The 9 Best Decaf Coffee Picks 

Caffeine. It’s great when you need it, but sometimes it’s just jittery and well undesired. But, does that mean you need to cut out coffee completely?

Nope. Decaffeinated coffees fill the gap when caffeine isn’t required or wanted, all without compromising on flavor. 

In short, the best decaf coffee won’t be stimulating, but it will still retain the complex flavors and brightness (or not) of your favorite regular coffee.

So let’s jump in below and see what’s the best decaf coffee for you! Here’s our top pick in case you’re in a rush:

Top Pick
Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf

Processed via the Swiss Water Process. This medium roast makes a full bodied, bright and balanced brew with fruity notes and a light chocolate finish.

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Alternatives at a glance

Best Ethiopian Decaf
Ethiopian Sidamo Swiss Water Decaf By Fresh Roasted Coffee

99.9% caffeine free via the use of glacial water and no additives. Resulting in a bright, crisp and well balanced brew, with hints of berry.

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Most Premium Choice
100% Kona Private Reserve Decaf - Hawaii Coffee Company

Pure Kona direct from The Big Island, Hawaii. Swiss Water decaffeinated, retaining its brightness while being 99.9% caffeine free.

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Best Blend
Velton Coffee's Three Ravens Blend Decaf

With flavor notes usually reserved for darker roasts combined with fruity undertones, Three Ravens is a complex and rich decaf which makes a great brew anytime of the day!

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Best Served Black
Lion Gold Roast Decaf

Deep and nuanced flavors result in a bright brew. Expect notes of citrus from this light-medium roast.

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Best Sumatran
Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf

Earthy, bold and creamy. Unique having been processed via wet hulling, these beans are fair trade, shade grown and purchased direct from small holdings in Sumatra. Use coupon SIP10 for 10% off too!

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Best Value Dark Roast
2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process - Medium-Dark Roast
$19.99 ($0.62 / Ounce)

Dark, rich and intense but without the usual caffeine kick!

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Best Flavored
Hawaii Coffee Company's Vanilla Macadamia Nut Decaffeinated

Lightly roasted and infused with the flavor of vanilla and macadamia nut, this one needs no introduction if you’ve got a sweet tooth!

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Most Dark
Organic Black Knight Swiss Water Decaf

Decadently dark, with notes of caramel and plantains. If you enjoy your brew super dark, this one deserves a deeper look! Use coupon SIP10 for 10%.

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The 9 Best Decaf Coffees

1. Volcanica Coffee’s Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu

Volcanica prides itself on growing high-quality coffee in various volcanic regions in the world. These particular beans are grown on the Tarrazu mountain range in Costa Rica, exceeding 1200 meters.

Top Pick
Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf

Processed via the Swiss Water Process. This medium roast makes a full bodied, bright and balanced brew with fruity notes and a light chocolate finish.

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The result? Beans that have matured slowly and developed a set of complex flavors.

This decaf coffee reminds me of biting into a crisp and juicy apple whenever I take a sip. The coffee beans are washed during processing, which emphasizes the fruity flavors of the brew. All in all, It’s medium roast profile gives a light cup with a bright finish.

It’s important to note that the coffee is decaffeinated via the Swiss Water process. As a result, these Costa Rican single-origin beans are 100% solvent-free. With 99.9% of the caffeine removed and taste preserved, it makes an excellent brew day or night!

In short, If you’re looking for a cup of decaf coffee that still retains its natural acidity with fruity notes, this is a good call.

2. Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Ethiopian Sidamo Swiss Water Decaf 

Fresh Roasted Coffee steps up to the plate with this brew from Ethiopia. What sets this coffee apart is it uses a unique variation of the swiss water process to make it a decaf. It is called the royal select water method (mountain water process), which uses glacial waters instead.

Best Ethiopian Decaf
Ethiopian Sidamo Swiss Water Decaf By Fresh Roasted Coffee

99.9% caffeine free via the use of glacial water and no additives. Resulting in a bright, crisp and well balanced brew, with hints of berry.

