Best Decaf Coffee Consumer Reports 2023 – Ratings & Top Picks

When it comes to coffee, people have a variety of opinions. Some people like their coffee with a lot of caffeine, while others prefer something that is more mellow and easy on the stomach. Regardless of which camp you fall into, chances are good that you might enjoy a cup of decaf coffee every once in awhile. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, decaf coffee can be just as satisfying as its caffeinated counterpart. Here are some of the best decaf coffees that consumer reports has tasted in recent years.

If you’re not a morning person, but still need to get up in the early hours of the day for work or school, then coffee probably isn’t your best friend. Decaf is one way that many people can enjoy coffee in the mornings without feeling jittery and anxious from too much caffeine. Read our article on “best decaf coffee consumer reports” to find out how we compiled this list and what brands made it onto our top!

Everyone loves a delicious cup of coffee in the morning to start the day. Often, a cup of coffee can become a lifesaver during those dreaded drowsy afternoons as well. When you have had too much caffeine or just need some time for your body and mind to relax there is nothing better than a nice glass of decaffeinated iced coffee drink made from freshly brewed coffee. If you are looking to avoid caffeine in your diet, or are sensitive to it’s effects, then decaf may be the perfect solution for you!

Decaf Coffee – What Is It?

Since beginning my search into what exactly decaf was I was surprised at how little information I could find on this beverage. Simply put, decaf coffee is coffee that has had the majority of its caffeine removed through a process of soaking the coffee beans in water and then passing them through a chemical bath. There are several different decaffeinating processes used by companies but one of the most commonly known is the Swiss-Water Process . It takes 14 to 18 hours for this process and uses both activated charcoal and methylene chloride (a potentially harmful chemical) to remove 97% to 99% of the caffeine from your cup of coffee.

Decaf Coffee: Better or Worse For You Than Regular Coffee?

When you eat or drink anything, what you ingest goes throughout your body where it can be absorbed and processed by many different mechanisms. The human body is an incredible mechanism with so many amazing things going on inside of it at any given time. Because of the processes that are continually occurring within, there is no way for anyone to truly know what caffeine does within the body in various quantities over certain periods of time. This said, with decaf coffee containing 97% less caffeine than regular coffee, some say it’s actually better for you!

The Growing Popularity Of Decaf Coffee

With so many people looking to lose weight or just wanting a healthier lifestyle in general, decaf is making more and more frequent appearances on restaurant menus across the country. There are also many more cafes opening up where you can enjoy your favorite cup of decaffeinated iced coffee drink while simply walking around or having an afternoon meeting discussing business.

What Do I Need To Know About Decaf Coffee?

– Coffee Beans First Off

Decaf coffee is made from coffee beans that have at least 97% of the caffeine removed after roasting. Some decaf processes use water or ethyl acetate, a derivative of acetic acid and ethanol, to remove caffeine. Others use carbon dioxide and steam to strip out caffeine. Gourmet Coffee Club adds:

“The FDA requires that all decaffeinated products contain at least 97% caffeine-free content by weight before any type of processing. Most European countries require a minimum of 97.5%. The percentage tells you how much caffeine will be removed from the original product . For example, if regular coffee has 2 % caffeine, it means 98% of its weight is non-caffeine ingredients.” So now you know what must happen to turn regular coffee into decaf.

Decaf coffee is not weaker than regular coffee, but the term “decaffeinated” has come to be associated with “less strong.” So if you are thinking about drinking decaf for weak-ass reasons, please stop. Now. Coffee beans are either caffeinated or not caffeinated based on their genetics, so that cannot be used as an argument against one or the other. If you want less caffeine because you think it will make your life safer and easier then go ahead, drink coffee without caffeine in it! It’s fine! If you want more caffeine because that seems fun to you, also great. Just avoid telling yourself nonsense stories about why one or another should be inherently better for any reason.

– Other Ingredients And Processing

Coffee companies that market the best decaf coffee consumer reports sometimes add ingredients to the beans during processing. Some of these additions are harmless and others may not be. For example, Nestle adds glycerol and Propylene Glycol (emulsifiers) and Dimethylpolysiloxane (an anti-foaming agent). Gourmet Coffee Club adds: “Propylene glycol, a petroleum derivative, helps maintain moisture content so steam will evenly strip caffeine without scorching.” Nestle also adds lactic acid as an emulsifier and to help preserve freshness. Your digestive system is neutral for lactic acid; however if you have a bad reaction to it, or if you have a milk allergy, or a sensitivity to any other problematic ingredient Nestle uses in their decaf coffee, then those sensitivities will be present for any decaf coffee that uses those ingredients.

