It took me a long time to come around to decaf coffee. I confess that, for many years, I didn’t see the point – I didn’t seem to be suffering any ill-effects from my caffeine intake, so why would I ever drink coffee without it?
Back then, though, I would normally have one cup of coffee in the morning, and that would be it. I think I was just drinking coffee (probably not great coffee if I’m honest) for that little hit to get my day started. I’ve changed a lot since then though – I drink coffee because I love the way it tastes.
That is great, but drinking too much caffeinated coffee in one day isn’t good for me – I do feel it when I’ve had one cup too many! That’s where decaf coffee comes in – I can carry on drinking delicious coffee, without worrying about whether I’ll be able to get to sleep that night!
Our Top 10 Decaf Coffees
There are so many delicious options on the decaf coffee market, and we have selected some of the best decaf coffees for you to look over. I’m certain you can find your new favourite decaffeinated beverage in this list.
Presto Decaf Coffee
We’ll kick off this list of the best decaf coffees with this delightful offering from Presto – a coffee subscription service that have been specialising in small-batch roasting since 2018.
They’re a company that takes their coffee very seriously – they are committed to ensuring that all of their coffee is ethically and sustainably sourced, but with a determination to provide people with barista quality coffee to make in their own homes. They pay particular attention to freshness, with minimal travel and handling in the roasting process to ensure that the coffee is as fresh as possible.
Their passion for this really shines through in all of their coffee, including this decaf option. With 100% Arabica beans from Mogiana in Brazil, this light roast gives an incredibly smooth finish, with a sweet and nutty flavour, with no bitterness at all. Personally, I found that adding a little more coffee than usual gave a really pleasant balance between smoothness and strong tasting coffee.
It is available in wholebean, if you grind your beans yourself at home, or ground (suitable for use with a V60, Aeropress, French Drip and Stovetop), which again points to their commitment to giving you the freshest coffee possible. Obviously, if you have the capacity to grind your beans at home, that will give you the best coffee.
In terms of price, this is a mid-range coffee for one of the best decaf coffees available on the market. The subscription service is an interesting option as well – I hate running out of coffee, so having a regular delivery will really take away that anxiety!
As it is available in a large 1kg bag, I would recommend finding an airtight container to store it in once you have opened it, just to make sure you lock in as much freshness as possible.
Pelican Rouge Decaf Coffee Blend
Next up we have a fantastic coffee from Belgian roasters Pelican Rouge. These guys have been making great coffee since 1863, creating diverse coffee blends to suit any taste, using coffee beans from all over the world.
As another company that is committed to ‘building a more sustainable, responsible industry’ they have numerous targets to reduce their environmental impact as well as committing to the Selecta Coffee Fund, which provides investment into coffee-growing communities.
This decaf coffee is a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans, and unlike the Presto option above, it is a dark roast – this gives a caramel sweetness to the initial flavour. I also got hints of smoky chocolate and spice, but again, with very little bitterness.
I ground these beans very fine and used them with an espresso machine – it gave a wonderful crema which is a good barometer for the quality of a coffee. They are pretty versatile though, and make a nice filter coffee if you go for a coarser grind.
The decaffeinating process for this particular coffee is one using a natural solvent – the beans are left to soak in the solvent, which removes all of the caffeine, but leaving the taste. The result is an ‘authentic’ tasting coffee, but without any of the caffeine-related side effects.
This is another decaf coffee that is available in a 1kg bag, so again, do make sure that you have a suitable place to store the beans in a suitable place to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible.
Price-wise, this is available at a lower-mid range, so it is definitely one to consider. If you aren’t sure about decaf coffees and want one to try, this could be a good option for you.
Lavazza Decaffeinated 100% Arabica Medium Roast
A more mainstream offering now, from Italian coffee giants Lavazza, who have been making coffee products since 1895 – originally out of a small grocery store and now one of the leading coffee producers in the world, employing nearly 4,000 people.
