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Best Decaf Coffee: The Secrets Behind the Brew

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If you’re visiting the Roasty website, we think it’s pretty safe to assume you’re a big coffee lover. And you’re not alone in enjoying joe; it’s one of the most popular beverages in the world! 

You already know coffee contains caffeine, which gives you the jolt of energy you need to get moving in the morning (or afternoon). If you’re anything like us, you can’t make it through the day without a healthy dose of caffeine, but believe it or not, some people don’t enjoy the boost coffee provides. 

Some java drinkers want to limit their daily caffeine intake, and that’s why decaffeinated coffee exists. It lets you enjoy the rich flavor of a good cup of joe sans caffeine-induced jitters. 

Read on to see what we’ve deemed the best decaffeinated beans on the market, plus get some insider information on how decaf coffee comes to be.

At A Glance: Best Decaf Coffee

Decaf Coffee

What is decaffeinated coffee?

“What is decaf coffee?” may sound like a silly question, but you would be surprised how many people don’t know much about these beans. 

To put it simply: decaffeinated coffee is regular coffee beans that have gone through a process that removes almost all (in most cases, about 97 percent of it, to be exact) of their caffeine.

How is it made?

A few different processes produce decaf coffee, though, in the end, most of them are very similar. The coffee beans are washed in a solvent, usually water, organic components, or carbon dioxide. This solvent slowly removes the caffeine from the coffee, leaving behind a beautiful, caffeine-free coffee bean. 

Regardless of the decaffeination process used, it occurs before the beans are roasted or ground. 

Swiss Water Process

As you read up on our favorite decaffeinated bean varieties below, you’ll probably see a few references to the Swiss Water Process. But what is that exactly? 

The Swiss Water Process is a popular means of removing caffeine from batches of coffee beans, and many decaf fans prefer it because it doesn’t require the use of chemicals.

Swiss Water Processing consists of five steps:

  1. First, a Green Coffee Extract (GCE) is created by soaking coffee beans in pure water. This combination of H2O and the soluble solids within java (barring caffeine, of course) plays a significant role in the rest of the process.
  2. Then, coffee bean producers rehydrate the java. This step is crucial, as coffee beans should have a certain amount of moisture before being decaffeinated. 
  3. The magic happens during the third step. The green coffee beans soak in the GCE for eight to 10 hours, or until only a tenth of a percent of caffeine remains in the brew. 
  4. Next, the GCE is refreshed and renewed, eliminating the need to create a new batch of the stuff every time fresh green coffee beans need to be decaffeinated. 
  5. Finally, the newly decaf coffee beans are packaged and sent to your favorite roasters, ready to be browned into a bright light roast or bold darker roast.

Quick Summary: The Best Decaf Coffee

rc2-table__imageAtlas Coffee
  • Artfully Roasted
  • Flavor Notes Of Chocolate, Jam, Berry And Countless Other Combinations
  • Fresh Coffee
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rc2-table__imageLifeboost Decaf Coffee
  • Decaffeinated By Swiss Water Method
  • Hand Roasted
  • Hand Picked, Spring Water Washed, Sun Dried
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  • Chocolaty Richness Of A Black Forest Cake
  • Delicious And Comforting Decaf
  • Smooth Body
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rc2-table__imageGood Citizen Coffee Co. Easy Does It Decaf
  • Features Notes Of Cherry And Lemon Alongside Deep Toffee Sweetness
  • Medium Roast
  • Balanced And Fruity
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  • Medium-Dark Roastiness
  • Candy Bar Sweetness
  • Single Origin Decaf
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  • Sugarcane Processed
  • Sweet And Nutty
  • Holds Calories
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  • Decaffeinated
  • Toffee, Red Grape, Bergamot
  • Fan Favorite
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  • Rich But Sweet
  • Medium Roast
  • Sweet And Smooth
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rc2-table__imageNOVO COFFEE NOVO DECAF
  • Medium Roast
  • Sweet And Inviting
  • Water Process
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  • Smooth And Delicious With Brown Sugar Sweetness
  • Hints Of Lemon Aromatics And Warm Vanilla
  • Classic And Delicious Decaf
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Can you tell the difference between regular and decaf coffee?

