For those who love the taste of coffee but who do not want a caffeine overload, the coffee offerings have traditionally been somewhat limited and less than desirable. Most of the widely available decaf coffees tended to be somewhat bitter with an underlying sourness that was less than pleasant.
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In recent years, the selection has expanded, and the quality has improved significantly. The following looks at my favorite decaffeinated blends for 2020.
How Is Coffee Decaffeinated?
There are three main processes used to remove caffeine from coffee:
- The direct process uses a chemical called methyl chloride. This method does not remove other organic compounds from the coffee, so it affects the taste of the coffee the least.
- A natural process decaffeination uses CO2 or a natural plant hormone called ethyl acetate.
- A water process decaffeination uses nothing other than pure H20.
Regardless of the process used, decaffeinated coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine. According to regulations issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at least 97 percent of the caffeine has to be removed in order for a coffee to be considered decaf. The amount of caffeine that remains can vary based on the type of bean used. Some decaf coffees may have as little as 5 mg of caffeine while others may have as much as 30 mg.
The Best Instant Decaf Coffee
We all have those days when there simply is not enough time to wait for a cup of brewed coffee. That is when it can be helpful to have instant coffee on hand that can be ready flash. Although you may sacrifice some flavor and aroma, the following selections will certainly satisfy your coffee craving.
1. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee, Decaf Italian Roast
This micro-grind coffee offers the quintessential Starbucks flavor in a convenient single-serve packet. Just add hot water, and in 10 seconds you can enjoy a cup of coffee with enough flavor and body to stand up to cream and sugar.
Made from 100 percent Arabica beans, VIA is a dark roast with deep, bold flavor and a hint of sweetness from the caramel undertones. It also has an aroma similar to brewed coffee. VIA is a strong coffee, so it may not be for those who normally drink Starbucks blonde roast offerings.
2. Maxwell House International French Vanilla Decaf
If your only experience of decaf has been bland, insipid offerings, why not opt for something a little livelier with Maxwell House’s International line?
This French Vanilla Decaf comes undercut with an aroma and taste that belies the fact there’s no caffeine.
The beauty of this sweet and lip-smacking concoction is that you won’t need to add milk or sugar. This makes it the perfect drink when you’re camping, out in the RV, or in the office. You have everything you need except the water.
Each tub gives you enough for about 10 servings. Each serving contains just 60 calories so you won’t need to worry about your waistline.
3. Folgers Classic Decaf
Folgers has been a legend in the coffee industry for over 150 years. You’ll benefit from all that expertise distilled into this Classic Decaf.
You can buy multiple sizes of jar from 2oz through 12oz. You can also pick up multipacks if you want to buy in bulk and make further savings.
The flip-top lid on the jar is easy to open so ideal for older people or anyone struggling with arthritis.
Once your decaf is in your cup, enjoy a drink that’s 99.7% caffeine-free so you can continue sipping it right on into the evening.
See Also: Best Pour Over Coffee Maker
4. Maxwell House Decaf (K-Cup Pod)
If you’re looking for a delicately balanced medium roast with no caffeine so you can drink it throughout the day, Maxwell House delivers in fine style.
The pack of 84 K-Cup pods gives you all the ammo you need to load up your single-serve coffee maker with decaf as you hunker down at home right now.
Made from 100% Arabica beans, don’t think the lack of caffeine translates to a lack of taste. Although you obviously won’t get the kick of a traditional espresso, you will enjoy a finely calibrated coffee that’s surprisingly robust.
With these 8oz pods, enjoy all the benefits of single-serve coffee without any of the caffeine. What’s not to love?
5. Community Coffee Café Decaf (K-Cup Pod)
Next up we’ve got more classic K-Cup pods perfect for your Keurig coffee maker from Community Coffee. The Café Special Decaf is a medium-dark roast proving conclusively that you don’t need to sacrifice body or flavor just because you want your joe stripped of caffeine.
Choose from a pack of 36, 72, or 144 pods so you can keep your single-serve machine stocked up all through the coming period when we’re spending more time at home.
Pure Arabica beans are used to give you a taste sensation in a form you can drink deep into the evening without disturbing your sleep.
Everything about the process used is sustainable from the beans through to community programs funded by the manufacturer. Do your part for the environment and make sure your coffee is sustainably grown and produced.