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Ethiopian coffees are known for their full body and crisp acidity. This medium roast decaf from the Sidamo region has notes of berries and oranges with a slight tinge of earthy flavor.

This fruity decaf is also fair trade, so you’ll have the peace of mind that the farmers who grew these coffee beans are compensated fairly. You’ll also be assured your only purchasing high-quality coffee beans because they’re also certified organic.

If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake but enjoy a sweet dark roast coffee, I’d recommend giving this decaf blend a go.

3. Hawaii Coffee Company 100% Kona Decaf Swiss Water Process

Cultivated on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, Kona Coffee is famous for a reason. Hawaii Coffee Company has a rich history stretching back to the 1800s. It’s for good reason, these 100% Kona beans direct from The Big Island don’t disappoint!

Most Premium Choice
100% Kona Private Reserve Decaf - Hawaii Coffee Company

Pure Kona direct from The Big Island, Hawaii. Swiss Water decaffeinated, retaining its brightness while being 99.9% caffeine free.

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The fertile volcanic soil and high altitude combine together to produce a sweet and unique brew with notes of chocolate and citrus.

With the flavors preserved via the Swiss Water Process, these beans are perfectly extracted via a pour-over to savor the acidity and fruity notes.

In short, coffee lovers who want a more exotic cup of coffee without a caffeine kick should take a deeper look at these coffee beans.

4. Velton Coffee’s Three Ravens Blend Decaf

Velton is a Seattle based coffee company, and have been roasting beans since 2007; catering to independent cafes ever since.

Three Ravens is a unique decaf blend, providing all the intricate and full-bodied flavors of Colombian coffee without the caffeine.

Best Blend
Velton Coffee's Three Ravens Blend Decaf

With flavor notes usually reserved for darker roasts combined with fruity undertones, Three Ravens is a complex and rich decaf which makes a great brew anytime of the day!

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This decaf blend uses a combination of the Swiss water method and the use of a natural compound called ethyl acetate to remove it’s caffeine. 

Ethyl acetate is also known as a sweetener, so rest assured that your decaf coffee is still natural.

The medium roast blend is rather unique in that it has a plethora of flavor usually reserved for darker roasts but combined with notes typical of a medium roast – this ranges from exotic fruit, chocolate, and caramel!

If you’re looking for a decaf coffee blend with complex flavors, this medium roast Three Raven’s is worth your hard-earned cash!

5. Hawaii Coffee Company’s Lion Gold Roast Decaf Coffee 

As we noted earlier, Hawaii Coffee Company has been a staple in the state’s coffee industry, and its subsidiary Lion Coffee set the standard way back in 1864.

Best Served Black
Lion Gold Roast Decaf

Deep and nuanced flavors result in a bright brew. Expect notes of citrus from this light-medium roast.

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The light roast gives this decaf a sweet and mellow taste with bright flavors. Its tasting notes are tarty and citrusy, which can be akin to eating key lime pie, yum!

With such nuanced flavors, drinking it as a black coffee is highly recommended as adding sugar and milk will only mask the natural but yummy taste of this decaf blend.

All that acidity and flavor is balanced well with the arabica coffee beans used in this blend. The beans are also decaffeinated using the Swiss water method, and that means the flavor isn’t compromised with this coffee.

If you want a clean and bright experience in your decaf, this is the best coffee for you.

6. fresh Roasted Coffee’s Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf Coffee

Coffees from Sumatra tend to give a unique experience for first-time sippers due to the way its processed. This fair trade decaffeinated coffee from Fresh Roasted Coffee is no exception.

Best Sumatran
Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf

Earthy, bold and creamy. Unique having been processed via wet hulling, these beans are fair trade, shade grown and purchased direct from small holdings in Sumatra. Use coupon SIP10 for 10% off too!

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Indonesia is home to a unique coffee process called wet hulling

The consequence? A reduction in the brightness of the coffee while giving way to more savory and earthy notes in your coffee. The medium roast profile gives this decaf a balanced taste with notes of dark chocolate and earthy tones.

