by Neptune Coffee  | 

10 Best Decaf Coffee Beans of 2019

Let’s face it – Decaf gets a bad rap in the coffee community. Some coffee connoisseurs simply can’t fathom why anyone would want the dilute or degrade the natural caffeine content in coffee.

But caffeine isn’t for everyone, and the bean isn’t just about caffeine. In fact, your morning brew has a lot more to offer than just a jolt of energy. Coffee beans have complex (and delicious) flavor profiles and health benefits that even anti-caffeine coffee drinkers can appreciate.

So, whether you’re sensitive to the side-effects of caffeine, have to eliminate it for health reasons, or just don’t dig the late-night caffeine kick of a typical cup of coffee, we have you covered.

The 10 Best Decaf Coffee Beans

We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the best decaf coffee beans on the market. After all, reaching for a cup of decaf is always better than not having coffee at all.

Coffee

Details

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Volcanica Coffee - Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu

  • Medium Roast Sourced from the Tarrazu High Mountains in Costa Rica
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified

Out of the Grey, Ethiopian Oromia Yirgacheffe Organic Coffee

  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in the Oromia State of southern and southwest Ethiopia
  • Fair-Trade Certified

No Fun Jo Decaf

  • Medium-Dark Roast
  • Fair Trade Certified, Kosher Certified, USDA Certified Organic

Illy Decaf Coffee Blend

  • Sustainably-Grown Italian Arabica coffee

Volcanica, Colombia Supremo Decaf

  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified

Cafe Don Pablo, Colombian Gourmet Decaf

  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • AIB Food Safety Certified, Certified by the CCOF for Organic Production

Lucy Jo’s, Organic Mellow Belly

  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in Indonesia and Peru
  • Certified Organic

Koffee Kult, Colombian Decaf

  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia

Eight O’Clock, The ORiginal Decaf

  • Medium Roast
  • Kosher Certified

The Bean Coffee Company, El Grano Suave

  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • Certified Organic by the CCOF and USDA

Volcanica Coffee - Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu

Volcanica Coffee Coffee Beans
  • Medium Roast Sourced from the Tarrazu High Mountains in Costa Rica
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified

Volcanica’s Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu Coffee makes a strong case against the assumption that decaf is an inferior bean.

Sourced in the high-altitude Tarrazu mountains, Volcanica’s Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu beans are hand-farmed for quality in cool, rich volcanic soil. According to Volcanica, the Tarrazu mountains are considered one most highly regarded coffee-growing regions in the world.

Offering a full-bodied, rich flavor profile complimented by crisp, toasty apple flavor notes, this brew might just trick your taste buds into thinking you’re drinking the real deal.

In fact, Volcanica proudly sources Tarrazu beans for a few of their reputable caffeinated Costa Rican beans.

The difference? These decaf beans undergo a 100% chemical-free, Swiss Water process that extracts 99.9% of the caffeine from the bean without sacrificing its smooth, balanced flavors. In other words, you’ll get world-class Costa Rican coffee without the pesky caffeine kick.  


Out of the Grey, Ethiopian Oromia Yirgacheffe Organic Coffee

Out of the Grey, Ethiopian Oromia Yirgacheffe Organic Coffee
  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in the Oromia State of southern and southwest Ethiopia
  • Fair-Trade Certified

Boasting more benefits than just being a caffeine-free bean, Out of the Grey’s Ethiopian Oromia coffee beans are shade-grown and interspersed with a variety of plants like ginger, papaya, and mangoes to create rich, complex flavor profiles.

According to Out of the Grey, their Yirgacheffe bean is grown at elevations ranging from 5,900-7,200 feet, and coffee connoisseurs will agree that the Yirgacheffe varietal is one of the best high-altitude beans in southern Ethiopia.  

In fact, this single-origin Ethiopian bean is more than just a mouthful to say; Out of the Grey’s Ethiopian Oromia Yirgacheffe coffee offers crisp, sweet, and smooth flavor profiles coupled by a rich, delightfully floral-toned, chocolatey taste and a subtle hint of spice.  

Out of the Grey’s Ethiopian Oromia bean is not only organic, forest-grown, chemical-free and bird-friendly but also supports a proportionately worthy cause. The Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Union regularly disperses funds to provide potable water, education, and health benefits to the local community.

