Last Updated on September 29, 2021 by John Moretti
Do you like a cup of coffee in the evening without the staying awake effect, or are you sensitive to caffeine? Decaf is the answer to your problems. I have compiled a list of the best decaf coffee beans according to my vast knowledge of coffee.
- Best Tasting: Kicking Horse Decaf Coffee
- Best Budget: Seattle Best Coffee Decaf Portside Blend
- Best Luxury: Volcanica Coffee Company House
- Best Luxury: Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf Whole Bean Kona Coffee
- Best Light Roast: Café Don Pablo
- Best Medium Roast: Eight O’clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf
- Best Medium Roast: Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf Coffee
- Best Dark Roast: Equator Coffees Decaf Shakeout
- Best Dark Roast: Peet’s Mocca-Java Decaf Coffee
- Best Organic: No Fun Jo Decaf Whole Bean Coffee
- Best Low Acid: Fresh Roasted Coffee
- Best Decaf Fine Grind: Kirkland’s Signature
Best Tasting: Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf
My number one pick is Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf. If you are into the bolder side of coffee, Kicking Horse Coffee Decaf will do you justice. They use 100% Arabica beans to ensure your cup is rich in flavor and aroma.
Kicking Horse also uses the Swiss method of decaffeination, which preserves the rich, exquisite and roasted flavor. My cup of Kicking Horse Decaf is deep and earthy with a nutty flavor. It also offers notes of hazelnuts and chocolate and has a mellow finish.
Whether you like a cup of espresso or French roast, this blend will give you a perfect cup.
- Taste like real coffee
- Great for all coffee makers
- Swiss water decaffeination process
- Certified Organic
- Fair-Trade Certified
- Improper preparation can lead to a bitter-tasting cup
- Oily coffee beans make it hard to use in a grinder
Best Budget: Seattle Best Coffee Decaf Portside Blend
If you are looking for a hearty everyday coffee that has been tried and tested, Seattle Best Coffee Decaf Portside Blend is for you. It is easy on the wallet and offers value for the money.
Seattle Best uses 100% Arabica coffee beans, which will give you a full-bodied, well-balanced, and smooth cup of decaf.
This medium roast blend is easy to prepare. However, they only come in 12-ounce bags of ground coffee. This was a disappointment because I like grinding whole beans. Seattle Best Coffee also uses a chemical process to decaffeinate their beans. But when you look at the price tag and the quality flavor, you can’t complain.
- Offer value for money
- Use 100% Arabica beans
- Straightforward preparation method
- Use chemical decaffeination process
- Do not offer whole beans
- Easy to find online
Volcanica Coffee House Blend
A Decaf named after a Volcano! What could be better! The name suggests everything you need to know. These exquisite beans come from the best sources around the world, which grow in rich volcanic soils. This is a family-owned business that ensures you get quality in a cup.
Volcanica Coffee House Blend gives you the best of Central and South America with 100% Arabica beans. With the Swiss decaffeination process, they can preserve the rich flavor.
I was fascinated by this company because they roast after an order to ensure you get the freshest beans. I loved the fact that these beans gave me full-bodied, bold flavors with undertones of sweet milk chocolate and roasted nuts in my cup.
- Worth every dime
- Swiss decaffeination process
- Full bodies
- Bold flavors
- Roast after an order
- Very expensive
Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf Whole Bean Kona Coffee
Koa Coffee is another luxury brand that I couldn’t leave out of this list. The medium roast beans are 100% Arabica from one origin-Hawaii.
With these high-end beans, you will experience an exquisite Aloha taste which they are known for.
With such a price tag, you don’t expect anything less. They use the Swiss Water Process to preserve oils and flavor. I couldn’t get enough of its tropical taste of fruits, the hint of nuts, and a grapefruit aftertaste. However, some may find the aftertaste a little bitter.
You need to be careful when purchasing Koa Coffee. Some buyers mix it with other substandard beans due to its high price. It is better to buy from the Koa coffee plantation or their website to get the best they offer.
