Decaf coffee represents about 10% of the world’s coffee market, popular with those who enjoy the taste of coffee but for whatever reason don’t want the side effects of caffeine.
When choosing decaf coffee it is important to take into account the decaffeination process. Does the process include carbon dioxide? CO2? Chemicals? These are all things that are good to know about something you are going to drink regularly.
These days, a lot of decaf coffee processing is completely chemical-free. The most common chemical-free processes are the Swiss Water Process and the Mexican Mountain Water Process.
To help you in your search for the perfect cup of decaf, below we list our favourite decaf coffees in Australia, highlighting the key features, pros and cons for each.
This list includes ground beans, coffee bags, instant coffee and even aluminium capsules, making it easy for all coffee lovers to find a decaf option that works best for them.
Best Decaf Coffee Beans: Industry Beans Swiss Water Process Organic
Industry Beans are specialty coffee roasters based in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Their organic decaf coffee is processed via the Swiss Water method.
This is a single-origin coffee from Mexico that has been roasted with a medium roast profile. You can choose between a 250g or 1kg bag and it can be either whole beans or ground for french press.
Expect notes of toffee, chocolate and cinnamon that work well with milk or on their own.
Best Decaf Instant Coffee: Clipper Organic Super Special
Clipper offers an organic decaf instant coffee made from arabica beans. Clipper uses CO2 and spring water to get rid of the caffeine in the beans.
The medium roast offers a refreshing taste compared to other instant coffees which often feature a dark roast. The coffee claims to be full-bodied and wonderfully smooth with a clean finish.
Clipper Organic decaf comes in a 100g container, good if you don’t want to over-commit on your first purchase.
Best Decaf Nespresso Coffee Pods: L’Or Decaffeinato Coffee Pods
L’Or decaf coffee pods come in a box of 100 coffee pods (10 boxes of 10).
This coffee is a ristretto decaf which means that it has a higher flavour intensity and a dark roast. It is a blend of woody aromas and notes of toasted almonds that leave a thin layer of crema on top.
The pods are made in France and are compatible with Nespresso Machines. You can also join their free recycling pod program to give a second life to pre-used capsules.
A big advantage of using coffee pods such as these is that they remove the hassle of weighing and grinding every time you want a cup of coffee.
Best Decaf Coffee bags: The House of Robert Timms
The House of Robert Timms decaf comes with 18 coffee bags, each one containing 105 grams of coffee, and have been roasted up to a dark roast.
These consist of coffee that has been placed into individual tea-like coffee bags, making it extremely easy for people with zero equipment or little knowledge on coffee brewing. All you need to do is place a coffee bag into your cup, fill it with hot water, wait and remove it.
Also Great: Agro Decaf Coffee Beans
Agro decaf coffee beans have been processed via the Mountain Water process in order to remove the caffeine. The brand is certified organic and they claim to roast coffee daily so you’ll be sure you’re receiving fresh beans.
You can choose from a bunch of decaf coffee options ranging from whole beans, extra-fine grind or coarse grind, in bags of 200g, 500g or 1kg.
These beans have a medium-light roast that features medium-low acidity and a mild body. You can expect to find nutty and sweet flavour notes in your coffee.
Agro Decaf Coffee beans are a great versatile option due to their range of grind and package sizes.
Also Great: Small Batch Decaf SWP Espresso
Established in 2008, Small Batch are coffee roasters located in North Melbourne.
Their decaf espresso is a single-origin from Colombia that has been processed with the chemical-free Swiss water method.
You can choose between 250g or 1kg in size and while their coffee is generally shipped as whole beans you can ask them to grind your coffee at checkout depending on the method that you want to brew your coffee with.
However, keep in mind that this coffee is roasted for espresso, so if you want a light roast this option might not be the best for you. It also has a slightly higher price range than other single-origin coffees on this list.
Code Black coffee roasters offer a single-origin Colombian decaf coffee that is created for espresso. The beans have been processed with the Swiss Water Method and come in either 250g or 1kg bags.
You can choose if you want your coffee ground for plunger, espresso, pour-over and even capsule/pod. Remember that this coffee has a dark roast since it is meant for espresso and might not taste as great with other brewing methods.
Expect notes of dark chocolate, coca and toffee in your cup of coffee. An advantage of ordering with Code Black is that if you have reusable pods you can ask for this option and skip the hassle of grinding.
Best Bulk Decaf Coffee Beans: Mexican Mountain Water Decaf
This is a single-origin Mexican decaf coffee that has been processed with the Mountain Water method. It has a medium body and a bright acidity that comes from citrus notes.
The advantage of this option is that you can buy the whole bean either green or roasted.
Starting at 2kg, this is a good option for home roasters that want to try their hand at decaf.
Due to the process, the beans will appear much darker than regular beans at any given roast level. Ministry Grounds suggest using less heat than what you would regularly use when roasting, dropping the temperature as soon as you hear the first crack.
They also claim that this is a challenging decaf bean to roast. If you are using a Popper Roaster (roasters that use hot air to roast and resemble a popcorn machine) you may struggle with the lack of heat control.
Decaf Coffee FAQ
What is bad about decaf coffee?
Some people believe that decaf coffee can be bad for you due to the chemical process that some coffee beans go through in order to remove the caffeine, such as the use of methylene chloride. However, the current view seems to be that there isn’t strong evidence for decaf coffee being bad for you. Nowadays, there are a lot of chemical-free and eco-friendly processes that ensure decaf coffee will not have any harmful ingredients for you or the environment.
How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?
Decaf coffee is not caffeine-free. With most decaf coffees, a regular cup of coffee (around 240ml) will have 2 milligrams of caffeine (compared to around 95 mg in a regular coffee). The caffeine content will vary depending on the brand or type of coffee beans. Some decaf coffees can have up to 15 milligrams of caffeine for each cup. This is something to keep in mind if you are an avid decaf coffee drinker throughout the day, as the caffeine will start to slowly add up. If you only drink around one or two cups of coffee there should be nothing to worry about.
Is there a naturally decaffeinated coffee?
Recently a variety of arabica beans that contains very low caffeine has been discovered. It is believed that this low-caffeine trait might be passed down to other varieties in the coffea family in order to develop a hybrid that is naturally decaffeinated. However, most of the arabica beans have a medium-high caffeine level, which is why they go through different processes to remove the caffeine.
Does decaf coffee taste different from regular coffee?
Generally speaking, no, decaf coffee should not taste vastly different from regular coffee if processed well. Nowadays you can find single-origin decaf from different parts of the world, a feature that ensures that it will taste just as good as regular coffee. Of course, there are a couple of factors that play a part in the general flavour such as freshness, if it is instant coffee, pre-ground or whole bean, origin and process.
What is the Swiss Water Process?
The Swiss Water method involves the immersion of coffee beans into something called “Green Coffee Extract”, which is an extract composed of water and soluble coffee components. Once the beans have been submerged, the caffeine transfers itself from the beans into the extract. The coffee beans are cleaned and the extract is later purified using carbon filters, which remove the caffeine and allow for the same process to begin again with the same green coffee extract. Swiss water processed coffee is 99% caffeine-free.
This process is very environmentally friendly compared to different decaffeination processes that use chemicals. It was named Swiss Water Process as it was developed in Switzerland and uses Swiss water.
What is the Mexico Mountain Water Process?
The Mountain Water Process involves water from Mexico’s highest mountain (Pico de Orizaba). The coffee beans are immersed into the water alongside a natural solution so the coffee oils and the caffeine can float. The solution is filtered to remove the caffeine so that the water can be incorporated into the coffee beans later on so that they can maintain the natural oils and sugars.