Ah, the million-dollar question. Plenty of people are very picky when it comes to their joe, so should they decide to pick one of the many decaf coffee varieties out there, they want to make sure it tastes very similar to their favorite regular beans. 

Caffeine extraction processes impact the overall taste and aroma of the coffee. More often than not, decaffeinated coffee beans have much milder flavor notes and scents than regular joe. That’s why we recommend choosing an overall stronger bean that’s been decaffeinated. Doing so gives you a better chance at getting all the bold coffee flavors you love in your morning cup. 

Switching to decaf may require a bit of experimentation at first, but be patient! After all, you don’t want to settle for anything less than amazing coffee, right? It may take some trial-and-error, but we believe you’ll eventually find one or two decaf brands that satisfy you as much as your favorite caffeinated brew. 

Who should drink decaf coffee?

So, who should drink decaf joe? Would we all be better off doing it?

If you want to choose decaffeinated coffee, by all means, go for it; it certainly won’t hurt you, and in some ways, it may even help you. But while everyone can enjoy it, some benefit from drinking decaf more than others. 

Decaffeinated beans tend to be the best choice for coffee lovers who are more sensitive to the side effects of caffeine, like those with anxiety disorders, for example. And in some situations — pregnant women, elderly people, those with heart conditions, etc. — medical professionals are the ones who recommend limiting one’s caffeine intake. 

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We aren’t doctors, so we can’t tell you what to do. We can, however, recommend paying attention to how caffeine affects your body. If it impacts you negatively or you often overdo it, it might be time to research decaffeinated blends. 

Roasty’s Top Picks: Decaf Coffee

Here’s a quick rundown of all the beans we’ve dubbed the best in the decaf department!

Atlas Coffee of the Month Decaf Coffee Subscription

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Atlas Coffee
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Artfully roasted to bring out flavor notes of chocolate, jam, berry and countless other combinations. A subscription personalized to your preferences and delivered on your schedule.

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If only a service catered to serious coffee drinkers by allowing them to try an array of decaf coffees. You know, some company that delivers a new bag of beans to your mailbox approximately every 30 days. Wait a minute, though. Such a thing exists, and you’ll find it in Atlas Coffee Club!

Atlas sources beans from over 50 countries, so the chances of you getting bored with your brew are pretty slim. Plus, each bag of beans comes with tasting notes and brewing tips! This service is worth looking into if you want an easy way to explore decaf options. Just sign up and eagerly wait for the first bag of single-origin coffee to show up at your door. 

Lifeboost Coffee Decaf Medium Roast

Lifeboost Decaf Coffee
Lifeboost Decaf Coffee
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Your cup of Lifeboost Medium Roast Decaf Coffee comes from coffee beans that have been individually hand-selected as the premium bean(s) of a harvest. Your coffee beans are lovingly cultivated by local farmers, after being grown slowly to full maturity in mountain shade. Your beans are hand-picked — one at a time to provide the highest in Gourmet blends — and then fermented for 26 hours so the skin can be carefully removed without damaging the seed.


Cut your caffeine content with a cup of Lifeboost Coffee’s decaf blend. This well-bodied medium roast lets you enjoy the smooth flavor of a good cup of joe without any of caffeine’s overwhelming side effects. Plus, it sits at the lower end of the acidity spectrum, making it gentle on the stomach. 

Since Lifeboost decaffeinates these beans with the Swiss Water Method (that means washing the joe in 100 percent chemical-free water to remove unwanted caffeine molecules) before starting the roasting process, you can expect them to retain their savory flavor. Sipping this lusciously smooth beverage means taking in hints of chocolate, caramel, and a sweet, fruity undertone. This great-tasting coffee can easily be complemented with creamer or sweeteners, but no worries, black coffee lovers. It stands alone well, too. 

