What Does Decaffeinated Coffee Mean?

‘Decaffeinated coffee’ is a type of coffee that goes through the decaffeination process. Also, colloquially known as ‘Decaf Coffee’. The decaffeination coffee process removes caffeine from coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa, or any other material which contains caffeine. But the process does not remove all the caffeine.

If you are a coffee lover, but as per the doctor’s suggestion, having much caffeine is not good for you, then decaf coffee is an excellent solution. Decaf coffee contains a very small amount of caffeine in it. The amount of caffeine in decaf coffee is 1-2% compared to the original caffeine. The amount can be up to 20% based on requirements.

decaf coffee meaning

As per requirement from the United States, the amount of caffeine in decaffeinated beans should be a maximum of 3% of the original amount. The amount varies from country to country.

In 1820, A German chemist, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge isolated pure caffeine from the coffee bean. But he did not try out the isolation commercially.

First, a commercially successful decaffeination process was performed in 1903. German merchant Ludwig Roselius and his co-workers completed the process. They later patented it in 1906.

Earlier, decaf coffee was sold by the name of “Kaffee HAG” and they still do so but under a different company. The decaffeination process extracts caffeine from green beans. But strength or flavor stays intact. There are several methods to perform the process.

Decaffeinated Coffee A.K.A Decaf Coffee

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world. But for personal preferences or health reasons, sometimes folks have to limit their caffeine intake, i.e., limit their coffee consumption. For those people who’re in that dilemma, decaf coffee has been an excellent alternative. It’s just like regular coffee, except the caffeine amount has been significantly reduced.

At least 97% of caffeine is removed from the coffee beans to make them decaf. So, decaf is not fully caffeine free. There are multiple ways of decaffeinating. Decaf processes involving water, organic solvents, or carbon dioxide are more prevalent. A popular decaf process involves carbon dioxide or a charcoal filter known as the Swiss Water Process.

The nutritional value of decaf coffee is almost equal to that of regular coffee. Except for the caffeine content only. But the taste and smell may become a little milder. The color may also change.

Each 180 ml (6 oz.) serving of decaf coffee contains 3–7 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, regular coffee contains about 70–140 mg of caffeine in 180 ml of coffee.

what does decaffeinated coffee mean

Advantages of Decaf Coffee

Decaf coffee is more pleasing to those who have sensitivity to the bitterness and the regular smell of coffee.

Decaf coffee lets you escape the negative side effects of regular caffeine content. People who suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure, restlessness, heart palpitations, and anxiety find that decaf is their solution.

Caffeine causes health problems through its stimulant, diuretic, and acidic properties—causing heartburn and bowel problems. Decaf coffee lessens those caffeine effects but still incorporates coffee into your day.

Caffeine gives restlessness and nervousness (colloquially known as “jitters”). For those who experience jitters, switching to decaf is one of the ideal solutions.

The Drawbacks Of Decaf Coffee

Some decaf coffee preparations involve methyl chloride. It’s a chemical found in paint strippers, and high exposure to this chemical can cause severe neurological effects.

Small amounts of this chemical are safe, but if you care to avoid it altogether, just make sure to check the labels of the decaf coffee before you buy it.

Multiple medical studies support the fact that decaf coffee increases cholesterol levels in humans. So, if you experience cholesterol problems, talk to your doctor and stop drinking decaf coffee.

Some of the beneficial effects of regular caffeinated coffee are absent in decaf. Abilities such as improving mood, reaction time, memory, mental function, metabolic rate, athletic performance, and reducing the risk of mild depression are absent in decaf coffee.

Decaf Coffee Is Ideal For…

There are a lot of individual variabilities when it comes to tolerance for caffeine. For some people, 1 cup of coffee can be excessive, while others may feel fine with more cups.

Regardless, healthy adults should abstain from consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. This is roughly equal to 4 cups of coffee.

Increased consumption of regular coffee can lead to increased blood pressure and lack of sleep. As a result, one may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, excess caffeine may cause restlessness, anxiety, digestive problems, and heart arrhythmia in sensitive individuals.

So, people who are very sensitive to caffeine or with certain medical conditions, should limit their intake of regular coffee or switch over to decaf.

Additionally, pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescents, individuals diagnosed with anxiety, and who have trouble sleeping are better off with the decaf option.

Processes Of Decaf Coffee

decaffeinated coffee means

Organic Solvent Processes

Direct method

  • Firstly, steams unroasted green beans
  • Rinses the beans with methylene dichloride or ethyl acetate solvent
  • Repeats 8 to 12 times until the requirement meets

Indirect method

  • Also referred to as water processed
  • Beans stay in hot water for several hours. Water soaks caffeine content
  • Methylene dichloride or ethyl acetate solvent extracts caffeine from the water
  • The same water is used for a new batch

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Processes

Swiss Water process

  • Uses Green Coffee Extract (GCE) mechanism for the caffeine extraction
  • Takes 8-10 hours to meet the requirements

Triglyceride process

  • Beans stay in hot water for several hours
  • Then, the beans get transferred to another container with coffee oil
  • Triglycerides in the oils remove the caffeine
  • Separates beans from oil and dry

There is probation for manufacturers to test newly decaffeinated coffee beans. You may mix up low-caffeine coffee with decaf coffee. But actually, they are not the same.

Low-caffeine coffee naturally has a low level of caffeine without any process performed. There can be a lot to discuss the difference between low-caffeine coffee and decaf coffee. On an important note, as low-caffeine coffee beans originally contain a very moderate amount of caffeine, they are a good choice for decaffeination.

Decaffito” is a natural coffee bean growing without caffeine. The plant is called “Coffea Charrieriana”, found in Cameroon, and is the only known natural caffeine-free plant.


Why do people drink decaf coffee?

Decaf coffee is an ideal solution for people who don’t want the adverse effects of caffeine but want to drink coffee regularly.

Does decaf coffee raise blood pressure?

Regular consumption of 5 cups of decaf coffee per day causes a fall in mean ambulant blood pressure. It also raises the heart rate in normotensive men and women.

Is decaf coffee good for weight loss?

Some studies support that decaf coffee may help you lose weight moderately. The best option is black coffee in this case.

Will decaf coffee keep you awake?

No, decaf coffee will not keep you awake because it lacks caffeine content.

Is decaf coffee really free of caffeine?

No, it has at best 3% caffeine in it. The better the decaf process, the more it lacks caffeine.

Is decaffeinated coffee healthy?

Yes, decaf coffee is safe for consumption as well as considered a healthy diet.

Final Words

Caffeine is not unhealthy. Rather coffee has various health benefits like reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and many more.

But, if you are sensitive to caffeine for any reason or trying to avoid caffeine for some days, try decaf coffee instead. The amount of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee is very little and less likely to adversely affect your dietary plans and overall health.

Enjoy your coffee!!!

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