You will have seen Lavazza in supermarkets and coffee shops everywhere, I’m sure, and there can be a tendency to dismiss the larger companies’ coffee. I’ve certainly been guilty of that in the past, preferring to dig out the small batch options from independent roasters.
There’s a lot to be said for that attitude, and it has certainly helped me unearth some absolute gems over the years. However, like so much of life, it is foolish to have absolute opinions of things before you have tried them, as this decaf coffee from Lavazza proves.
This is a medium roast, full and well-rounded coffee. As you are probably expecting from a mass-produced coffee, it’s an easy-drinker and pretty versatile. Personally I think it works best as a smooth little espresso, but it also is very nice when used with a filter coffee machine, French press and moka pot.
It isn’t the most intense flavour available, and as someone who likes a very strong black coffee, I found that I needed to add a little more than recommended to get my optimum flavour. Many people will see this as an advantage, however, as a milder coffee might be your preference, and you always have the option to add more if you would like it stronger.
This comes in a 500g bag, half the size of the other ones, and is another in the middle of the price range (per kg). This is a good option if you don’t drink that much decaffeinated coffee and you would just like a little for the odd occasion.
illy Coffee Decaffeinated Coffee Beans Medium Roast
Another Italian company now, and another huge company – Illy. They, like Lavazza, are a family-run company and were founded in 1933 in Trieste. They make everything to do with coffee, from espresso machines to iced coffee in a can.
Illy have always seemed more than just a coffee company. They have been on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list every year since they were first included in 2013, and “actively pursue economic sustainability (shared value), social sustainability (personal growth) and environmental sustainability (respect for the ecosystem)”. Not only that, but they are also keen art-lovers, and that influence can be seen throughout their output.
This is the decaffeinated version of their ‘Classic Medium Roast’ – their flagship whole bean coffee. It is made from 9 different types of Arabica beans, all blended together to give an incredibly smooth and consistent taste. Again, this has quite a mild taste to it, so I found myself using more beans, but the result was a very flavourful drink with no bitterness at all. It is incredibly drinkable.
There is a lingering sweetness that you’ll find with this drink. I preferred it when made in our filter coffee machine – after each sip you had a very mellow and fruity flavour. It is very light, and very smooth.
It comes in 250g quantities, and packed in an airtight, pressurised can which goes a long way to keep the coffee as fresh as possible before you get your hands on it. The can is great, but perhaps contributes to the slightly higher price – a lot of money has gone into the packaging, which is great in terms of freshness, but obviously comes at a cost.
Coffee Masters Swiss Water Decaf Coffee Beans
Something a little bit different now as we look at a decaf coffee from a much smaller company, Coffee Masters, based in the heart of Worcestershire. Originally concentrating on the wholesale market, they have recently offered their products to the domestic market, so we can all sample the types of coffee that used to be reserved for coffee shops and cafés.
You will have noticed in the name of this product the words ‘Swiss Water’ – this refers to the way in which this coffee has become decaffeinated. The Swiss Water method is 100% chemical free – they soak the beans in water from the mountains of British Columbia, which gently removes the caffeine, while keeping the original flavours intact.
Many see a huge benefit in the fact that they do not use chemicals at all in the process. Other people feel like the fact that it is a slower process means that you lose a bit more of the flavour.
The coffee itself is made up by blending together beans from Southern and Central America – 100% Arabica again. It’s another easy drinker, perfect for both espresso machines and cafetiéres (just be sure to grind to the appropriate size – finer for espresso machines). There is a smooth finish, with, again, very little in the way of bitterness. It’s just a good cup of coffee.
It’s a medium roast, well balanced, nicely rounded coffee. The sort you would be happy to serve to any guest, and you could be confident that they would enjoy it, no matter what their preferences are. It is also a Great Taste Award winner, from 2019, so highly thought of.
As one of the more expensive coffees here, you will need to be sure that you are going to use enough of this 1kg bag soon enough to get the best, most fresh, taste out of it. If you drink decaf regularly, though, this could be the one for you.