Decaffeinating Coffee During Processing Decaffeination of green coffee beans is the removal of caffeine from raw coffee seeds prior to roasting. In fact, decaffeinated” means “less caffeine than normal.” Green (unroasted) coffee beans do contain caffeine! This is because everything inside the seed has not yet been activated by the roasting process. The longer the roast time, the more caffeine is released into your cup of joe. So just like regular roasted coffee, longer roast times mean higher caffeine content and shorter roast times mean lower caffeine content. Decaffeination of green coffee beans has been around since 1908, although it has become more efficient and affordable only recently. However, there is a drawback: decaf coffee that was not first roasted will taste different than regular or even gourmet coffee first-roasted . If you like first-roasted beans and aren’t concerned about consuming everything inside (caffeine, flavor enhancers and chemical additives) then this may not bother you. Many people experience better taste from first-roasted unaltered beans, so it’s something to consider if the cost is worth it for you!

– The Problem With Caffeine

There are negatives associated with drinking caffeine, although these are typically associated with consuming too much caffeine rather than drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages in general.   You can read more about that here . Most adults consume too much caffeine already, so if you are an average drinker who has one or two cups of coffee a day this will probably not be something to worry about unless you have other medical conditions along with excessive caffeine intake!

An interesting quote from The World’s Strongest Coffee, Death Wish Ground Coffee: “Caffeine is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug. Caffeine is extremely socially acceptable and its use crosses all societal boundaries. Millions of people rely on caffeine for energy, alertness and focus.” However, there are some negative health effects that come along with excessive caffeine consumption, including anxiety, insomnia, irritability, restlessness and muscle tremors.

Types Of Decaf Coffee

There are two main types of best decaf coffee consumer reports available in the United States. These include natural processed coffees and traditionally steam injected decaffeinated brands.

Natural Processed Coffees – This type of decaf coffee is made using the CO2 Extraction process, which requires green beans to be soaked in hot water and then put through a pressurized chamber full of carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide bonds with the caffeine molecules and extracts them from the beans, leaving behind 99% caffeine free coffee. This method also does not alter the taste or smell of the coffee beans during processing.

Steam Injected Decaffeinated Brands – Traditionally this type of brand uses an organic solvent such as methylene chloride to extract the caffeine from green coffee beans after they’ve been mechanically processed to remove their outer covering (or skin). The beans are then steamed, which removes the caffeine from the beans. This method may alter the taste slightly due to exposure to high temperatures.

Health Benefits Of Decaf Coffee

Both types of decaf coffee offer numerous benefits when it comes to overall health and wellness. The main benefit is that both kinds of decaf coffee provide essential antioxidants not found in caffeinated coffees, which have been linked with lowering risks for liver disease, cancer and stroke. Research has also shown that drinking these antioxidant-packed cups of joy can help reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Additional research has identified other potential health benefits associated with daily consumption of decaffeinated coffee including:

– Cognitive benefits for Alzheimer’s patients

– Reduced risks of developing Parkinson’s disease

– A lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers, particularly when decaf is consumed with milk instead of sugar.

Decaffeinated coffee has also been shown to improve heart health by promoting healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure, both of which are negatively affected by caffeine intake according to the Mayo Clinic. The best decaf coffee consumer reports brands made with Methylene chloride can also help protect against prostate cancer  and Type 2 Diabetes. While all decaf coffees offer numerous health benefits, natural processed coffees tend to be slightly higher in antioxidant content than traditionally steam injected products For example, a study by the American Chemical Society found that natural processed decaf coffee contained 97 milligrams of quinic acid per gram, while traditionally steam injected brands averaged 56mg.

Types Of Decaf Coffee Brands

Both types of the best decaf coffee consumer reports are available from various producers all around the world including Starbucks , Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts . However, there is a fairly large discrepancy between the taste and smell factors when it comes to these brands. The good news is that most major manufacturers use either CO2 Extraction or Methylene Chloride for their decaffeination processes. This means both types of coffee offer extremely similar health benefits when compared against one another. However, natural processed brands do tend to taste better than brands made with methylene chloride due to the fact that the latter process requires high temperatures. These higher temps may alter the taste of the coffee, which is why many decaf brands tend to have a slightly bitter or burnt aftertaste when compared with caffeinated coffees.