So, you can rest assured knowing that with each sip of your caffeine-free morning brew, you’re supporting a noble cause.

Like Volcanica, Out of the Grey uses the 100% chemical-free Swiss Water Process to decaffeinate their beans. However, if you’re feeling feisty, their beloved Ethiopian beans can also be bought whole-bean and packed full of caffeine.  


No Fun Jo Decaf

NO FUN JO DECAF: 12 oz, Organic Decaf Coffee, Swiss Water Process, Fair Trade Certified, Medium Dark Roast, Whole Bean Arabica Coffee, Certified Organic, Chemical Free Gluten Free, Nice Decaf Espresso
  • Medium-Dark Roast
  • Fair Trade Certified, Kosher Certified, USDA Certified Organic

What’s with the drab name, Jo? We happen to think that a lack of caffeine doesn’t make Jo’s decaf any less fun to drink.  

This complex, full-bodied cup of joe (no pun intended) has a sweet blueberry and milk chocolatey taste without any harmful additives.  

Not to mention, Jo offers a laundry list of other impressive promises. Your bag of caffeine-free beans is guaranteed to be Fair Trade, Kosher Certified, USDA Certified Organic, chemical-free, and Swiss Water processed.

According to Jo, their beans are sourced from the top 2% of all Arabica raw beans worldwide, and they employ a dedicated team of cupping experts to make sure their beans are perfected before they arrive at your doorstep.

We don’t have the intimate details of where their beans are grown, just that this coffee blend comes from several different origins, but their hefty collection of 5-star reviews on Amazon confirm that a whole lot of coffee-lovers, caffeinated or not, stand behind Jo’s coffee.  


Illy Decaf Coffee Blend

illy-whole-bean-decaffeinated-coffee
  • Sustainably-Grown Italian Arabica coffee

Where art thou delicious coffee beans?

Illy’s Decaf coffee not only promises to deliver smooth, creamy, full-bodied taste, but their “Poetry, in coffee beans,” are said to “invoke a sensual beauty and poetry in the passionate coffee lover.”

While we can’t guarantee that Illy’s will jumpstart the romance in your life, we can confidently say their 100% sustainably-grown Arabica beans are sourced from some of the best coffee growing regions in the world – Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, and Costa Rica.

Not to mention, Illy one-of-a-kind pressurized packaging was explicitly designed to trap all of the lovely aromas and Italian coffee goodness inside, so you get a truly fresh cup, each and every time.

Their decaf single-origin bean guarantees a 99.9% caffeine extraction and smooth, delightful caramel flavor notes.

Unlike a few other coffee brands on this list, Illy uses a CO2 method, a mixture of water and carbon dioxide, to decaffeinate their coffee. Like the Swiss Water method, the CO2 method doesn’t involve any harmful chemicals.

With over eight decades of experience in the coffee bean business under their belt and a rigorous flavor-testing methodology, we’re confident Illy makes a top-notch cup of decaf.


Volcanica, Colombia Supremo Decaf

  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified

If you’re totally obsessed with Colombian Supremo, we can’t say we blame you. After all, according to Volcanica, Colombian Supremo is celebrated for its smooth, nutty overtones and rich, full-bodied flavor.

Fortunately, even as a decaf coffee drinker, Volcanica has you covered. Volcanica formulated a single-origin, Colombian decaf bean that is meant to rival its classic Colombian Supremo.  

This medium roast, shade grown, 100% pure Supremo bean is grown high in the Colombian Andes and maintains the pleasant acidity and sweet, fruity floral tones that are characteristic of beans grown in the region.

Like Volcanica’s Costa Rican blend, the Colombian Supremo is grown in mineral-rich volcanic earth and decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process. That means the only thing that makes it into your cup is pure, ethically-sourced, delicious decaf Colombian coffee.  


Cafe Don Pablo, Colombian Gourmet Decaf

2LB Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Swiss Water Process Colombian Gourmet Coffee Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - 2 Pound ( 2 lb ) Bag
  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • AIB Food Safety Certified, Certified by the CCOF for Organic Production

Café Don Pablo’s medium-dark, 100% Arabica beans are another viable option for coffee-lovers looking for the perfect decaf Colombian coffee bean.  