The natural decaffeination lets the flavors in this decaf to live up to its full potential. It is also certified organic and fair trade, so it’s a win-win situation for you and the farmers.

It’s intensity might take some getting used to, but this medium roasted Sumatran is an excellent choice for those who want to experience a unique decaf coffee with a strong body.

If you’re looking for a medium roast decaf coffee that is ethically sourced and natural as they come, this warrants a more in-depth look.

7. Cafe Don Pablo’s Columbian Decaf

Cafe Don Pablo is a family-owned business that is vertically integrated within the supply chain. These beans are Colombian Supremo, which translates as the largest beans in size.

Best Value Dark Roast
2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process - Medium-Dark Roast
$19.99 ($0.62 / Ounce)

Dark, rich and intense but without the usual caffeine kick!

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Usually, this isn’t a signal for quality. But, these are an exception to the rule. Being shade-grown and roasted on demand, you’ll always be getting a fresh batch of coffee beans with superior flavor whenever you buy a bag.

The medium-dark roast tends to lean towards dark chocolate and caramel flavor but with a clean aftertaste. It is also naturally decaffeinated with nothing but water, which means you’ll taste the full flavor from each coffee bean every time you brew!

Unlike larger roasters, Cafe Don Pablo prides itself on a small batch roasting process: 50% science and 50% art. The result? Consistent quality per batch with flavors that ignite your tastebuds.

A cup of coffee from these beans is also low-acid, friendly on the stomach in combination with your wallet. Double win! If you’re looking for the best decaf coffee that’ll give you more bang for your buck, this Colombian brew from Cafe Don Pablo is an excellent choice.

8. Vanilla Macadamia Nut Decaf By Lion

If you want a Hawaiian experience without leaving your home, this flavored coffee from Lion has got you covered.

Best Flavored
Hawaii Coffee Company's Vanilla Macadamia Nut Decaffeinated

Lightly roasted and infused with the flavor of vanilla and macadamia nut, this one needs no introduction if you’ve got a sweet tooth!

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Flavored coffees are a good substitute if you’re the type to add sugar to your brews. It can also give you unique flavors that combine well with the natural flavor of the beans.

This blend is made from 100% Arabica beans, which gives a taste, while the vanilla and macadamia nut flavors are sure to satisfy your dessert cravings. The light roast profile ensures that the coffee’s taste is balanced with the sweetness of the vanilla and macadamia.

For dessert lovers out there who want to satisfy their sweet tooth, this decaf might make you go nuts for it!

9. Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Black Knight Swiss Water Decaf Coffee

I brewed the regular Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Dark Knight recently, and I have to say this decaf dark roast coffee brings the same flavors and textures compared to the caffeine-fuelled version.

Most Dark
Organic Black Knight Swiss Water Decaf

Decadently dark, with notes of caramel and plantains. If you enjoy your brew super dark, this one deserves a deeper look! Use coupon SIP10 for 10%.

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It’s a dark roasted, full-bodied decaf, with notes of caramelized sugar and dark chocolate. The ethically sourced and roasted beans are certified organic and fair trade, so you’ll know this coffee is good for the environment and its growers.

The Best Decaf Bean Buyers Guide

The best decaf coffee I prefer might be different than yours and visa versa. Coffee, in itself, is a preference that differs from person to person. 

A coffee’s variety, origin, process, and roast profile can significantly impact what is the best coffee for you.

Your preference might suddenly change because you might now enjoy a different decaffeination process, or maybe the benefits of a different roasted decaf have gained your interest. 

As a result, the decaf coffee best fitting for you might change with time with adjustments in your preferred taste profile and processing method.

Before we go down and discuss all these factors, I’m going to outline what decaffeinated coffee exactly is quickly.

What is Decaf Coffee?

Let us first get acquainted with caffeine. This natural stimulant has been synonymous with coffee ever since it was first discovered. The

compound naturally occurs in many crops like tea and chocolate, but it is predominantly found in the coffee plant, more specifically the seeds (aka beans).