Mother Tongue Coffee Decaf Fincas Mierisch

Mother Tongue Coffee Fincas Mierisch
Mother Tongue Coffee Decaf Fincas Mierisch
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With the chocolaty richness of a black forest cake and a huge, smooth body, this is one delicious and comforting decaf.


“Let them drink cake!” declared Marie Antoinette. At least, she would have if Mother Tongue Coffee’s Decaf Fincas Mierisch blend had been around in her day. When you brew this batch of coffee beans, you get a drink that tastes like cherry chocolate cake. Because it’s decaffeinated, it won’t keep you up at night; that means a cup of this sweet coffee makes a dang good after-dinner drink. 

This coffee company brings beans from Jinotega, Nicaragua, to its California headquarters before roasting them to medium-dark perfection, packaging them carefully, and sending them to greet you in your mailbox. 

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Easy Does It Decaf

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Easy Does It Decaf
Good Citizen Coffee Co. Easy Does It Decaf
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As delicious as it is easy-going, this decaf features notes of cherry and lemon alongside a deep toffee sweetness.


It’s hard to take it easy on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a good book in one hand and a delicious cup of coffee in the other if the caffeine jitters are sneaking up on you. That’s when it pays to have a decaf coffee blend readily available, and this one from Good Citizen Coffee (formerly known as Stay Golden Coffee Co.) is a worthy contender. 

This Colombian brew is enjoyable from start to finish. The hint of sweet toffee flavor and fruity notes of cherry and lemon make it easy to do so. The medium roast is a sweet and balanced drink your taste buds will enjoy until the last drop. 

PT’s Coffee MWP Decaf Huerta del Rio

PT's Coffee
PT's Coffee MWP Decaf Huerta del Rio
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Medium-dark roastiness and all the candy bar sweetness you can hope for makes this single-origin decaf one you’ll be happy to relax with.


When PT’s Coffee soaks the freshly picked green coffee beans in crisp mountain water and runs them through carbon filters, 98 percent of the caffeine is removed, but 100 percent of the flavor remains. 

The result is the Huerta del Rio blend, a batch of Mexican coffee beans marked by the aroma of graham crackers, tobacco, and chocolate-covered almonds. After you’ve been captivated by the smell of this beverage, take a sip and fall in love with the medium roast, thanks to chocolate, citrussy Meyer lemon, and raisin tasting notes. 

You can sip cup after cup of this smooth and soft brew, making it a satisfying cozy drink option you can enjoy on a rainy afternoon.

Ritual Coffee Decaf Los Gigantes

Ritual Coffee
Ritual Coffee Decaf Los Gigantes
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Sugarcane processed for maximum sweetness, hold the calories. We’re loving this as our afternoon cup – sweet and nutty, it reminds us of banana bread.


There’s never a bad time for coffee. Unless you’re three cups deep and so full of caffeine that your heart’s racing so quickly that you’re not sure you’ll ever catch up to it — in that case, you should put the mug down. 

And that’s where Ritual Coffee’s Decaf Los Gigantes blend saves the day! Eliminating the java jitters from your life doesn’t mean giving up your favorite drink cold turkey or settling for some cheap, lackluster decaf because you think there’s nothing better left. Use one of your favorite brewing methods to whip up a cup of this stuff, and keep going!

These beans from Gigante, Colombia, are sweet-tasting and -smelling, so it’s probably best enjoyed as an after-dinner treat. Besides, with notes of banana bread, cherries, and chocolate pudding, it’s dessert in a cup! The joe is decaffeinated with naturally-occurring ethyl acetate — a chemical compound including carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen — so you can enjoy a cup of the sweet South American coffee any time of the day without the risk of losing sleep.

Sightglass Coffee Hunky Dory Blend

Sightglass Coffee Hunky Dory Blend
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The name says it all. This blend goes with the flow—changing its tune a bit with the seasons, but remaining a fan favorite.


We’re convinced everything is hunky-dory when coffee is involved. If you don’t believe us, run Sightglass’s Hunky Dory blend through your coffee maker and watch how quickly your mood turns around. Of course, the resulting cup of coffee won’t give you the kick in the pants often associated with a strong brew, but it’ll give you a calm and casual dose of your favorite beverage. 

