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How “decaf” is decaf coffee?

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

When you order a cup of decaf at your local coffee shop, or brew a cup yourself at home, you might expect to be drinking no caffeine, none at all. But that’s not entirely true. No decaf coffee is truly 100% decaf. Read on to find out why; and why not-completely-decaf is not that big of a problem.

Decaf means mostly decaf

Spoiler alert: your decaf coffee contains a little bit of caffeine!

Studies have shown that, on average, a cup of coffee has 10-20 times less caffeine than regular coffee, meaning on average there is about 7 mg of caffeine in a cup of decaf. Depending on where you buy your coffee, the way your coffee was prepared, the type of roast, and even how you grind your coffee, decaf coffee might contain up to 30 mg of caffeine!

Typically, darker roasts contain less caffeine, and this is also true for decaf coffees. Similarly, slower brewing processes extract more caffeine out of the bean, so cold brew decaf would have more caffeine than a hot brew.

However, if you are trying to cut down on your caffeine intake, don’t completely stop drinking coffee! For most of us, that little bit of caffeine will not have a major negative effect on your health, though people who are very sensitive to caffeine might want to avoid coffee altogether. While an average 12-ounce cup of decaf coffee would have about 5.4 mg of caffeine, a regular cup of the same size would have 180 mg of caffeine!

Where does this caffeine come from?

No decaf process is 100% efficient. They rely on chemical and physical processes that will always leave a trace of caffeine in the bean. Typically, standards specify that decaffeination must remove around 97% of caffeine from the coffee bean. The Swiss Water process even claims to remove 99.9%.

But this is all pre-brew, meaning that the amount of caffeine that you will have in your cup of decaf can still vary strongly depending on the type of bean, where it was grown, the brewing method, and the size of your cup!

How much caffeine is left after using the Decaf Pouch?

With the Decaf Pouch, you can easily remove up to 200mg of caffeine from 16oz of your favorite caffeinated beverage in 3-4 minutes, and the final concentration of caffeine will be comparable to the conventional decaf drinks. It is a convenient, healthy, and sustainable solution to decaffeination.

Again, it is maybe impossible to remove all the caffeine, but cutting down can be beneficial for your sleep and your health!



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