Café Don Pablo’s gourmet, decaf Colombian bean embraces the caramelization of natural sugars to produce robust, yet smooth, caramel and cocoa flavor notes with subtle hints of citrus.

Naturally decaffeinated utilizing the Swiss Water Process, Don Pablo insists that you’ll enjoy a cup of joe that tastes exactly like the “real thing.”

These rich, full-bodied beans are slow-roasted to perfection in small batches. Café Don Pablo’s personal family ties allow them to grow, pick, and process their own coffee beans in Colombia and hand-pick the finest Arabica beans in the region.  

Café Don Pablo is AIB Food Safety Certified, classified as Gourmet Coffee by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, and Certified by the CCOF for Organic Production.

What do all of these classifications mean? Well, they suggest that you can sip your next cup of Café Don Pablo knowing that you’re getting an authentic, gourmet cup of coffee from an accredited, organic, and eco-friendly coffee company.  

Not a big fan of medium-dark roasts? Don Pablo’s Colombian decaf bean is also available in a light roast!  


Lucy Jo’s, Organic Mellow Belly

Lucy Jo's Coffee, Organic Decaf Mellow Belly Low Acid Blend, 11 oz (Whole Bean)
  • Medium-Dark Roast Sourced in Indonesia and Peru
  • Certified Organic

If you’re looking for delicious decaf, but also hoping for a low acid option, Lucy Jo’s has you covered.

Lucy Jo’s is a small, family-run roastery with a big mission – deliver organic coffee that caters to health-conscious coffee drinkers.

Their decaf, medium-dark Mellow Belly bean, in particular, is a smooth blend of single origin, 100% Arabica Indonesian and Peruvian beans that offers a sweet, creamy flavor.  

Each bag of beans is roasted in small batches to optimize flavor and decaffeinated using water-processed approach. That means no pesky chemicals, no quirky aftertaste, and no unnecessary acid-induced stomach pains.


Koffee Kult, Colombian Decaf

Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf Coffee Medium Roast - Whole Bean - Water Process Chemical Free (Whole Bean)
  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia

Koffee Kult agrees that chemical-free is the way to be and insists that their Colombian decaf “tastes so delicious, you won’t miss the caffeine.”

Gone are the days of flat, bland decaf. This rich and robust 100% Arabica Colombian bean is balanced by smooth, cinnamon flavors and decaffeinated using a chemical-free water process that preserves the best parts of the coffee seed.

Not only is their Colombian blend Rainforest Friendly, but Koffee Kult only supports eco-friendly and organic farms.

You can confidently join the Kult crew knowing that a specialty Roaster Master hand-picks the best green beans before roasting and double-checks to make sure faulty beans don’t make it into your bag.


Eight O’Clock, The ORiginal Decaf

Eight O'Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf, 24 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • Medium Roast
  • Kosher Certified

You know what they say, it’s eight o’clock somewhere. And thanks to this caffeine-free 100% Arabica bean, you can sip premium coffee all night long.    

Eight O’Clock sources their beans from Latin America to East Africa, and although they don’t divulge the details of origin for their original decaf, they contend that their coffee is America’s best-selling whole bean coffee.

The Original Decaf is a 100% Arabica, medium roast, and Kosher certified blend. It’s both sweet and fruity while delivering the same iconic taste as the Original Blend.

Although Eight O’Clock doesn’t specifically divulge how they decaffeinate their beans, their 150 years of experience leads us to believe they know a thing or two about high-quality coffee.


The Bean Coffee Company, El Grano Suave

The Bean Coffee Company Organic Decaf El Grano Suave (Classic Colombian Excelso), Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 16-Ounce Bag
  • Medium Roast Sourced in Colombia
  • Certified Organic by the CCOF and USDA

El Grana Suave is as smooth as its name implies. A classic Colombian Excelso, The Bean Coffee Company’s El Grana Suave blend is a smooth, medium roast with just a touch of sweetness.

The El Grana Suave blend is decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process, which means it’s chemical and solvent-free. Not to mention, The Bean Coffee Company simply doesn’t believe in adding artificial flavors or additives to their coffee.