The origins of these freshly roasted coffee beans vary according to the season, but the tasting notes — toffee, red grape, and bergamot — remain the same. The medium roast is mellow and comforting, so try brewing during the late afternoon or evening hours; its floral and fruity flavors can help you wind down after a busy day. 

Verve Coffee Roasters Vancouver Decaf Blend

Verve Coffee Roasters Vancouver Decaf Blend
Verve Coffee Roasters Vancouver Decaf Blend
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Mellow out with an impressively complex coffee that sacrifices caffeine without abandoning flavor—rich, but sweet. A coffee lover’s decaf.


This blend of Ugandan and Colombian decaf coffee beans from Verve Coffee Roasters may lose its stimulating, jitter-inducing caffeine during Swiss Water Processing, but rest assured it holds onto every bit of its rich flavor. Whether you’re using your trusty Bonavita drip machine or slow brewing with your pour-over, you’ll end up with a pot full of sweet, mellow java full of almond, honey, and cola notes.

Verve Coffee Roasters was born in 2007, and since then, the brand has unveiled a rather extensive lineup of beans, including the Vancouver blend. And since you can find this and other Verve blends in instant coffee or nitro cold brew form, it’s clear the brand has all kinds of coffee lovers’ needs in mind. 

Novo Coffee Novo Decaf

Novo Coffee Novo Decaf
Novo Coffee Novo Decaf
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This is simply a good cup of coffee, minus the jolt. For the coffee lover with a late-night habit, or who needs to cut back on caffeine: we’ve got you covered with this one.


Let’s set the scene: it’s a cold winter evening, and you’re curled up on the couch reading a good book. You’re under the softest blanket you own, and the only thing that could make you any cozier is a piping hot mug of coffee. Enter Novo Coffee’s Novo decaf beans. This joe gives off all the warm and homey vibes with notes of sweetness, maple syrup, and oatmeal.

Various producers grow the beans used for Novo’s decaf brew, and all of them do so in or around the Veracruz area. They’re water processed, too, which, to some java drinkers, makes them more appealing than chemical-processed coffees. 

Madcap Coffee Placebo Decaf

Madcap Coffee Placebo Decaf
Madcap Coffee Placebo Decaf
Our rating:

Smooth and delicious with brown sugar sweetness, hints of lemon aromatics and warm vanilla, this decaf is classic and delicious.


Maybe Madcap Coffee named this batch of beans Placebo to convince even the most caffeine-obsessed customers that they’re crazy about decaf. Now, we don’t know if that was the thought process behind the name, but we’d wager that once Madcap fans get a taste of these full-bodied beans, they’ll feel just as satisfied as they do after a cup of regular joe — even when their beloved caffeine kick never comes. 

While most placebos are nothing more than sugar pills, Madcap’s is coffee with brown sugar, citrus, and vanilla notes. The Michigan-based coffee roaster says this batch of joe’s deep flavor (which is a result of decaffeination via a sugarcane extract solvent, by the way) is so good that you’ll hardly believe it’s a reduced caffeine coffee. 

Sparrows Coffee Decaf La Serrania

Sparrows Coffee Decaf La Serrania
Sparrows Coffee Decaf La Serrania
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A decaffeination process involving sugar cane leaves this Colombian coffee with plenty of citrusy zing and rich, molasses sweetness.


A combination of sugarcane and mountain water removes 99.7 percent of the caffeine in Sparrows Coffee’s Decaf La Serrania coffee, but no worries: this mixture doesn’t take away any of these Colombian beans’ notes of tangy citrus or mouthwateringly sweet molasses. 

Once brewed, this Sparrows Coffee java has a well-balanced flavor profile that’s both zesty and sweet. The smooth joe manages to have a soft acidity level, too. Whether you’re switching to decaf coffee for health reasons or want a bag of beans you can brew in the evening without disrupting your sleep, this unique-tasting brew is a worthy contender. 