- Worth the price
- Rich, tropical flavors
- 100% Arabica Beans
- Single Origin
- A lot of scamming involved due to the high price
- A bitter grapefruit aftertaste
Best Light Roast: Cafe Don Pablo
Café Don Pablo is considered a dark to medium roast. However, I had to put it here because it is too light for my taste. Café Don Pablo uses 100% Arabica beans which go through the Swiss Water method to preserve flavor.
These beans have a low acidic profile and do not leave you with a bitter aftertaste. I love it because it has a smooth, well-rounded experience. The full-bodied flavors, a citrus hint, and cocoa and caramel notes are things you should expect with a cup of Café Don Pablo.
Café Don Pablo is not Fair Trade Certified. However, they work together with Colombian farmers to give them what they deserve and have a Sharing Certified program.
- 100% Arabica
- Swiss water process
- Single Origin
- Can be brewed in multiple ways
- Freshly packed and roasted
- Some note Inconsistency in packages
- Gets stale easily
Best Medium Roast
Eight O’clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf
Eight O’clock is my favorite medium roast. They use 100% Arabica beans and offer a fruity and sweet flavor. Additionally, it is well-balanced and has a great aroma.
I like a dark roast, but I found myself falling for this medium roast hard. It mimics the original blend, which means you get every flavor without the caffeine.
Eight O’clock is kosher certified, which makes it popular among many Americans. It offers no-frills and is perfect for an everyday cup of coffee. One thing that I noted is these beans do not have visible oils. If you require dry decaf coffee beans, then you should go for this product.
- Readily available in many stores
- Fruity flavors that are well balanced
- Cheaper than many brands
- Mild tasting
- Kosher certified
- Low acid levels
- Taste like real coffee
- Not organic
- Not fair trade certified
- Too dry
- Thin and fragile packaging bag
Koffee Kult, Colombian Decaf Coffee
Once you join the Koffee Kult, you can’t get out. Koffee Kult has lots of dedicated buyers, and I have to say the popularity is well-deserved. Their single-origin 100% Arabica beans from Columbia offer incredible aroma and a bright floral finish. I liked it because they are medium roast but lie greatly on the darker side.
Koffer Kult uses state-of-the-art technology to roast their beans. A Roastmaster oversees the roasting of 30-pound batches from the first to the last process.
They are also an environmentally friendly company in Florida that is dedicated to ensuring that customers get quality in a cup. They use the Swiss Water Process to preserve flavor and oil in their beans.
- Swiss water process to decaffeinate
- Small batch roasting to ensure freshness
- Fully organic
- Smooth finish
- 100% Arabica beans
- Not certified fair trade
- Pricier than other decaf coffee brands
- I could have preferred a more durable packaging
Best Dark Roast
Equator Coffees Decaf Shakeout
Equator Coffees Decaf Shakeout is a medium-dark roast made from 100% Arabica beans from Latin America. After brewing these interesting decaf beans, I noticed roasted almond and milk chocolate flavors, especially in a cup of espresso.
These beans are from Peru and are made by Association de Productores Cafetaleros Selva. This is an association that encourages organic and sustainable agriculture. They ensure environmental safety and make the most of natural resources to grow the beans.
The organization also ensures that the employees and their families have better living conditions by selling green coffee and suing Fair Trade.
- Swiss Water Process of decaffeination
- Use Fair Trade
- Great for espresso
- Organic and sustainable agricultural practices
- Use Fair Trade
- 100% Arabica beans
- Single Origin
- Too light for a dark roast
Peet’s Mocca-Java Decaf Coffee, Dark Roast, Ground
Peets Moca is a very popular decaf known for tasting just like coffee. They use premium beans to get high-quality decaf with undernotes of baking spices and dark chocolate. I loved the fact that it offers a full-bodied, rich, and flavorful decaf. Its pleasant and smoky aroma also sent me out of this world.
As a dark roaster, Peet’ Moca-Java Decaf satisfied my love for a bold taste of espresso with full-bodied crema. It gives you the rich, complex, and hints of sweetness you need.
