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Does decaf coffee taste different to normal coffee?


Does decaf coffee taste different to normal coffee?

Posted by Pumphreys Coffee ,13th Nov 2023
Does decaf coffee taste different to normal coffee?

Oftentimes, people will want to cut down on their caffeine intake while still enjoying a cup of coffee. This can be due to many health reasons big and small. Regardless, the main consideration you may have is if the taste that you’ve come to love is going to change when you make the switch.

This blog examines the flavour profile of decaf coffee and how it relates to caffeinated (normal) coffee.

Do decaf coffees taste different?

As with regular coffee, there are many varieties of decaf coffee. These too produce tastes that are influenced by the coffee bean origin, growing conditions, preparing methods, roasting, and brewing.

Decaf coffee is a bit similar to non-alcoholic beer in that it still has a small amount of caffeine (2-3mg). This is because decaf coffee beans go through a process of caffeine removal before they are ground and packaged. The possible types include: 

Solvent method

This is sometimes known as the natural method as it involves soaking the beans in a safe, naturally occurring solvent.The most common example is ethyl acetate, which can be found in apples and pears. How the beans are soaked and rinsed can influence how the flavour of the coffee is affected.

CO2 method

Another process that’s widely used to remove caffeine is through the use of pressurised liquid CO2.This leaves the larger flavour molecules intact while extracting the caffeine. It can be difficult to create the conditions necessary for this method, which means it’s often only conducted by large scale suppliers.

Swiss water method

This method involves using only hot water to dissolve the caffeine from green coffee beans. A flavour charged solution is made by dissolving green coffee solids to make a "Green Coffee Extract". This extract is then decaffienated and re-used to extract caffeine from a new batch of beans. You can learn more about this process from the Swiss Water website.

Does decaf coffee have a different taste to normal coffee?

As mentioned before, this is quite a difficult question to answer due to the wide range of coffees out there and the factors that influence flavour. The decaffeination processes above can all influence the taste of the coffee. Decaf coffee beans can also be at risk of over or under-roasting.In the case of the former, the coffee can come out tasting overly bitter. In the latter, the taste might not be as strong.

Where can I buy decaf coffee?

At Pumphrey’s Coffee, our range of decaffeinated coffees include quality Italian High Roast,Brazilian, Colombian, and Peruvian to name a few. Most of these are treated with Swiss water because our expert roasters recognise it’s the best technique for preserving flavour. Contact us today to place your order for delivery, or pick them up from one of the many shops we supply in the North East and beyond.