Top Benefits of Decaf Coffee

Top Benefits of Decaf Coffee

It is undeniable that coffee holds a special place in our lives. The comforting ritual and the familiar aroma of fresh brewed coffee are ubiquitous in many cultures – it's no wonder then, that an estimated 1 billion adults globally enjoy it every day. But what about those who desire the coffee experience, but want to cut back on caffeine? 

What are the Benefits of Drinking Decaf Coffee?

A fascinating trend is emerging with a growing shift towards decaf options. Decaffeinated coffee offers a tasty solution, but is it simply coffee minus the buzz, or is there more to the story? Let’s look at some possibilities:

  • Increased Awareness: Consumers are becoming more informed about the potential downsides of excessive caffeine intake. Studies have linked high caffeine consumption to anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and restlessness. For some, this newfound understanding might be prompting them to seek a gentler coffee experience.
  • Coffee, Minus the Jitters: Coffee offers more than just a caffeine kick. The rich aroma, the satisfying taste, and the comforting ritual of brewing a cup are deeply ingrained in our routines. Decaf allows coffee lovers to enjoy these aspects without the unwanted side effects of high-caffeine coffee. 
  • Wellness: We now know more than ever about the potential health benefits of coffee beyond the caffeine boost. Studies suggest regular coffee consumption (including decaf) might be linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and certain neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the presence of polyphenols in coffee has been found to support gut health and contain antioxidant properties. As we increasingly make conscious choices to promote our health, decaf coffee aligns with this trend, providing a way to indulge without compromising our well-being.
  • Evolving Preferences: Our palates are constantly evolving. Coffee connoisseurs might be seeking out decaf options that offer complex flavour profiles and nuanced aromas. Decaf coffee producers are responding with innovative decaffeination methods that preserve the delicate qualities of the beans and more sophisticated blends. The rise of decaf is a testament to the versatility of coffee. 

What is Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee is regular coffee that has undergone a process to remove most of its caffeine content. While a small amount remains (around 3% or less), decaf is a gentler coffee experience, which maintains the taste and aroma without the intense stimulation of regular coffee.

How is Decaf Coffee Made?

Here are four of the most common ways in which caffeine is extracted from the coffee bean:

1. The Mountain Water Process 

The Mountain Water Process or MWP, decaffeinates beans using pure mountain water. Beans are steamed and then soaked in a solution that removes caffeine but preserves flavour. The water is filtered and reused, making it eco-friendly. This chemical-free method creates a rich, delicious decaf coffee as most of the flavour compounds remain intact after the MWP.

2. The Swiss Water Process

This eco-friendly method uses only water to selectively remove caffeine without affecting the coffee's flavour or aroma. Multiple water baths are used, and the saturated caffeine water is discarded. This process is repeated until most of the caffeine is removed. Though similar in many ways to the Mountain Water Process, it does use new water for each wash, and as a result, is more water-intensive. 

3. The CO2 Process

The CO2 process is a popular choice for decaffeination because it's thought to be natural, it can preserve the coffee's flavour profile and requires less water to achieve decaffeination. First, coffee beans are soaked in water to allow the caffeine to dissolve. Next, the water-saturated beans are then placed in a pressurised chamber filled with carbon dioxide. The pressurised CO2 attracts the dissolved caffeine from the beans, leaving them decaffeinated. This method is considered natural and can preserve the coffee's flavour profile. 

4. The EA Wash Method

This method (sometimes called the sugarcane process) starts by steaming the beans to open up capillaries in the beans, which are then soaked in the solvent ‘ethyl acetate’ (derived from sugar cane). The solvent bonds to the caffeine molecules and the beans are washed out to leave them decaffeinated. While effective, there are potential health concerns surrounding the use of solvents. However, this method has less impact on the final flavour.

The Mountain Water Process: How it Works

The Mountain Water Process (MWP) is a natural decaffeination method. This eco-friendly approach utilises pristine mountain water. First, the green coffee beans undergo analysis to determine the optimal decaffeination settings for that particular batch. They're then steamed to prepare them for the key step: a bath in a specially formulated water solution. This solution draws out the caffeine while leaving behind the desirable flavour compounds, essentially separating the good from the not-so-good. The beauty lies in the water's reusability. After filtering out the extracted caffeine, the water itself is recycled for subsequent batches, minimising waste. Finally, the decaffeinated beans undergo a meticulous drying process over several hours. This water-based approach has several advantages. It eliminates harsh chemicals from the process, and the focus on preserving flavour compounds during extraction translates to a richer, more satisfying coffee experience. So, if you're looking for a decaf coffee that prioritises taste and sustainability, the Mountain Water Process just might win the cup.

