you’ll find blends that fit any brew style.

1. Cafe Don Pablo Signature Blend – Blend from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil

Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend

Specifications

  • Brand: Cafe Don Pablo
  • Type: Blend
  • Origin: Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil
  • Roast: medium-dark
  • Tasting notes: Smooth cocoa, chocolaty
  • Brew styles: Espresso, French press, pour-over, drip

SEE ON AMAZON

When it comes to the best decaf coffee brands, Cafe Don Pablo Signature Blend ticks all the right boxes. The beans undergo Swiss Water processing, production is certified as organic, and the roasting facility has an AIB Food Safety Certificate.

However, all of this is second to the flavor and aroma this blend offers. For starters, it’s slow-roasted until the Arabica beans get medium-dark. Roasting is done in small batches to ensure the consistent flavor of truly gourmet coffee.

This blend has a full and smooth body, and cocoa notes dominate the flavor profile. Signature Blend decaf beans are also low in acidity and have a distinct chocolatey aftertaste. Like these beans, this medium-dark roast coffee is great for French press, and even other brew methods such as espresso, drip, etc.

It’s worth noting that Cafe Don Pablo doesn’t have a Fair Trade certificate. However, the company obtained the Sharing certificate which indicates they partner with Colombian farmers to ensure high ethical and production standards. Finally, this is one of the decaf blends you can get in a K-cup.

BEST SUITED FOR: Decaf drinkers looking for a great all-rounder, recommended for anybody.

2. Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf – Versatile Blend Suitable for All Coffee Methods

Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf

Specifications

  • Brand: Kicking Horse Coffee
  • Type: Blend
  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Roast: Dark
  • Tasting notes: Nutty and chocolaty
  • Brew styles: All

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If you consider yourself an aspiring home barista, you must have tried one of the Kicking Horse blends. But how does this whole bean coffee compare to its siblings? The simple answer is, it might be hard to tell the difference.

The company utilizes the Swiss Water process to create a high-quality decaf blend with minimal caffeine content and which retains the beans’ natural flavor profile. What you get is a delicious dark roast with a rich body and a palatable finish. The Kicking Horse Coffee decaf gives you a nice balance of nutty and chocolatey notes that are the same as in its caffeine-rich counterparts.

When it comes to the beans, they are sourced from Central and South America. This blend is certified organic by the Canadian government and it is Fair Trade equitable. So there is no reason to worry that contaminants might affect the taste.

Finally, you will be able to brew a perfect cup of coffee, regardless of your preferred brewing method. The only trick is to correctly set your grinder and get the right particle size.

BEST SUITED FOR:  Anyone looking for a decaf blend that fits any brewing method.

Related: Best Coffee Subscription Services to Try This Year

3. Koa Coffee Decaf – Genuine Kona Coffee

Koa Coffee Decaf - Genuine Kona Coffee

Specifications

  • Brand: Koa Coffee
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Hawaii
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Sweet and fruity
  • Brew styles: Manual brews, espresso, drip machine

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Who says decaf coffee is no fun? You can get 100% Kona coffee with almost no caffeine and yes, it does have the same mouthwatering flavor profile you know well.

The Koa Coffee Kona gets decaffeinated through the Swiss Water method and the roasters take an artisan approach to achieve a medium roast. As for the taste, you’ll be able to enjoy the signature fruity notes and sweetness the Kona beans are known for.

In addition, this single origin decaf has a touch of earthiness to it. After all, the beans come from the volcanic soil from the slopes of Mauna Loa which adds those signature Hawaiian mineral notes. This coffee doesn’t have any labels or certificates, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

The Swiss Water process is organic and the plants are painstakingly grown in their natural surroundings. The only thing about this decaf is its price, but there is no reason to skimp to get one of the best beans in the world.

Ever since I’d lived in Hawaii many moons ago and I tasted the coffee I wanted more. So I now thank God for Tex’s for the computer where I can order it now. I love the smooth taste and that’s all I drink now.

BEST SUITED FOR: Anybody who craves the distinctive richness of Kona coffee, so don’t think twice about this decaf option.

4. No Fun Jo Decaf – Decaf Espresso Blend with Blueberry and Cocoa Notes

NO FUN JO DECAF

Specifications

  • Brand: No Fun Jo
  • Type: Blend
  • Origin: N/A
  • Roast: Medium-dark
  • Tasting notes: Sweet, milk chocolate, blueberry
  • Brew styles: espresso, drip machine, pour-over

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Look beyond the quirky name and you’ll find one of the best-tasting blends out there. Plus, a lot of effort goes into making this flavorful cup of joe.

A team of experts selects the top 2% Arabica green coffee beans, which then undergo the artisan roasting process to achieve a medium-dark roast which is perfect for your espresso coffee machine. What’s more, this brand sports all the right badges.