Planet Java Blue Label Swiss Water Decaf Coffee Beans
Another Swiss Water decaf coffee now – this one from Planet Java, part of Suffolk-based coffee suppliers A1 Coffee. They have been making coffee for over 20 years, and while it was once only available wholesale, now anyone can purchase their wide range of coffee.
These whole beans are a blend of 100% Arabica coffees from Central America and East Africa, which produces a nicely balanced body and has just the right amount of acidity. You get a smooth finish every time, and very little bitterness, which makes this another coffee that is incredibly easy to drink, and inevitably a bit of a crowd pleaser.
The packaging is notable – not only is it a great-looking design (I love the simplicity of the logo and text against the shiny silver packet), but also it’s very practical. There is a CO2 valve on the top of the packet, which will help keep the beans fresh, and also their packet itself has a resealable zip on it. This means that you can be sure that the beans will stay fresh for as long as possible.
As they employ the Swiss Water method of decaffeination, there are no chemicals used at all in the entire process. It’s a natural process, which produces a fantastic drink.
These coffee beans go particularly well in a bean-to-cup espresso machine – it produces a very thick crema. Having said that, I also really enjoyed it in a longer drink, through my filter coffee machine.
This is in the lower-mid price range of coffees that we’re going to look at on this list, and it ticks a lot of boxes: it has a great taste, zero chemicals, keeps itself fresh and is very versatile – if those attributes are on your checklist, this could be the coffee for you.
Rave Coffee Seasonal Decaf Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans
We’re going to step things up a notch now, with a premium decaf coffee from Cirencester-based, subscription coffee providers, Rave. As you can probably tell from the packaging, they’re a bold, spiky, fun company, and they specialise in truly great tasting coffee, sourced from all over the planet.
This particular decaf, which is our favourite of the few that they offer, is a medium/dark roast, which offers something a little different to many of the other decaf coffees that we’ve looked at so far on this list. I found the flavour to be very deep, and the finish was incredibly smooth, without any hint of bitterness.
Another thing that separates this coffee is the way in which the caffeine is extracted from the beans. Again, it is a completely natural method, and it involves using a solvent that is produced by fermenting Columbian Sugarcane. First the beans are steamed, which removes the silver skins and increases their porosity, before they are soaked in the sugarcane solution. The idea is that all the caffeine is removed, while keeping as much of the original flavour in as possible.
The depth of flavour of this coffee is wonderful, and unlike most other decaf coffees that I’ve tried. I found it best when used as a longer drink, like with a cafetiére or a filter coffee machine – you really get a sense of how deep the flavour goes. It also works well in espresso machines.
This is one of the most expensive coffees that we’ll look at today, so you need to be sure that you are going to use it. If you are, though, this is a premium coffee that you should give a go.
Taylors Of Harrogate Decaffé Coffee Beans
From a modern, punky brand to one of the most traditional coffee companies out there – Taylors of Harrogate – the classic British hot drink makers that have been in business since 1962 and now employ 1,500 people.
There is always something reassuring about Taylors of Harrogate. Don’t get me wrong, I really love all of the new independent brands that keep popping up all over the place – they offer so much to the coffee industry and I get really excited when I find a new one. But there’s just something so comforting about the brand of Taylors of Harrogate, and reassuring too. You know you are going to get, at worst, a decent drink from them.
I suppose then, that it was inevitable that they would end up featuring on this list. This is a smooth and balanced roast that is also incredibly versatile. You will find that this will work incredibly well with whatever means that you are making your coffee, just be sure to grind to the correct grain size.
This is another coffee that you will need to find a nice, airtight home for once they are opened – it would be such a shame to let it lose so much of that delightful taste and aroma by not storing it correctly.
This is priced right in the middle of the products that we are looking at today, and I think that is perfectly placed. It’s a great coffee, and you know exactly what you are going to get from Taylors of Harrogate. It probably won’t change your life, but it will never let you down.