These pods are compatible with the uprated 2.0 machines.
6. Maxwell House International Coffee Decaf Sugar-Free Suisse Mocha Café
Maxwell House’s line of flavored international coffees are a perennial favorite and come in a variety of flavors. Sugar-free Suisse Mocha is perfect for those who do not like their coffee overly strong. The dessert-like sweetness makes it a perfect after-dinner treat or as a substitute for creamer in your brewed coffee.
The aroma is warm and inviting, and the flavor is very similar to a cup of hot cocoa. This may mean that it is too sweet for hard-core coffee drinkers. The fact that the coffee comes in a tin instead of pre-measured packets allows you to customize your cup of coffee to your taste.
7. Hills Bros. Cappuccino Decaf French Vanilla
If you want to enjoy the rich creaminess of a cappuccino without the hassle of brewing, Hills Bros. offers a line of instant cappuccinos. This decaf version is perfect as a nightcap and will not keep you up all night.
The aroma of vanilla and the creaminess of the coffee make this instant cappuccino seem decadent and rather elegant. The flavor is definitely on the sweet side, so you should not expect a strong coffee flavor. Hills Bros. coffees are widely available at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The budget-friendly price makes it possible to enjoy a cappuccino whenever you like without paying a fortune at your local coffeehouse.
8. Café Bustelo Decaffeinated Coffee
Café Bustelo coffee originated in East Harlem in the early 1930s. It was founded by Gregorio Bustelo who immigrated to New York from Spain via Cuba and Puerto Rico where he learned the art of coffee roasting.
The company offers decaf ground coffee, decaf instant coffee, decaf freeze-dried coffee, and single-serve packets of decaf instant espresso. The company uses premium beans to create a decaf that still provides a rich and full-bodied taste and aroma.
See Also: Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker
9. Mount Hagen Organic Instant Decaffeinated Coffee
This is an instant coffee for coffee lovers. It is made from 100 percent highland Arabica beans and is the world’s first certified organic instant coffee. Mount Hagen coffee is decaffeinated using a carbon dioxide decaffeination process. The brew itself is mild yet still full of flavor with a satisfying aroma.
Mount Hagen decaf may be a little more expensive and difficult to find than mass-market varieties, but the flavor is worth the effort. It also comes in individual packets, which makes it convenient for traveling or camping.
10. Sanka Instant, Naturally Decaffeinated Coffee
As America’s oldest brand of decaffeinated instant coffee, Sanka had to be included on my list both for its flavor and iconic position in history. It has a distinctive flavor and aroma that will immediately make you feel nostalgic.
Sanka is also firmly positioned as part of pop culture after being referenced by the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Seinfeld, and Family Guy.
11. Café Tastlé Decaf
This Gold line from Café Tastlé gives you freeze-dried instant decaf at its very best. While we won’t pretend you’ll get a flavor commensurate with pour-over, this medium roast is still quite punchy and relatively full-bodied considering there’s no caffeine.
Proprietary technology sees instant coffee mixed with freshly ground coffee. The fresh coffee doesn’t suffer from oxidation and you’ll get a taste sensation in just 30 seconds flat.
The 7oz jar gives you enough for over 100 cups of coffee so you’re getting outstanding value here.
If you’re looking for ease of use, coffee in less than a minute and no caffeine at all, roll with Café Tastlé Decaf and you won’t be disappointed.
12. La Republica Mushroom Coffee
Last but certainly not least, the intriguingly-named Mushroom Coffee from La Republica. What’s it all about?
Well, do you follow a specialist diet like keto or paleo? Are you gluten-intolerant? This Fair Trade and Certified Organic coffee comes from Arabica beans stripped of all caffeine. Instead, you’ll benefit from 7 superfood mushrooms to give you a drink laced with undertones of caramel and absolutely packed with goodness.
The rich medium roast will have you questioning whether this really is a decaf or not. You’ll have your drink ready in seconds flat, though, making this one of the most convenient ways to grab your morning cuppa. Since there’s no caffeine, you won’t end up with problems sleeping either.
Packed in a BPA-free reusable jar, reduce your eco-footprint at the same time as your caffeine intake. Throw in those mushrooms and you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.