Can You Get Addicted To Decaf Coffee?

The simple answer to “Can you get addicted to decaf coffee?” is “Yes,” but not in the same way you may become addicted to chemicals, drugs, and alcohol.

Can you get addicted to decaf coffee?
Decaf coffee was believed to be 100% caffeine-free

Over the years, the idea began that decaf coffee was 100% caffeine-free, and therefore no one could develop caffeine addiction by drinking it. A myth evolved that decaf coffee was less tasty, harmless, and provided no adverse effects or benefits because of the lack of caffeine. Nothing is further from the truth.

How Decaf Coffee Evolved

How much caffeine does decaf coffee have - Featured
Processes of decaffeinating coffee evolved over the years

If you’re wondering how do they make decaf coffee, here are the cliff notes:

In 1819, Johann Von Goethe hired chemist Friedlieb Runge to determine why coffee kept him awake at night. This led to the discovery of caffeine in coffee two years later, but it took nearly another 100 years for scientists to remove caffeine from the drink and retain the taste of caffeinated coffee.

In 1905, Ludwig Roselius from Germany produced the first commercialized decaf coffee by soaking the beans in seawater. The process removed the caffeine but left a salty taste. Then, he used benzene, a paint stripper, to extract the caffeine, resulting in the first instant decaf coffee: Sanka.

Then, in 1970, another German scientist, Kurt Zosel, patented a different method using carbon dioxide, which is still used more than five decades later. One other method developed in the 1970s called the Swiss Water Process involved soaking green coffee beans in water then filtering out the caffeine with carbon. These processes are still used today.

The Future Of Decaf Coffee

People drinking
Chemical-free alternatives drove people to decaf coffee

The future of decaf coffee is looking quite fantastic. With the rise of plant-based and chemical-free alternatives and diets, health-conscious consumers turn to decaf coffee in droves.

According to Intrado Globe Newswire, the decaf coffee market is estimated to be worth at least $21.5 billion by 2025. Studies show that the undesirable effects of caffeine are a particular concern for millennials. Changes in health awareness such as the effects of caffeine on blood pressure, anxiety, addiction, and other problems may also contribute to the surge.

Therefore, the future of decaf coffee may depend on the following addiction traits, benefits, downsides, and how non-caffeine drinkers respond. It comes down to three crucial aspects:

You Can Get Addicted To Decaf Coffee

You can get addicted to decaf coffee, but not in the sense of how other addictions are defined. It is true that the myth stating, “Decaf is 100% caffeine-free,” is debunked.

It does contain a lower caffeine content than regular coffee, which contains 80-100 milligrams, and the addiction is more of dependence without negative connotations. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The amount of caffeine in decaf coffee, about two milligrams, is the same or less than the content in chocolate syrup, over-the-counter pain relievers, diet pills, herbal supplements, and cold medications. 
  • Decaf coffee is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system and does create a mild physical dependence.
  • The dependence on decaf coffee is not an addiction that wreaks havoc on your social, physical, or economic conditions like chemical, drug, or alcohol addiction.

So, “Can you get addicted to decaf coffee?” Yes. However, it is a mild dependence, and it is only fair to weigh the benefits with the facts.

The Benefits Of Decaf Coffee

Decaf coffee offers numerous benefits that should be considered when factoring in whether it is addictive. A few of the benefits of decaf include:

  • Boosts your mood
  • Energizes physical and mental functions
  • Increases concentration and attention to detail
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by 25-45%
  • Decreases the chances of liver cancer by nearly 40%

To balance the facts, you also need to think about the downsides and how they might influence the perception of decaf coffee addiction. Your health situation should also be regarded.

The Downsides Of Decaf Coffee

Of course, caffeine consumption has its downsides. Decaf coffee is not excluded. The chemical may contribute to serious adverse health reactions. Avoid caffeine, even decaf, if you experience any of the following:

  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Migraines
  • Caffeine-induced stomachache
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Sleeping disorder

Lastly, you should consult with your doctor, especially if you have sensitive health conditions, to determine if drinking decaf coffee is a good choice for you.

Can You Get Addicted To Decaf Coffee? FAQs

How Do You Get Addicted To Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee contains caffeine, although in small amounts. Caffeine is a stimulant to your central nervous system, and therefore, regular consumption may create a mild dependency or addiction.

Is The Caffeine Content In Decaf Coffee Enough To Energize Me?

On average, an eight oz. cup of decaf coffee contains about two milligrams of caffeine. For some people, it is enough to increase energy levels.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.