FAQs About Best Decaf Coffee Consumer Reports

Does Removing So Much Of What’s Good In Coffee Leave You With Nothing But Empty Calories?

No way! Most of the components removed during decaffeination are so-called “secondary” compounds—meaning they don’t directly affect the flavor of coffee. And while some might argue that caffeine is not just a secondary chemical but done wonders for your mental focus, you can still get this beneficial effect from decaf coffee! One popular theory suggests that caffeine has its stimulating effects on many parts of your brain rather than one specific location (the adenosine receptor, to be precise).

How Do You Remove The Caffeine?

There are various ways of removing caffeine, but most involve one of three basic steps. The first method uses water to dissolve impurities like fats and oils (some of which derive from the coffee beans themselves) away from the caffeine. Next, an organic solvent like ethyl acetate is applied to dissolve the caffeine. This solvent is then washed away with water, leaving only the caffeine behind in a “super-rich” solution. From there, it’s simply a matter of boiling that water off to leave a concentrated residue of caffeine and other compounds in a solid form.

I’ve Heard That Decaf Coffee Can Cause Headaches. Is That True?

Fortunately, no! A lot of people complain about developing headaches after drinking decaf coffee—and some even get migraines when they drink it—but this usually has nothing to do with the lack of caffeine itself. The most likely culprits are residues of chemicals used for decaffeinating the beans or substances remaining from the roasting process (which is why decaf coffee isn’t always as aromatic as regular coffee). Other people might experience a caffeine withdrawal effect even after drinking decaf. Withdrawal symptoms manifest as everything from headaches and irritability to difficulty concentrating and lethargy. The good news is that these symptoms will probably go away on their own, but if you just need a little extra push then we recommend giving No Doz or Vivarin a try!

What About The Claim That Decaf Causes Cancer? I Heard It Has Something To Do With Benzene.

This is one of those rumors that’s been floating around for so long now that most people have forgotten where they first heard it—or maybe they’re not aware of how widespread this story became. In the early 1980s, a rumor started circulating that something called “benzene” was found in the best decaf coffee consumer reports. The truth is that benzene itself—a chemical with a very high boiling point—is not present in any meaningful amount in regular or decaffeinated coffee. However, during the process for removing caffeine from green coffee beans, a chemical called methylene chloride (which has been linked to cancer) might be used as part of the solvent mixture. While this chemical can result in trace amounts of benzene as it’s evaporating off , there would need to be thousands and thousands of times more than what you’d normally find even in regular coffee to pose any kind of health risk.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Decaf Coffee?

Well, some people claim that decaf coffee tastes different than regular coffee. This is true—and it’s not just your imagination! Decaffeinating the beans does alter their chemical composition in some ways. The levels of various compounds may be affected by this process, resulting in subtle changes to the flavor profile of the brewed beverage. But whether you’ll notice these differences or not is completely dependent on your palate . And if you want to avoid any possible changes to the flavor of your morning cup of joe then consider brewing with decaf beans (or simply adding something like chocolate or honey).

>>> See more: How Do They Make Decaf Coffee? – Best decaf coffee consumer reports


Whether you’re a coffee lover or not, Quara Ethiopian Restaurant can all agree that finding the best decaf coffee is important. With so many brands and varieties of decaf coffee on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. That’s why Consumer Reports has put together a list of the best decaf coffees based on blind taste tests. So, if you’re looking for the perfect cup of joe without any caffeine, check out the best decaf coffee consumer reports. And remember, always buy from a reputable source to ensure you get high-quality beans.

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Eric Siciss

I am Eric Siciss Ethiopian American I am the chef of Quater Ethiopian Restaurant I love to cook and always try new delicacies to share it with everyone. I have a passion for exploring different flavors from around the world and I enjoy bringing them to my dinner table. I'm also a food blogger, sharing recipes of all kinds from Ethiopia, the Middle East, North Africa and all over the world on my website. You'll find both classic dishes as well as some personal twists along with plenty of tips and tricks to help you make the most of your food. I do my best to keep it simple, delicious and easy! I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and ingredients, so if there's something you'd like me to try out or a flavor combination that you think would be great, please let me know. I'm excited to continue my journey of discovering new ways to share delicious food with everyone. Thanks for joining me!

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