There is just something so relaxing and comforting about sipping a cup of coffee. For many people, it’s the first beverage of the day, giving them something enjoyable to look forward to each morning. But just because you love the taste of coffee doesn’t mean you’re always in the mood for caffeine. What if you would like a warm beverage in the evening, close to bedtime, and you are looking for a way to wind down? Drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee hardly sounds like a good idea in that instance. This is exactly why you may want to start dipping your toes into decaf coffee beans.
Decaf coffee beans can off just as much flavor as their counterpart, as there doesn’t need to be a sacrifice in quality simply because you don’t want caffeine. This best decaf coffee beans review will help you to figure what to look for when shopping, what to expect, how to prepare a decaf, and make sure you get everything you can out of this delicious beverage.
Is Decaf Truly Caffeine Free?
When you drink a cup of decaf coffee, you expect it to be free of caffeine – after all, that's why you're choosing it. So, you may be surprised to learn that there is still a small amount of caffeine in decaf coffee.
In the United States, decaf is regulated so that it can't contain more than 0.10% caffeine (in the package dry). So that is a substantial amount of the caffeine removed, but not all of it. Taking a look at the math, this means your typical cup of decaf coffee would then contain about 5.4 mg of caffeine. You would need to drink 5-10 cups of decaf coffee to reach the same amount of caffeine that you'd find in 1-2 cups of coffee. Unless you are sensitive to caffeine and drinking copious amounts throughout the day, likely, you won’t notice it in the decaf.
Why Drink Decaf – What are the Pros?
If decaf isn’t truly caffeine-free, you may be wondering what the advantages are to choosing this type of coffee? There is a number, so here are some of the most common.
- While it has caffeine in it still, it is such a small amount that it should have little it no effect on you. This means you can drink more cups of coffee without worrying about a caffeine overload.
- Caffeine-free can be a great evening beverage since it won’t keep you awake
- You still get the same antioxidant benefits as regular coffee
- If you have a sensitive stomach, decaf coffee can be gentler since it contains less acid
- Some people need to avoid caffeine for medical reasons, so this can be a good compromise
How to Buy the Best Decaffeinated Coffee Beans – What to Look For
If you're convinced decaf coffee is worth trying, then you want to be sure you find the best-decaffeinated coffee possible, so you can have the most enjoyable cup of coffee possible. You can purchase instant decaf coffee, but you can’t expect to get the same level of flavor that whole coffee beans can offer. Instant coffee is meant to be a fast alternative, but with today’s technology, there is no reason you can’t brew a fresh cup of coffee using beans/grinds, even in a hurry.
The best decaf coffee beans will be something that changes from person to person as it comes down to your expectations, preferences, and taste buds. There are some simple rules to follow when buying coffee beans and they include:
- Look for freshly roasted beans
- Beans that are too dark in color should be avoided, as they have been over-roasted and the flavor won’t be ideal
- You can sample different levels of boldness (light, medium, and dark roast)
- Some coffee beans have flavor imparted in them, so you can get that coffee shop flavored beverage experience at home
- Don’t be afraid to smell the beans, as the aroma can help shed light on how fresh and good they are
Shop for quality brands like Lavazza decaf coffee beans; read a Lavazza decaf review to see if the flavor notes appeal to your taste buds.
How to Properly Grind Coffee Beans
While you can certainly purchase coffee beans that have already been ground if you want the freshest flavor possible, it is best to purchase whole beans. Ideally, you want to look for beans that were roasted/packaged within the last couple of weeks. You can look at the packaging to find this information.
A common mistake that people make is that they take that whole bag of coffee beans they just purchased and they grind it all up at once. The problem with this technique is that the grinds start to lose their flavor immediately. Experts always suggest that you only grind as much as you will use in the next day or two. This means grinding very small quantities at once.
If you’re going to be grinding your coffee often, you need to have a grinder that is easy and fast to operate and clean. These are other factors worth noting:
- The price of the machine can vary greatly
- If you can adjust the size of the grind
- What kind of blade or burr the grinder has (blade grinders are cheaper and usually perfect for home use)
- How much the grinder can do at once, i.e. the capacity
- How precise the grinds are
If you plan on storing the grinder somewhere convenient like your countertop, the size of the grinder will also likely matter.
How to Properly Store Coffee Beans
Once you grind the beans it’s important to be aware of proper storage techniques. Storing the grinds properly means you’ll preserve the flavor and freshness for as long as possible. Grinds should always be stored in a dark, airtight container (not allowing the sunlight in), and placed in a spot that is cool but not cold (not the fridge), doesn’t have high humidity, and doesn’t get direct sunlight.
Again, it goes back to the fact that you shouldn’t be grinding huge quantities at once, so this will help where freshness is concerned.
If you are storing the whole coffee beans, you can use all the same tips.
How to Prepare Decaf Coffee – Drinking It Warm
Drinking a warm coffee is probably the most popular choice and you’ve got options here. You can enjoy the best decaf filter coffee in an automatic coffee machine. This allows you to brew an entire pot at once, which is perfect for households with more than one coffee drinker. Today's single-serve brewers (the k-cup style) also feature a removable filter attachment, so you can quickly brew a single cup using fresh coffee grinds.
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and you like the more traditional route, then you can use a French press with the grinds.
How to Prepare Decaf Coffee – Drinking It Cold
A warm coffee can certainly hit the spot, but sometimes you feel like a cold beverage. If that’s the case, you need the best decaf coffee for cold brew. The freshness and flavor of the coffee bean will be just as important in the cold brew as it is for hot coffee, so if don’t skimp on quality. You can use the same beans you have purchased for your hot coffees, making it easy for you.
To keep things really simple, this is the basic way to make a cold brew. Once you master the basic recipe, you can start to get a bit more creative adding flavor, toppings, and so forth.
4 cups water
1 cup whole coffee beans
- Start by grinding the coffee beans, make sure you choose a coarse grind.
- Pour the grinds into a container, and then pour the water right on top.
- Give the mixture a good stir so all the grinds are fully submerged.
- Cover the container and let it steep in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Strain the mixture using a flour sack cloth or cheesecloth. All grinds should be removed.
- Store the cold brew in an airtight sealable container in the fridge and drink within a couple of days.
You can use regular or flavored coffee beans for this recipe, whatever suits you. Some of the toppings or mix-ins you can add to cold brew include:
- Regular or flavored coffee cream
- Whipped cream on top
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Chocolate shavings
- Caramel or butterscotch sauce
- Chocolate syrup
You can go all out, choosing anything that calls to you. This is also a fun and fancy-looking beverage to serve guests during the warm months. It’s unexpected and they will feel like they are at a luxe coffee shop.
Decaf Coffee Could be Your New Favorite Beverage
Using all of this information and advice you’ll be able to wade into the waters of decaf coffee, purchase high-quality tasty coffee beans, grind them with ease and then make a fresh cup of hot or cold brew at home. Decaf coffee may just become your new favorite beverage to enjoy year-round and any time of the day or night.