How Much Caffeine Does Decaf Contain?

A typical cup of decaf coffee contains around 2mg of caffeine, so compared to 80-100mg in a regular cup, this is unlikely to cause jitters or sleep disruption. An after-dinner coffee is totally on the menu.

The Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee

Decaffeinated coffee provides more than just a reduced jolt. Here are 5 key benefits: 

1. Stomach Issues

Studies suggest that the specific compounds in regular coffee can irritate the stomach (especially if empty), causing heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Decaf's lower acidity is a gentler option for those who are sensitive in this area, and may help reduce this digestive discomfort, so you can enjoy the coffee flavour without the burn. Coffee is a drink that contains, and this does make it into your cup - especially if you use a French Press. A little extra fibre in our diet is certainly a positive. 

2. Antioxidant Powerhouse

Coffee beans, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, are rich in antioxidants that help the body combat damaging free radicals which are known to damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases. These powerful natural antioxidants are known as polyphenols. This paper suggests that they might also improve gut health and even lower inflammation. 

3. Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Studies suggest that decaf coffee consumption may be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood - research continues to look promising. 

4. Improved Heart Health

Some studies suggest a potential link between moderate coffee consumption (including decaf) and a reduced risk of heart disease. 

5. Potential Neuroprotective Effects

Early research suggests decaf coffee consumption may have some neuroprotective benefits, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. However, more studies are needed to solidify this connection.

Are You Drinking Too Much Caffeine?: The Symptoms

Caffeine can have a range of side effects when consumed in excess, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Upset stomach

Who Should Consider Decaf Coffee?

It's always a good idea to air on the side of caution and go easy on caffeine if you are not used to it. For those who experience negative symptoms - maybe decaf coffee is the better choice:

  • People sensitive to caffeine: If you experience jitters, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping after consuming regular coffee
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: While moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy is generally considered safe, some women may prefer to limit caffeine intake because of its potential effects on iron levels
  • Those with anxiety: People with anxiety-related disorders, or who are prone to migraines may benefit from reducing their caffeine intake
  • Coffee lovers later in the day: Enjoy the taste of coffee without disrupting your sleep with a decaf option later in the day

Thinking of Switching?

This is the Cheerful Buddha blog after all, so it seems like an opportune moment to let you know about our own decaffeinated coffee option. CB decaf comes in 150g or 1kg bags and you can choose from ground or whole bean. Additionally, our coffee comes pre-infused with high-grade CBD oil - adding another layer of chill to the experience. The caffeine is extracted using the Mountain Water Method - which is the most natural process of extraction and uses less water to achieve a great, full-flavoured decaf.


Is there any benefit to drinking decaf coffee?

Definitely, decaf offers the taste and aroma of coffee with significantly less caffeine. It may also benefit those with sensitive stomachs and can be enjoyed later in the day without disrupting sleep.

Is decaf coffee healthier than normal coffee?

Both decaf and regular coffee offer health benefits like antioxidants. Decaf is a better choice for those who experience negative side effects from caffeine or want to limit their intake. However, it’s true to say, that regular coffee may have slightly higher levels of certain nutrients.

What are the pros and cons of decaf coffee?


  • Lower caffeine content (reduces anxiety, jitters, and sleep disruption)
  • Maybe gentler on the stomach
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Can be enjoyed later in the day


  • May have a slightly weaker taste compared to regular coffee (depending on the bean and decaf process)
  • Lower levels of certain nutrients compared to regular coffee (trace amounts)

Is decaf better for your stomach?

For some people, yes. Regular coffee can increase stomach acid production and irritate the digestive system. Decaf, with its lower acidity, might be a better choice for those with sensitive stomachs or conditions like heartburn or acid reflux.

Remember - invest in good quality products that fit your requirements. And, most importantly, consult your doctor if you have any concerns about caffeine intake or if you experience persistent health issues when consuming coffee of all types. It is a powerful superfood - but there are many great alternatives as well.

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