The company is USDA-certified as organic and has a Fair Trade certificate. The decaffeination process is Swiss Water, and this is one of the few brands with a kosher label. It all sounds impressive, but how does the taste compare to regular coffee?

No Fun Joe decaf has one of the most complex profiles out there. The body is full, with a distinct sweetness and milk chocolate undertones. Blueberry rounds off the tasting notes and it lingers on in the aftertaste.

It’s worth noting that No Fun Jo Decaf comes as whole beans, ground, and K-cups.

BEST SUITED FOR: Those who are looking for decaf espresso beans to go with their organic diet.

5. Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC Sumatra Decaf – Distinctive Sumatran Coffee

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC, Organic Sumatra Decaf Coffee

Specifications

  • Brand: Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Sumatra
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Creamy, dark chocolate, earthy undertones
  • Brew styles: Manual brew, drip machine, espresso

SEE ON AMAZON

This Sumatra decaf is for coffee drinkers who cherish the taste of exotic beans. This single-origin might not be to everybody’s taste, but this is not a deal-breaker by any means.

Taste-wise, Sumatra Mandheling is characterized by a pronounced chocolatey flavor with earthy notes. This partly comes from the volcanic soil which largely shapes the beans’ profile. Unlike most other decafs, this one is mildly acidic which might disagree with some coffee lovers.

Other than that, it’s an excellent organic decaf for all of those who like to explore. This brand is not short of certificates, including USDA Organic, Swiss Water Process, as well as Fair Trade.

This is a medium-roast 100% Arabica coffee without preservatives or artificial flavoring. If you just want a taste, smaller 12oz bags are available and you can order K-cups.

BEST SUITED FOR: Bold coffee drinkers, due to the unique taste and mild acidity of this distinctive Sumatran coffee.

6. Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf – Highly Respected Region of Top Central American Growing Country

Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu Coffee 16 oz

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Central America
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Chocolaty, earthy, medium body
  • Brew styles: Drip machine, espresso, manual methods

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The list of the best decaf coffee wouldn’t be complete without Volcanica and it’s safe to say that this decaf represents the pride and joy of Central America. From its highland origins to its bright full body, many consider this the best coffee for a reason.

Harvested in the Tarrazu mountains above San Jose, the cool temperatures significantly affect the beans’ flavor profile. Once roasted and brewed, this coffee gives a nice balance of lively notes with just a touch of earthiness and dark chocolate. The entire manufacturing process is dedicated to preserving the original flavor.

Volcanica Tarrazu is shade-grown, has the Rainforest Alliance certificate, and the decaffeination process is the Swiss Water method. However, it should be mentioned that this decaf has mild acidity. But this is something that you can expect with most Arabica beans grown in higher regions.

BEST SUITED FOR: Someone just getting into decaf. This Costa Rica Tarrazu is also a breath of fresh air for seasoned coffee drinkers.

7. Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf – Colombian Beans, Medium Roast, Smooth and Chocolatey Notes

Koffee Kult - Colombian Decaf Coffee Medium Roast- Whole Bean

Specifications

  • Brand: Koffee Kult
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Colombia
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Cinnamon, dark chocolate, smooth
  • Brew styles: Manual brewing methods

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For a true aficionado, Koffee Kult needs little introduction. This coffee company has made its name on artisan-roasted gourmet coffee, and its Colombian decaf is no different.

The company has a special grading method to single out the best Arabica beans. As for the decaffeination process, Koffee Kult indicates that they don’t use chemicals and that the process is water-based. However, there are no labels or certificates.

Nevertheless, this is unimportant when you get a sip of this Colombian decaf. The medium roasted whole beans provide a rich body with characteristic notes of cinnamon and an enduring finish. The taste can also be described as bright with a touch of caramel and dark chocolate.

What’s more, the beans are roasted after you place the order with the roast date printed on the package. This ensures you get the freshest possible beans.

This medium roast coffee works best for manual brewing methods – pour-over, cold brew, etc. Also, you can go the easy way and order a 12-pack of Koffee Kult Colombian decaf.

BEST SUITED FOR:  Lovers of Colombian coffee. If you are into manual brew styles this one would be a top choice indeed.

8. Stone Street Decaf – Rich Central American Coffee, Best for Cold Brew

Swiss Water Process Decaf Whole Bean Coffee

Specifications

  • Brand: Stone Street
  • Type: Blend
  • Origin: Central America
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Clean, smooth, mildly acidic
  • Brew styles: Cold brew

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Cold brew has taken off over the past few years and coffee roasters were quick to respond. Stone Street takes things up a notch and lets cold brew lovers enjoy a decaf small-batch roast.

The roast is medium, tailored to accent the flavor profile of Central American beans. The aroma is fresh and clean, though there is some acidity in the brew due to the highland origins of the beans.