To put it simply, decaf is made from green coffee beans, which undergo processing to remove most of the caffeine content.

In the US, coffee is considered decaf if 97% or more of the caffeine content has been extracted from the whole bean A typical cup of coffee can have between 115 mg – 175 mg of caffeine while decaf averages around 3 mg of caffeine. Don’t worry about those 3 milligrams because they have little to no effect on your body.

The advantages in drinking Decaffeinated Coffee

There are many reasons for preferring decaf coffee to regular coffee. Want to enjoy a brew late at night? Enjoy the taste of coffee but don’t need the stimulation? These are two reasons I turn to decaf coffee, and it might be the same for you.

One thing to consider is your tolerance for caffeine too. Most people have a standard tolerance for caffeine, which means we can consume around 400 mg a day without any serious adverse side effects.

Others are lucky (or unlucky depending on how you see it) as they are hyposensitive, which accounts for 10% of the population. These types of coffee drinkers can sit back and slam cups and cups of coffee without any adverse effects.

Switching to decaf might appeal most to those who are the opposite – hypersensitive to caffeine. This means consuming even just one cup can have a detrimental effect on their body.

We’ve discussed before that going overboard on caffeine can be detrimental, and increase the need for a higher amount of coffee to yield the same stimulating effect over time. Common side effects of coffee such as insomnia, anxiety, dehydration, and rapid heart rate are attributed to caffeine and can be avoided with decaf.

Coffee’s Loaded With Antioxidants

Another alluring quality with drinking decaf coffee is that it has all the same antioxidants you can get from a regular coffee. 

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and we will be looking at two particular ones that are more concentrated in your cup of Joe.

These compounds are called polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acid.

Polyphenols are compounds found in food crops and are prolific in coffee. These antioxidants offer health benefits such as aiding brain function, lowering blood sugar levels, and protection against certain cancers, heart diseases, and blood clots.

Hydrocinnamic acids have a variety of applications, especially within food. They can preserve aromas in certain foods and be used as a sweetener. These applications can also affect your coffee, as it can aid in yielding a fragrant and sweeter cup. Thankfully, these acids naturally occur in coffee beans and are not lost during the decaf process.

According to other studies, decaf coffee yields similar health benefits with regular coffee. It can still increase your alertness and boost physical performance, which is why many people enjoy coffee as a pre-workout supplement.

Now that we have answered the why in drinking decaf, let’s now examine how decaf coffees are made.

How is caffeine removed from unroasted coffee?

You might have already made your pick of the best decaf coffee for you, and you’re now wondering how they make your coffee caffeine-free?

Well, the coffee beans undergo various processes to remove caffeine. Some methods use chemicals while others don’t, but you’ll notice this results in price variations. These methods might help in your decision to pick the best decaf coffee for you.

On a related note, a coffee variety called Coffea Charrieriana was recently discovered in 2008. This variety is caffeine-free, and it grows in Central Africa. A natural decaf coffee seems appealing doesn’t it? But further research is still necessary for it to be a viable crop for the coffee industry.

For now, we would have to go with the tried and tested methods of caffeine removal. The three listed below are the most popular ways to remove caffeine from your coffee beans. There are other specialized methods as well, which we discussed below in summary and in-depth via our article discussing coffee decaffeination.

Swiss Water Method

Most coffee lovers think of decaf as a paler version of their go-to drink when it comes to flavor. That quality is more prominent in solvent-based decaffeinated coffee beans. Don’t worry, there is another method which helps decaf coffee retain more of its original flavor!

This process is called the Swiss Water method. It utilizes the process of osmosis to extract caffeine using a solvent-free solution.

To start the cycle of this method, they need to create green coffee extract (GCE) first. They first start off by soaking green coffee beans in hot water. This dissolves the caffeine as well as the sugars and acids in the coffee. The coffee solution is then passed through charcoal filters, which removes the caffeine while leaving the other elements intact.