This 100% Arabica bean is Certified Organic by the CCOF and USDA, so you can be confident in the ethics behind their brand.

The Bean Coffee Company insists that they are “all about the bean,” and have spent over 25 years perfecting the quality, taste, and their innovative roasting process.


How is Coffee Decaffeinated?

Decaf coffee has come a long way since 1905, when commercial coffee roasters used benzene, a harmful, harsh compound to strip the caffeine from unroasted green coffee beans.

Thankfully, today the decaffeination process is a lot simpler, subtler, and a whole lot less dangerous.  

There are three main decaffeinating processes that exist today – Water processing (i.e. the Swiss Water method), the direct solvent method, and carbon dioxide decaffeination.

These three processes sound pretty extreme, but they’re totally harmless and pretty straightforward.

Swiss Water Method

The Swiss Water method is considered the original water-only decaffeination process. This process is arguably the most popular with coffee roasters because it’s eco-friendly, 100% chemical-free, and results in a bean that is 99.9% caffeine-free.

Before being shipped off to specialty roasters, the unroasted green beans are cleaned and hydrated with pure water from the high mountains of British Columbia, soaked in a proprietary caffeine-free Green Coffee Extract, and rigorously monitored to perfection.

Some coffee-lovers are concerned that water processing might dilute their favorite brew, but the consensus in the coffee community is that the Swiss Water method maintains both the taste and quality of the high-quality coffee beans.

Carbon Dioxide Decaffeination

The newest process, the Carbon Dioxide method, is a lot like the Swiss Water method, except instead of the unroasted beans being soaked in H20, they’re saturated in highly compressed CO2.

CO2 is an essential natural compound in our environment and, like the Swiss Water method, the CO2 method is 100% chemical-free.

There is, however, some debate in the coffee community about whether or not CO2 influences taste.

While some coffee connoisseurs insist that using CO2 allows the compounds responsible for flavor and taste to remain fully intact, others believe that the CO2 method doesn’t offer the same citrusy, fruity flavors you might find in a direct solvent decaf.

The best way to find out for sure is to try each method for yourself!

Direct Solvent Method

Rather than using water or carbon dioxide, the Direct Solvent method uses organic chemical solvents, like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, to decaffeinate coffee.

Of the two solvents, methylene chloride seems to stir up the most drama. Mostly, methylene gets a bad rap because it can be found (in much higher doses) in some adhesives and paints.

We know it can seem pretty intimidating, but it’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration gives a thumbs up to these natural compounds as long as the levels don’t exceed .0001 percent.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that popular coffee companies, like Starbucks, use organic chemical solvents to decaffeinate their coffee.

Nevertheless, if chemical compounds aren’t your thing, you should stick to coffee brands that display their eco-friendly decaffeination process on the bag. Generally, if it’s not obvious what method they use, you can assume it’s direct solvent.

How much Caffeine is in Decaf?

You might have noticed that coffee companies don’t market their decaf as caffeine-free. And that’s because sticking to strictly decaf doesn’t mean your coffee will be 100% free of caffeine.   

In fact, a recent study compared the caffeine content in a cup of drip decaf from nine different coffee shops and determined that a 16-ounce cup contained anywhere from 8.6 milligrams to 13.9 milligrams of caffeine.

If it helps to put your mind at ease, the same study concluded that an 8-ounce traditional cup of joe contains approximately 85 milligrams of caffeine. In other words, your decaf blend will typically contain less than 10% of a caffeinated alternative.

It’s also important to keep in mind that although coffee is an obvious culprit when it comes to cutting back on caffeine, there are several other unsuspecting household treats to keep an eye on.

According to health experts, A 1.4 ounce serving of milk chocolate, for example, could contain as much as 8 to 12 mg of caffeine. So, your beloved brownies, pudding, cookies, and other cocoa infused treats may also include a little bit of caffeine.

Conclusion

While some coffee-lovers are happy to live from one caffeinated cup to the next, others don’t necessarily appreciate the short-lived pick-me-up or side-effects that come along with caffeine consumption.

Fortunately, a quality cup of coffee isn’t supported by caffeine. Besides, you can not only enjoy the bold flavors of your favorite blend, but you can do so at all hours of the day!