- 1 Top 7 Best Decaf Coffee Compared
- 1.1 #1 SF Bay Coffee Decaf French Roast – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast – Best Organic Coffee
- 1.4 #4 Maud’s Decaf Coffee – Best Value
- 1.5 #5 AmazonFresh Decaf K Cups – Best Budget K Cups
- 1.6 #6 Tully’s Coffee French Roast Decaf – Best Flavored K Cup
- 1.7 #7 Peet’s Coffee Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend – Best Budget Ground Bean
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Decaf Coffee Buying Guide
To help you get the best decaf coffee, we tried out dozens of different brands, testing them for taste, bean source and value. Additionally, we selected a nice mix of products for those with traditional coffee makers or those with Keurig style machines, which use pods. Finally, we favored coffees that boasted biodegradable packaging, ones that were fairtrade certified and, on occasion, kosher.
The best of the bunch was easily the SF Bay Coffee DECAF French Roast, which is a decent value, coming with 80 K cup style pods at a relatively low price, and boasting a mellow and pleasing French roast flavor. The product’s packaging is also biodegradable, which is nice, and the beans are sourced from Central and South America. Keep reading to learn more about the SF Bay Coffee DECAF French Roast and the other brands on this list. Also, check out our best coffee maker list to find the best pour over brewers to get the most from your beans.
Top 7 Best Decaf Coffee Compared
#1 SF Bay Coffee Decaf French Roast – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: Comes with 80 K cup style pods for a relatively low price and the dark roast coffee features a pleasing aroma and taste, with the packaging being fully biodegradable and compostable. This is just a fantastic product for those of you with Keurig style machines.
SF Bay Coffee DECAF French Roast is a fantastic tasting coffee, with a bold aroma and full-bodied flavor. You get 80 cups for a relatively low price, making it a good value, and the packaging is completely biodegradable and compostable. The product features 100 percent arabica beans, which are sourced from Central and South America. Although this coffee is not branded as low acidity, it has significantly less acidity than many other coffees on the market.
Though the company does seem to be committed to fair farming practices, the product is not fair trade certified, nor is it kosher. Additionally, this is a K cup style product, so it is not appropriate for traditional coffee makers. If you are still looking for a machine, read about the Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker: Pour Yourself a Fresh Cup With Our Top 3.
#2 Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: Whole bean product, medium roasted, with a fantastic, mellow taste, made from a unique blend of Kosher-certified arabica beans. This is a stellar whole bean coffee that is perfect for most traditional style coffee makers.
Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee is just a great tasting blend of medium-roasted arabica beans, with a rich aroma and a mellow flavor that is perfect for the breakfast table. The 24 ounce package arrived tightly sealed and the product was extremely fresh. It is kosher certified and made in America, with a unique blend of beans that are sourced from a variety of countries.
This is a quality product and, as such, the price is on the higher side. The bag is also filled with whole beans, meaning it requires a coffee grinder for use. Additionally, the product is not fair trade certified. Still prefer whole bean? Check out the best whole bean coffee.
#3 Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast – Best Organic CoffeeWHY WE LIKE IT: Organic whole bean coffee that boasts a mellow, chocolatey taste. The product is fair trade certified and kosher, easily making it the best organic coffee we came across.
Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast is a stellar organic decaf whole bean product, boasting a mellow, milk chocolate and hazelnut flavor that could have come straight from a high-end coffee shop. The product is not only organic, but also fairtrade certified and kosher, checking off many boxes that modern consumers look for in a coffee. The dark roast beans are processed using the Swiss water method, adding to the prestige of this brand.
This coffee shined with nearly every brewing method we threw at it, including French press, drip machine, pour over and cold brew, though it cannot be used in a K cup style machine. Additionally, this is a whole bean product, so you are going to need a grinder. If you like to grind it yourself, have a look at the Best Coffee Maker With Grinder.
#4 Maud’s Decaf Coffee – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: Package comes with a 100 K cup style recyclable pods, at a relatively low price, and is available in several decaf flavors, each of which are tasty. This is a great product for those looking to stock up on K cup style pods.
Maud’s Decaf Coffee is a great value, coming in a large pack of 100 K cup style pods at a relatively low price point. The coffee is available in several decaf flavors, including dark roast and medium roast, and the taste is on point. The product is fair trade certified and bagged at the company’s San Diego facility, with the arabica beans sourced from a variety of locations.
Due to the single serve nature of this product, it cannot be used in traditional coffee makers. Additionally, we had a minor issue where a pod exploded while inside the Keurig machine. It made me long for the best pour over coffee maker.
#5 AmazonFresh Decaf K Cups – Best Budget K CupsWHY WE LIKE IT: Package comes with 80 K cup style pods at an extremely low price point, with the beans being roasted in the USA, and the product comes with a one year satisfaction guarantee. This is just a fantastic way to get a bunch of K cups on the cheap.
AmazonFresh Decaf K Cups are a fantastic value, shipping with 80 pods at a very attractive price point. The coffee is roasted and manufactured in the USA, with the arabica beans sourced from a variety of locations throughout the world. The product also comes with a one year satisfaction guarantee, meaning they’ll refund you, no questions asked, if you are unhappy with the purchase.
