Coffee is undoubtedly one of the most popular drinks in the world, and millions of people are turning to this caffeinated drink to keep them going all day or all night. There are many reasons people drink coffee — some people love the caffeine buzz, while some simply enjoy the strong taste and aroma.
However, not everyone likes caffeine, which can cause anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and other adverse side effects. Is there any coffee without caffeine, you may ask? The coffee with the least caffeine content is decaffeinated coffee, which is at least 97% caffeine-free.
What Is Decaf Coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee, commonly known as decaf coffee, is similar to regular coffee but has most of its caffeine removed. There are three different decaffeination methods — solvent decaffeination, carbon dioxide decaffeination, and water decaffeination.
The solvent decaffeination method uses a solvent, typically methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. On the other hand, the carbon dioxide decaffeination method uses carbon dioxide as a solvent to remove caffeine. Lastly, the water decaffeination method uses water and a carbon filter to remove caffeine, which makes it free from chemicals.
Although each method removes similar amounts of caffeine, the coffee they produce has a slightly different taste. You may also be interested in reading our guide on the decaffeination process.
How Much Caffeine Is In Decaf Coffee?
On average, an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee contains about 7 mg of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of regular coffee contains about 70 to 140 mg of caffeine.
Instant decaf coffee is the best option to consume as little caffeine as possible. In addition, you should opt for the more expensive Arabica decaf coffees as they may contain about half the caffeine content of cheaper decaf coffees.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how much caffeine does decaf coffee have.
7 Factors That Influence Caffeine Content
1. Type Of Coffee Bean
One of the main factors that affect coffee’s caffeine content is the coffee plant species.
The genus Coffea consists of about 100 species, but only two species – Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee) and Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee) are cultivated commercially to produce coffee.
Robusta coffee beans contain about twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee beans. This means that the coffee made from 100% Robusta coffee beans will have a higher caffeine content than the coffee made from 100% Arabica coffee beans.
There is a slight difference in caffeine levels between different varietals even within these two species. In addition, even the amount of caffeine in the beans of two identical plants growing next to one another can vary.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on what are the main types of coffee beans.
2. Grind Size
The grind size will also affect the coffee since it exposes the flavors and aromatics locked inside the coffee beans. The finer the grind, the more surface area of the coffee bean is exposed to the water, which allows more caffeine to be extracted.
Always make sure you grind your coffee beans to a size ideal for your brewing equipment to prevent under-extraction and over-extraction.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on coffee grinder coarse vs fine.
3. Type Of Roast
Did you also think the darker the roast, the stronger the caffeine buzz? Well, that is a common misconception about coffee! During the roasting process, the caffeine content of coffee remains constant.
The longer the roasting time, the less dense the coffee bean will be since the coffee expands during the roasting process and loses water weight. One scoop of dark coffee grounds actually contains more coffee than a scoop of light coffee grounds.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how to make different coffee roasts at home.
4. Brewing Method
There are different coffee brewing methods — and with each brewing method, variables such as the water-to-coffee ratio can also affect the caffeine content of your cup of joe.
If you do not want to consider which brewing method is ideal for your preferred caffeine content, we recommend buying the Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine. Whether you like a stronger cup today or a weaker one tomorrow, this fully automatic coffee machine will allow you to have countless options to customize your cup of coffee!
You may also be interested in reading our guide on different ways to make coffee at home.
- Black, EP3221/44
- Enjoy 4 coffees at your fingertips, makes espresso, hot water, coffee, Americano, Espresso Lungo
- Intuitive touch display, frequency: 60 hertz
- Adjust aroma strength and quantity
- 12-step grinder adjustment
5. Brewing Time
Different brewing methods will also require different brewing times. Longer brewing times allow more caffeine to be extracted. So, brewing methods that allow coffee to be in contact with water for longer typically make coffee with higher caffeine content.
All things being equal, the longer the brewing time, the higher the caffeine content of the final coffee. However, it is believed that 90% of the caffeine is extracted in the first minute of brewing. So, brewing your coffee for longer will only extract small amounts of caffeine, and you may end up ruining the flavor of your drink.
The temperature at which you brew your coffee may also affect the amount of caffeine extracted — the higher the temperature, the higher the caffeine content. This is also why cold brew coffee has a lower caffeine content than hot brew coffee.
However, the problem with higher temperatures is that other bitter flavor compounds are extracted, which ruins the flavor of your drink.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on what is the best temperature to brew coffee.
7. Amount Of Coffee
As you may already know, the amount of ground coffee that you use can greatly affect the overall caffeine content of your cup of coffee. So, the more ground coffee you use, the more caffeine it will contain.
Check out our bulletproof coffee alternatives.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on how many beans are in a cup of coffee.
5 Best Caffeine-Free Coffee Alternatives
1. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is a wonderful caffeine-free coffee alternative with dozens of options, so there’s something for everyone. For this, we highly recommend the Traditional Medicinals herbal tea brand — it comes in a wide variety of herbal teas that are not only delicious but also offer many health benefits!
- Organic Relaxation & Sleep Herbal Tea Variety Pack
- Six Favorite Teas to Soothe Your Nervous System and Promote Healthy Sleep
- 96 Tea Bags Total,16 Count
- USDA Certified Organic
- Certified B Corp
- Compostable Tea Bags
2. Dandy Blend
Dandy Blend is a gluten-free and caffeine-free coffee alternative made from four ingredients — roasted barley extracts, roasted chicory root extracts, roasted dandelion root extracts, and roasted rye extracts. Not only does it come in a powder that can be prepared just like an instant decaf coffee, but it also tastes like one! So, if you miss the taste of coffee, the Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage with Dandelion is a great alternative.
- 100 Cup Bag.
- 7.05 oz. (200g) bag.
- Made from the water soluble extracts of barley, rye, chicory roots, beet roots, and dandelion roots.
- Has the consistency of instant coffee.
- Used as a coffee substitute or complete replacement for coffee.
3. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is another great caffeine-free coffee alternative. It is a type of herbal tea made from fermenting the leaves of a particular shrub that turns them into a reddish color. Unlike green or black tea, rooibos tea does not contain caffeine.
4. Golden Milk
Golden milk is a turmeric latte that can also be a great alternative to coffee if you are looking for a caffeine-free option with many health benefits! Turmeric contains curcumin, a beneficial plant component that can help the body combat free radicals that cause oxidative damage in the body. It is also what gives turmeric its yellow color.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on what is turmeric tea.
5. Herbal Chai
Chai tea is usually made from black tea combined with other spices. On the other hand, herbal chai contains all of the spices you can find in chai tea, without the black tea.
You can try making your own herbal chai at home by combining astragalus, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and ginger. You can also try adding non-dairy milk to your recipe for a delicious herbal chai latte!
You may also be interested in reading our guide on does chai latte have caffeine.