Lean Caffeine Bulletproof Coffee Decaf Coffee Beans
We’ll switch back to a more modern approach now, with this offering from healthy coffee specialist, Lean Caffeine.
Their founder, Jamie Sukroo, is on a mission to “help as many people as possible reach their health and weight loss goals”. All of their coffee can be used as part of an intermittent fasting diet, by using it to make ‘butter coffee’, which is mixed with C8 MCT oil and grass-fed organic ghee.
That’s not what drew me into their coffee, though, fascinating as it is. You see, it can also be made ‘normally’ – and this decaf option is really great. As you can probably imagine, the main selling points are the health benefits that it offers. They use the organic Swiss Water method to extract the caffeine from the beans, and they test all of their coffee for pesticides and mould toxins, and publish the results on every bag.
All of that is well and good, and nice to know, but none of it would be of any use to us, for this list of best decaf coffees, if it tasted terrible. The good news is, it really merits this inclusion on taste alone. You get a lovely, deep flavour, and no bitterness at all in the smooth aftertaste.
I haven’t tried making it with ghee, I must confess. I will one day, but I didn’t think it was important for this list. What matters is that this is a really great coffee. It is one of the most expensive on the list, thanks, I’m sure, to the level of detail that goes into ensuring the health benefits are there. I think there is a huge market of people looking for that sort of thing from a decaf coffee, though, and if you are one of them, this is probably unrivalled.
Spiller & Tait Sparkling Water Decaffeinated Coffee Beans
Now for the final entry to our list of the best decaf coffees we turn to Spiller & Tait – a coffee roaster and wholesaler based in Devon. They’re another company that offers a subscription service as they expand into the domestic market.
This is another chemical free decaf, and they have employed the sparkling water method of extraction with these beans. As you will have probably guessed, this involves soaking the beans in sparkling water – the carbon dioxide from the water then draws out all of the caffeine, which is then put into an evaporator which removes all of the caffeine from the water so the process can begin again.
This is another premium coffee. It is roasted in small batches, so they have complete control over the quality and that really shows. The result is a beautifully bright and clean taste, with full-bodied flavour and a delicate, smooth finish. There is no bitterness and you’ll find yourself going back again and again. I found that this made a perfect after-dinner drink, made in a cafetiére. It’s also excellent at making espresso as well.
The beans are certified Fairtrade from Northern Peru, 100% Arabica beans. They are the same that Spiller & Tait sell to their coffee shop customers, meaning that you get the same taste in your home.
As I said, this is a premium coffee, and is priced as such. It is one of the most expensive on our list. It is worth it though. This is a great tasting coffee from specialist roasters that you will not be disappointed with. If you are looking for a chemical-free, versatile, great tasting coffee and you are happy to spend a little more to get a great taste, this could be the one for you.
Is Decaf Coffee As Good As Regular Coffee?
Decaf coffee has had a bad reputation for a very long time. I think it’s understandable, because until fairly recently coffee was seen, by the majority of people, more of a way to get caffeine into your body than something to really enjoy. That has completely changed over the last couple of decades though, and it has had knock-on effects to the world of decaf coffee.
More and more people drink coffee for the taste, and at the same time, more and more people are turning to decaf coffee – either for health reasons (caffeine can prompt certain reactions like headaches) or just because they find themselves getting the jitters or struggle to sleep after too much caffeine. They don’t want to deprive themselves of great tasting coffee, understandably, so they have decaf.
The huge number of coffee roasters were not going to ignore this, and so more and more effort has gone into perfecting the decaffeination process, to make the most authentic tasting decaf coffees possible. I liken it to the number of alcohol-free beers that you get now – some of them are delicious.
Obviously, though, decaffeinated coffee beans have undergone an additional process that regular coffee beans have not – so there is a slight difference to the taste. The difference is getting more and more negligible though, so if for whatever reason you are looking to cut down on your caffeine intake, decaf coffee now represents a really attractive alternative and a way so that you can still drink great tasting coffee. We hope that you can find your new favourite on this list.