Common Voice Perennial Decaf

Common Voice Perennial Decaf
Common Voice Perennial Decaf
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This darling of a decaf features a bright lemony acidity, with a crisp green apple bite and aromatics of sweet cedar.


Nashville-based coffee roaster, Common Voice Coffee, is a brand dedicated to doing good. That’s why the company sets five percent of its profits aside to help keep java farms healthy for years to come. Aside from doing good, Common Voice is concerned with offering bean options that taste good. The Perennial Decaf blend is one of them.

Common Voice’s Perennial Decaf blend is a light and bright brew that’s perfect for any coffee fanatic who tends to reach for fruity-flavored joe. These Colombian beans have tasting notes of lemon and toffee, creating a creamy brew that’s crisp, refreshing, and downright delicious. 

Seattle’s Best Coffee Decaf Portside Blend

Seattle’s Best Decaf Portside Blend (previously known as the Decaf Signature Blend) is a medium roast coffee that produces a hearty, well-balanced brew with a smooth, full body. The 100 percent Latin American arabica beans are rigorously and thoroughly tested throughout processing to ensure consistency. 

If you want a tried-and-true decaf brew that goes down easy, the Portside Blend is for you. We like it so much because despite being a decaffeinated joe, it doesn’t lack any of the punchiness fully caffeinated coffee usually has. It satisfies your coffee cravings without leaving a caffeine buzz behind, which is everything you want from a mug of decaf. 

Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf

When exploring decaf dark roast blends, don’t sleep on this batch of beans from Kicking Horse. The exclusively shade-grown arabica beans in this dark roast decaf come from Central and South America. They are decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process, meaning though the caffeine is gone, the rich flavor profile is still intact. 

Topping off this brew’s satisfying taste, littered with notes of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate, is that the beans are certified organic, Fair Trade, and kosher. So, you can enjoy a cup of this somewhat sweet stuff with peace of mind. 

Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf

If you’re a longtime java drinker or have a bit of coffee industry knowledge, Volcanica Coffee should be a pretty familiar name to you. The brand has become synonymous with exceptional quality accessible coffee, and its decaf doesn’t disappoint. 

Volcanica Coffee’s Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu is a single-origin medium roast from San José’s southern mountainous region. The beans, decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Method, make a unique and enjoyable brew. The result is full-bodied and smooth with a subtle chocolate flavor and notes of crisp, toasted apple. 

No Fun Jo Decaf

Despite the implications of its name, this decaf by Jo is anything but no fun. This is a blended coffee, using beans from the top two percent of all arabica raw coffee worldwide through direct sourcing. The medium-dark roast has a decadent, full body with complementary notes of sweet blueberry and milk chocolate. 

Like many of Jo’s coffees, these decaf beans are USDA-certified organic, Fair Trade certified, and kosher. Plus, they’re decaffeinated by a popular chemical-free processing method, the Swiss Water Process. 

Stone Street Mayan Water Decaf

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Mayan Water Decaf is subtle and earthy, lending it a flavor profile that stands out in this lineup. The beans are medium roasted, leaving you with a modest body and full flavor. Also, as you may have guessed with water in the name, these are Swiss Water Processed. 

This blend of Central American coffees is Rainforest Alliance certified and kosher. The brand also partners with Sweet Unit Farms to utilize direct trade methods for ensuring sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. 

Is there caffeine in decaf coffee?

Just because it’s called decaffeinated coffee doesn’t mean there’s no caffeine whatsoever. The coffee-making process does wipe away most of the caffeine, but some of it always remains. 

The exact caffeine content varies from coffee to coffee, but you can pretty much bet the amount of the stuff in your cup of decaf will be between zero and seven milligrams. To put that into perspective, the average cup of regular joe contains somewhere between 70 and 140 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to eliminate caffeine from your diet, you’ll have to give up your daily habit altogether. But if your goal is merely to limit your intake of the stimulant, then reach for a bag of decaf coffee beans.

What brand of decaf coffee has the least amount of caffeine?