This coffee is as organic and eco-friendly as they come. It is RFA and Rainforest Alliance certified, and kosher as well. The company uses Swiss Water decaffeination and top-of-the-line equipment to ensure the original flavor notes stay intact.

Plus the Stone Street decaf also gives excellent value for money. And there are three bag sizes to choose from – one, two, or three pounds.

BEST SUITED FOR: Cold-brew lovers. These beans are truly worth the 12-hour wait for cold brew, but don’t hesitate to test them out with other manual methods.

Are you a true blue cold brew lover? Check out this list of beans for cold brew.

9. Volcanica Coffee Sumatra Mandheling Decaf – Rich Flavors Well-Adapted for Decaf

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Sumatra
  • Roast: Medium
  • Tasting notes: Bold, earthy, syrupy aftertaste
  • Brew styles: Manual brewing methods

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There are single-origin coffees and then there is the Sumatra Mandheling. This breed is among the rarest in Indonesia and Volcanica Coffee does everything to preserve the natural profile of the beans. The coffee is grown with the utmost respect to the nature and caffeine is extracted via Swiss Water method.

This outstanding decaf features Shade Grown and Rainforest Alliance certificates, plus Volcanica roasts the beans upon order. Fresh medium roast and eco-conscious production are a plus in anybody’s book, but what’s the taste of the Mandheling brew?

Simply put, your palate will experience an explosion of exotic flavors. The body is heavy yet smooth, with a lasting syrupy finish. Given its volcanic origin, you’ll also get hints of earthiness and the brew is mildly acidic.

Some may consider the Mandheling an acquired taste, but you need to give it a try. The only drawback is the relatively high price tag but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself once in a while. They’re still a lot more affordable than JBM, another single origin coffee worth trying.

BEST SUITED FOR: Lovers of the earthy, umami flavor of Sumatran coffee.

10. Wild Coffee Lonestar Decaf – Single- Origin Central American with Chocolate/Nut Flavors

Wild Coffee lonestar decaf

Specifications:

  • Brand: Wild Coffee
  • Type: Single origin
  • Origin: Central America
  • Roast: combination Light+dark
  • Tasting notes: nutty, Caramely, great crema
  • Brew styles: Espresso, pour-over, AeroPress

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Wild Coffee might not be a household name like Volcanica or Koffee Kult, but this decaf blend earned its place on the list. To start, the brand is Fair Trade certified and it features the 100% organic label.

But the thing that makes it unique is the combination of dark and light roasted beans. With this in mind, Lonestar Decaf is a single-origin coffee and the beans are harvested between 2,600 and 5,800 feet. As such, its flavor profile is bound to put a smile on your face.

The body is dominated by nutty and caramel notes and it has a smooth feel with a medium finish. Another great thing about it is the rich crema which makes this decaf a perfect choice for all espresso lovers out there. However, the special roasting allows you to experiment with other brew styles as well.

BEST SUITED FOR: Anyone with a sense of adventure, due to the combination of light and dark-roasted beans.

The Bottom Line – the Best Decaf Coffee

With today’s decaffeination methods, the gap between regular coffee and decaf is almost non-existent. That’s why it’s hard to pronounce one brand the best decaf coffee. Plus, you need to factor in the brewing method and preferred tasting notes.

For example, if you like espresso, No Fun Jo and Wild Coffee Lonestar are a great choice. Manual method aficionados will love the Stone Street decaf and Koffee Kult Colombian. But then, one of the Sumatran blends is a must-have should your palate crave something exotic.

FAQs

Yes, there is a safe decaf coffee and you should pay close attention to the decaffeination process. The Swiss Water method is by far the safest and most organic process. However, it doesn’t mean that other methods are bad for your health, though they might affect the beans’ taste.

The healthiest decaf coffee is the one that has been organically produced. This involves traditional techniques, such as shade growing, natural drying, and organic decaffeination processes. However, it would be hard to pronounce one brand as the healthiest since all have low caffeine content.

Yes, K cups come in decaf. As a matter of fact, a lot of established brands offer decaf whole beans, grounds, and K cups for each blend or single-origin roast. However, there might be slight taste variations if you were to compare freshly home-ground beans and a K cup.

References
  1. Libretexts. (2019, June 5). Case Study: Removing caffeine from Coffee. Retrieved from https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry_Textbook_Maps/Supplemental_Modules_(Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry)/Physical_Properties_of_Matter/States_of_Matter/Supercritical_Fluids/Case_Study:_Removing_caffeine_from_Coffee
  2. Calderone, J. (n.d.). Is Decaffeinated Coffee Bad for You? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/coffee/is-decaffeinated-coffee-bad-for-you/
  3. How is caffeine removed to produce decaffeinated coffee? (1999, October 21). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-is-caffeine-removed-t/
  4. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=173.255
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