The flavor of the coffee was serviceable, though slightly weak compared to some of the other products on this list. Additionally, this coffee is not kosher, organic or fair trade certified.
#6 Tully’s Coffee French Roast Decaf – Best Flavored K CupWHY WE LIKE IT: Boasts a delicious flavor, with hints of smoke and a delicate aroma, and each pod contains more coffee than usual, adding to the product’s boldness. This is a great decaf blend for those with refined palates.
Tully’s Coffee French Roast Decaf is a great tasting coffee product, featuring a dark roast with a chocolatey flavor and a bold aroma. Each of the 96 pods contained in the pack also have more coffee than what is typically found in a K cup style pod. The product is certified to be kosher and features 100 percent arabica beans, sourced from a variety of locations.
The delicious taste does come at a price, however, as this product features a higher price point compared to similar coffees on this list. Though it is kosher, it is not organic and the pods are not recyclable or compostable.
#7 Peet’s Coffee Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend – Best Budget Ground BeanWHY WE LIKE IT: Large 10.5 ounce bag of ground coffee at a lower than average price point, featuring an extremely fresh, great tasting product. This is a great bargain for those looking for ground beans.
Peet’s Coffee Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend is a great tasting product, boasting a rich full-bodied flavor and a bold aroma. The bag is also 10.5 ounces, with a low price point, making it a great choice for those on a fixed coffee budget. The beans are pre-ground, so you won’t need to bust out the coffee grinder, and the product is sourced from a variety of locations throughout the world.
Though the company says the beans are responsibly sourced, the product is not fair trade certified, nor is it kosher or organic. Additionally, this is a pre-ground coffee, so it cannot be used in a Keurig style machine.
How We Decided
To help narrow down to the above list, we tried out dozens of decaf coffee brands, looking for high quality products that deliver on flavor, despite not being caffeinated. We tended to favor products that featured arabica coffee beans that were responsibly sourced from a variety of locations throughout the world.
We also picked coffees that fit a wide array of dietary restrictions, including kosher and organic products. Additionally, we looked for brands that were fair trade certified and, in the case of K cup style pods, both recyclable and compostable.
Finally, we populated the above list with a nice mix of coffee pods, intended for use in a Keurig style machine, and beans that use more traditional methods of brewing. On that note, we made sure to include both whole bean coffees and pre-ground products, just in case you don’t have access to a coffee grinder.
Other popular choices worth checking out include Volcanica Coffee Decaf Roast Blend, Cafe Don Pablo Decaf Gourmet Coffee, Sumatra Organic Fresh Roasted Decaf Coffee, Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf, and No Fun Jo Organic Decaf Coffee.
Decaf Coffee Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- K Cups and Whole Beans
The type of coffee you’ll need changes depending on what method of coffee preparation you prefer. There are Keurig style single serve devices, which demand the use of specially made pods, or K cups. There are also whole beans, which will need to be ground via a coffee grinder, and pre-ground beans. On average, whole beans offer a better flavor profile, though results will vary.
- Fair Trade Certified, Organic and Kosher
Many coffee brands use organic beans nowadays, which are not sprayed with pesticides as they grow. Additional brands are fair trade certified, meaning the beans were purchased in developing countries and fair prices were paid to the growers. When a bean is said to be kosher, it means that the product was manufactured using the requirements of Jewish law. In the case of coffee, as long as the product contains just water and beans, it is usually said to be kosher. It loses this status if it includes added preservatives and flavorings.
- Taste and Aroma
Just like their caffeinated counterparts, decaf blends live and die by their taste and the uniquely pungent aroma that coffee provides. If you are a connoisseur, just go with the level of roasting that you are used to with regular coffee. Many of the products on our list provide great depth of flavor, with warm, chocolately notes and bold aromas.
Decaf Coffee FAQs
How is coffee decaffeinated?
Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, so the beans must be decaffeinated as part of the preparation process. There are several ways to do this, including steaming the beans in a prepared brine, using a chemical solvent like methylene chloride and soaking the beans in near boiling water. All coffee beans are decaffeinated prior to roasting.
Is decaf coffee 100 percent free of caffeine?
Not necessarily. In order for the USDA to recognize a coffee product as being decaf, it needs to be 97 percent caffeine free. That means that an average 12 ounce cup of decaffeinated coffee, which originally might have been packed with 180 mg of caffeine per cup of coffee, now only would contain 5.4 mg of caffeine.
Is decaf coffee a laxative?
Despite the lack of caffeine, decaf coffee still acts as something of a laxative, calling scientists to question what properties visible in coffee promote this effect. People used to believe coffee acted as a laxative due to just the caffeine, but now scientists have begun to question this wisdom.
What is Swiss Water Processing?
The Swiss Water Process or SWP is a non-solvent method for decaffeinating unroasted coffee beans.
What does Water Processed mean?
Lots of people drink decaffeinated coffee for a variety of reasons. But, did you know their decaffeination methods vary between products? More decaf options than you would expect use chemical solvents such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to strip caffeine molecules from the green coffee bean. For instance, in the carbon dioxide decaffeination process, green coffee beans are soaked in highly compressed CO2, which extracts the caffeine. Water Decaffeination, however, uses hot water from the mountains to gently remove the caffeine until the coffee beans are 99.9% caffeine-free, while maintaining the bean’s distinctive origin and flavor characteristics.
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