We can’t narrow down a specific brand that boasts the least amount of caffeine; try as we might, we can’t research and try every single product that exists. However, Swiss Water Processed beans have less caffeine than those processed differently, so any brand that employs this method may be a safe bet.

Is decaf coffee bad for you?

You may be wondering if decaf joe deserves its bad reputation. Does reaching for a cup of this stuff cause any unpleasant or harmful side effects?

According to a 2017 study published by The BMJ, the answer to that question seems to be no. However, the idea of decaf being bad for your health isn’t unfounded. 

Why people are concerned

We mentioned earlier that the caffeine in coffee beans is removed by exposure to some sort of solvent. While these substances are sometimes labeled “natural” or “organic” because though naturally occurring, they’re often synthetically produced. This is common practice with ethyl acetate, which can pose some risk at high doses. However, the amount of ethyl acetate present in coffee is unlikely to pose issues. 

Another substance that has raised concerns is methylene chloride, as exposure to it in airborne form can impact the central nervous system, reducing attention and coordination. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared it for use in producing a decaffeinated coffee bean so long as there is less than .0001 percent in the final product. So, this is also nothing to worry about. 

Looking forward

Scientists continue investigating both potential health benefits and drawbacks of coffee in all forms, regular and decaf. Current research investigates the varied impact of high decaf coffee consumption on HDL2 (a type of cholesterol) levels across different BMI ranges. 

So, is decaf good for you?

It’s common knowledge that coffee boasts many impressive health benefits, and as it turns out, those pros aren’t eliminated just because you switch to decaf. Regular joe seems to have a bit of an advantage (mostly because it’s got a stronger flavor and the ability to bring you to life on even the earliest of mornings). Still, there are plenty of reasons to sip decaf beyond the desire to lower your caffeine intake. 


Both decaffeinated and regular brews are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants your body needs. However, decaf joe can have up to 15 percent less of the antioxidants hydrocinnamic acid and polyphenols than its fully caffeinated counterpart. But, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a significant difference. 

Reduced risk of disease

Like regular coffee, decaf java can lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, improve liver function, and even prevent premature death. Some studies have even linked coffee, both regular and decaffeinated, to reducing the risk of developing a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. 

Some experts have also said drinking two or more cups of decaffeinated coffee per day leaves you a 48 percent lower chance of developing rectal cancer. 

No acid reflux or crash

Heartburn and acid reflux are some of the main side effects of drinking coffee. Drinking decaf, however, reduces the chances of experiencing either of those. Plus, removing the caffeine from coffee beans keeps you from experiencing the dreaded crash once your jolt of energy has worn off. 

What is the healthiest decaf coffee to buy? 

If health plays a significant role in determining which decaffeinated joe you want to try, we recommend shopping from decaf coffee brands that utilize the Swiss Water Method since no potentially harmful chemicals are involved. 

Regular Roasty readers know Lifeboost Coffee is one of our go-to healthy coffee picks, so it shouldn’t be shocking we think this brand makes good-for-you decaf products, too. Not only are these beans Swiss Water Processed, but they’re tested for mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, and 400 other toxins before they arrive at your doorstep. This brew manages to be full of smooth flavor and free of harm. 

Wrapping Up

Now, you understand the difference between regular and decaf coffee and not just the superficial details. Knowing this can help you find the perfect decaf coffee if you decide to reduce or even eliminate your caffeine intake each day.

Caffeine is considered relatively harmless in reasonable doses. However, many people still want to reduce how much they have in a day. There is nothing wrong with that! Finding the right kind of decaf can be the key for all coffee lovers to reduce their caffeine while enjoying a great cup of joe.

While you may have to experiment to find the perfect decaffeinated coffee, we encourage you to keep searching until you find one you like as much as your regular cup of joe. There are plenty of options to choose from, so the chances of -finding something you love are high. And remember: just because it’s decaf doesn’t mean it’s no good. 

Are you ready to reduce the caffeine in your diet? Begin your search for a great cup of decaffeinated coffee today.

Happy Caffeinating!

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