This brand packages both freshly roasted ground and whole beans to ensure every customer gets what they like. The beans come from the rich volcanic soils of Ethiopia, so you are assured of quality flavor.
- Decadent dark roast
- Use premium quality Mocca beans
- Taste like caffeinated coffee
- Organic and fresh beans
- Do not need a lot of sugar to taste
- Taste bitter if exposed to air for a long time
Best Organic: No Fun Jo Decaf Whole Bean Coffee
No fun Jo Decaf made it the best organic decaf because they do everything right. Not only are they Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic, but they are also members of the Specialty Coffee Association. Additionally, they use the Swiss Water method to decaffeinate their beans.
These whole Arabica beans are blended from 2% of the best Arabica beans worldwide. They are medium-dark roasts great for espressos and a pour-over. I loved these organic beans because they offer a full body with milk chocolate and sweet blueberry notes like the Ethiopian beans.
Unfortunately, Jo Decaf does not mention the origin of these beans. They say that the fruity and cocoa notes in the coffee are not added but natural bean components. If you like sugar in your cappuccino, you do not have to add any sweeteners. The fruity blueberry notes are enough to give you enough sweetness for your decaf. If you also want to cut on sugar, you can try No Fun Jo Decaf.
- 100% blend of Arabica beans
- USDA Organic
- Fair Trade Certified
- Swiss Water Method Of Decaffeination
- Full-bodied with milk chocolate
- It can be a little too sugary
Best Low Acid: Fresh-Roasted Coffee
If there is a brand that delivers what it stands for, it is Fresh Roasted Coffee. It’s a fresh roast coffee. Additionally, it has low acidity levels, which is why It made this category.
Fresh roasted consider many factors when choosing their beans, including flavor profile, origin, and quality. They want to give their customers the best quality and have several certifications to prove this. They are USDA-certified organic and have certificates that say that their decaffeination processes are chemical-free.
Additionally, they are a certified Direct Trade and Fair-Trade Certified coffee brand. It does not end there. This brand is also RainForest Alliance Certified and eliminates carbon emissions by 80% through a Loring Smart Roaster, which does not create any smoke during roasting. Earthy flavors, a baker’s chocolate undertone, and a creamy finish make this decaf irresistible.
- Extremely fresh
- Strong decaffeinated drink
- Bakers chocolate undertone
- Swiss water process
- Fairtrade certified and USDA Organic
- Creamy finish
- Low Acidity
- RainForest Alliance Certified
- Pricier than other brands
- it’s a bit too dark for a medium roast
Best Decaf Fine Grind: Kirkland’s Signature Decaf Coffee
I saved the best for last. Kirkland’s is loved as one of the best decaf coffee in the market. It is finely ground; hence a coffee grinder is not necessary with this one. If you are an Americano fan, this is the choice for you.
Kirkland’s comes packed in a 48oz box, making it perfect for a huge family or for someone who likes brewing coffee multiple times a day.
If you are a dark roaster like me, you will like this dark roast. It is full-bodied and has undertones of smokiness. Its strong nutty aroma, rich crema, and slightly bitter finish will make sure you are ready for a bright day ahead.
This brand also uses finely ground 100% Arabica beans which are best for drip machines and a French press. To ensure flavor quality preservation, they use the Swiss water process for decaffeination.
- Best coffee pods
- Airtight package
- 100% Arabica beans
- Full-bodied, enticing flavors and aroma
- Swiss water process
- Finely grinds can make the number of brews limited
- Bitter than other decaf coffee
What is Decaffeinated Coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee is coffee that has undergone the process of removing caffeine from coffee beans. Most brands remove 97% of the caffeine resulting in a cup that won’t give you any rush in the morning. If you are the type of person that does not want any caffeine side effects, decaf is the best choice.
Can You Tell The Difference?