Fresh green coffee beans are now added into a mixture of water and the GCE. The caffeine molecules from the green beans are now dissolved in the GCE while leaving the other coffee compounds in the green bean intact. The GCE goes through the charcoal filters once again. The process is repeated until they are satisfied 99.9% of the caffeine content of the coffee beans has been removed.

Decaf made with this method preserves the most flavor out of the three most popular methods. A lot of specialty coffee roasters prefer this method in decaffeinating their beans.

This method is also 100% chemical-free, which is viable for organically certified coffees. Most decaf coffees that use this method are more expensive than other decafs that use different processes.

Direct Addition of a Solvent

This coffee beans decaf process was the first commercially successful way of caffeine removal. 

It was first discovered by Ludwig Roselius, a German merchant who had observed that seawater drenched coffee lost most of its caffeine while still remaining flavorful. He later found a coffee company called Kaffee HAG and first used benzene to remove the caffeine until it was discovered to be a carcinogen.

As time went on, scientists discovered safer chemicals which served the same purpose. The most common ones in use today are called methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, and either compound used for safe caffeine removal. 

Methylene chloride is an essential compound in paint strippers, while ethyl acetate is naturally produced in fruits. These chemicals might sound scary at first, but don’t worry, strict regulations from the FDA ensures that these chemicals are removed before the beans are roasted.

The green beans are first steamed then soaked in the solvent. This process extracts the caffeine from the beans, which is then combined with the solvent. The beans are rinsed with water and then dried, ready to be roasted.

The used solvent is then filtered out to remove the caffeine and other byproducts so they can reuse the solution for a new batch of decaf coffee.

Indirect Addition of a Solvent

This process also uses the two solvents we mentioned above. The difference is, these chemicals never directly touch the coffee beans. This method was first mentioned in 1941, and significant steps have been taken for this process to use more natural compounds in decaffeination.

This time the coffee beans are steeped in hot water and heated to near boiling point. The heat treatment opens up the whole bean, which allows the solutes in your coffee to be released more efficiently. The beans are then removed from the hot coffee water, and a solvent is added to extract the caffeine from the water.

The solution is then heated to remove the solvent, which evaporates at a lower temperature than water.

The remaining solution is added to the beans to reconstitute the coffee’s flavors, which would be lost otherwise. The process is executed multiple times until the beans recover their flavor, and the caffeine content is nearly non-existent.

The Final Verdict

The pick for the best decaf coffee is Volcanica’s Costa Rica Tarrazu beans! 

Top Pick
Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf

Processed via the Swiss Water Process. This medium roast makes a full bodied, bright and balanced brew with fruity notes and a light chocolate finish.

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It is a must-try for those who love citrus-like flavors without a caffeine boost. Its fruity notes and bright aftertaste will make you salivate for more. The Swiss water process ensures the beans retain their flavors during caffeine removal, and It’s medium roast profile is perfect for manual brewing.

If you’re looking for the best decaf that leans toward a more delicate cup, Hawaii Coffee Comapny’s Decaf Swiss Water Kona Coffee is a worthy alternative. 

Most Premium Choice
100% Kona Private Reserve Decaf - Hawaii Coffee Company

Pure Kona direct from The Big Island, Hawaii. Swiss Water decaffeinated, retaining its brightness while being 99.9% caffeine free.

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Kona’s wide range of flavors and medium body lives up to its reputation and premium pricing. It is best appreciated as a black coffee to discover the nuances in each sip from it’s medium roast profile.

Whichever you’ll choose in our selection, don’t be afraid to go out and drink other decaf coffee beans. You might find a new favorite or two if you keep trying out different coffees. 

Until then, stay caffeinated folks!

Philip Daniel Felongco

Philip Felongco

Ex-Barista and now coffee writer

A life long coffee drinker, Philip has been looking for new ways to enjoy coffee since he started in the coffee industry in 2017. His favorite coffee is a light roast Rwandan single origin. If he’s not binging on food shows or trying out new coffee recipes, you can catch him here at Sip Coffee!