I am picky when it comes to my coffee. When I decided to switch to decaf, I wanted something which tastes similar to my regular cup of coffee. Decaffeination does not affect the general taste and smell. Most times, decaf will be milder in taste and smell. I did not mind the mildness, but I looked for stronger beans since I am a dark roaster.
I would recommend testing the waters to get what you want. Once you find a perfect roaster and the right source of beans, you will get a decaf that tastes like coffee.
What To Look For When Buying Decaf Coffee
There are various decaffeination processes. One that is popular in the market that was perfected since 1980 in Switzerland is the Swiss method. Still, there are other methods used to decaffeinate coffee.
The Swiss Water Process was perfected and commercialized by Coffex S.Ain 1980. However, the process was first used in the 1930s in Switzerland to decaffeinate coffee beans. This method works by boiling coffee beans in a filter system with charcoal to diffuse the flavor and caffeine in water.
The charcoal filter only filters caffeine in the coffee beans. After the process is done, you get caffeine-rich water on one side and flavor-rich liquid on the other. The barren coffee beans without flavor or caffeine are tossed, leaving the flavor-rich liquid in place. The flavor-rich liquid is then used to boil another batch of coffee beans in the charcoal filter system.
Flavor saturates the liquid, which ensures that only caffeine moves through the filter and not the flavor. About 97% of caffeine is eliminated, leaving flavor-rich coffee beans.
Kurt Zosel from Max Pratt Institute came up with the carbon monoxide method to decaffeinate coffee. This process involves pumping a high-pressure liquid carbon dioxide over coffee beans soaked in water. The carbon dioxide eliminates caffeine but not the flavor by acting as a flavor.
The caffeine-rich-liquid carbon monoxide is directed to a chamber where it turns to gas by releasing pressure. Caffeine-rich water is tossed, and the gaseous carbon dioxide is re-used in its liquid form for the next batch of coffee beans. Unfortunately, this decaffeinating method is pricey; hence only big brands can afford to use it.
The oldest method in the book for decaffeination is the direct solvent method. If you find a company that does not name the strategy used to remove caffeine from its beans, know that it used the direct solvent method.
It involves steaming coffee beans for half an hour to open their pores. Afterward, a solvent, such as an ethyl acetate or methylene chloride, is added to the steamed beans for 10 hours to eliminate caffeine.
Then, the caffeine-rich solvent is thrown away, and the company steams the coffee beans another time to eliminate any solvents.
An indirect solvent is almost the same as the direct solvent method. One main difference is that the extracted solvent is used to soak the coffee bean one more time. This helps the flavors and oils to penetrate the coffee beans.
This process is common among many European brands and uses methylene chloride as its solvent. You will find that many people refer to it as the European method.
Another factor that affects how your coffee bean will turn out is their origin. Coffee from different regions does not have the same taste. You will notice a distinction in flavors, notes, aroma, acidity, and other unique factors.
Additionally, if you know the source, you will know if your beans are reputable and high-quality. If your coffee beans do not show an origin, they are probably counterfeit.
Arabica Vs. Robusta
Arabica coffee beans are popular among coffee lovers for their quality aromas and flavor profiles. The Arabica coffee tree has fewer branches and beans than Robusta, which increases the concentration of nutrients in the beans. These beans are packed with flavor and softer notes. Additionally, they have fruit and sugary undertones with a smooth finish and less acidity.
In contrast, people consider Robusta beans as bitter because they have less sugar. Robusta trees have many branches and beans, which means nutrients diffuse in fewer concentrations in each bean. However, they have a higher caffeine content (double that of Arabica) and are very acidic. They do not suit my cup of coffee. But if you are a dark roaster, they are perfect for you.
Type of Roast
You have to know what type of roast you like. You may like a bold and bitter cup of decaf or a medium roasted decaf. Others prefer the light side of decaf, and it is all good. Start by knowing what your taste buds find delicious. Additionally, check if your roast has other blended notes that you may like.
These are the best decaf coffee beans. I have also shared some tips to help you choose decaf coffee beans depending on your needs and preferences. I hope you have a great experience trying out any of them