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Many coffee lovers rely on decaf for their daily fill, whether it be for health reasons or to simply avoid late-night jitters. While decaf doesn’t provide the alertness and boosted metabolism of standard coffee, it does contain roughly the same number of antioxidants, which helps the body fight off free radicals. It’s also a great transitional beverage for those working to completely quit caffeine because, despite the name, decaf typically has small amounts of caffeine, so switching to it won’t be like going cold turkey.
The only problem is that it’s difficult to find a cup of decaf that tastes like the real thing. It can easily go unnoticed, but the decaffeination process saps coffee beans of certain key flavors. That’s why we’ve rounded up our favorite options for decaf die-hards below.
No more guesswork, no more worrying about a weak cup of joe. Here are the best decaf coffees to buy.
Best Overall: Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast Coffee
Every coffee lover wants decaf to taste like the real thing, and Kicking Horse Coffee is up to the challenge. The company's decaf blend is a dark roast that customers generally describe as rich, robust, and flavorful. You'll find notes of roasted hazelnuts and milk chocolate in every sip.
Kicking Horse is certified organic and fair trade and roasts all their beans right at home in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Most of their coffee is slightly more expensive than a standard grocery-store brand, decaf included, but it is easy to find both in-store and online. Plus you can choose between a 10-ounce bag or a 2.2-pound bag.
Best Organic: Jo Coffee No Fun Jo Decaf Medium Dark Roast
If you're going organic and trying to ditch caffeine at the same time, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better-tasting option than Jo Coffee. Their decaf blend combines notes of sweet blueberry and milk chocolate for a rich flavor you can’t resist.
No Fun Jo uses the Swiss Water process to decaffeinate their coffee, which leaves the beans with a more natural, complex flavor. The beans are also fair-trade certified and certified organic.
The decaf blend is available in both whole bean and ground, and you can choose between a 12-ounce bag, a 2-pound bag, and coffee pods.
Best Budget: Seattle's Best Coffee Decaf Portside Blend
This well-balanced medium roast has strong reviews regarding flavor and bang for your buck. It's crafted from 100 percent Arabica beans, all of which are sourced in Latin America. The item, as well as other Seattle's Best coffees, are easy to find online or in-person. The main setback of this decaf blend is that it can only be purchased in a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee, rather than larger bags of whole beans. Seattle's Best is a subsidiary of fellow Seattle native Starbucks, but it’s far easier on your wallet and typically billed as a hearty, everyday coffee that keeps it simple.
Best High End: Volcanica Coffee Company House Decaf Coffee
As the name suggests, Volcanica Coffee Company uses the high elevations and mineral-rich soil of volcanic mountains to create delicious coffee. Its beans are sourced from countries all across the world, then roasted in Volcanica's native city of Atlanta, Georgia. The brand also uses the Swiss Water method, which removes caffeine with as few chemicals as possible, all while retaining the bean’s flavor palette.
Volcanica makes a number of tasty caffeinated blends, but it especially stands out for making more than a dozen decaf options, including this House Blend. Expect this coffee to contain the traditional balance of a medium roast but with an undercurrent of sweetness. Those looking for alternative flavors can try Volcanica's popular Costa Rican Decaf and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Decaf.
Best Instant: Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Decaf Coffee
Mount Hagen Decaf Instant Coffee is organic, fair trade, and downright tasty. Customers describe the instant coffee as a well-balanced medium roast, one that’s surprisingly strong but not too acidic.
You can purchase the product in a 3.53-ounce jar or a box of individually packaged servings, the latter of which is ideal for coffee drinkers who are often traveling or running around. One note: you won't be able to control the strength of your brew as easily if you're using a single-serve packet, so if you like a big cup of coffee or prefer a stronger cup, go for the jar.
Best Coffee Pods: The Original Donut Shop Decaf Medium Roast K-Cup Pods
Available in-store and online at various big-name retailers, The Original Donut Shop is a favorite among Keurig owners, beloved by many for providing quick cups of top-grade coffee. Take that same great coffee, subtract the caffeine, and you get the best decaf coffee pods on the market.
Fresh and flavorful, The Original Donut Shop makes their decaf roast extra bold, packing in even more Arabica beans than they do in their regular coffee. And even though taste buds vary and coffee preferences can be polarizing, this product has received widespread praise for being just as full-bodied as regular coffee.
Best Light Roast: Cafe Don Pablo Colombian Light Roast Decaf Coffee
Consistent and palatable, light roast coffee can be a delicious way to start the day or a mellow after-dinner treat. No matter what time you take your coffee, Cafe Don Pablo's Colombian Decaf is a wonderful choice. It comes with a smooth finish, low acidity, and rich notes of caramel, cocoa, and citrus.
One small downside to this beloved brand is that their decaf blend is only available in larger bags—you'll have to get 2 pounds or 5 pounds of coffee at once. Despite this, customers rarely say that the coffee tastes anything but fresh.
Best Medium Roast: Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf Coffee
Koffee Kult grows their beans in over fifty countries worldwide, in regions ranging from Indonesia to Africa to Central and South America; but, as the name suggests, this roast is made from Arabica beans sourced from Colombia, and is then roasted in Florida.
It's made using the Swiss Water Process and, as a medium roast should be, it's a combination of smooth and robust—something you’ll never get tired of drinking.
You can buy this coffee as whole beans or pre-ground, depending on how hands-on you like to be when it comes to making your coffee.
Best Dark Roast: Peet's Coffee Decaf Major Dickason's Blend
With an extensive variety of blends and a wide-ranging grocery store presence, many already love Peet's Coffee. The Bay Area company makes several types of decaf coffee, one of the most popular being Major Dickason's Blend, which is also sold as a caffeinated option. It's an extremely dark roast with a smoky, slightly spicy flavor.
The coffee is sold in both ground and whole bean varieties (as well as K-cups), and you can find bags of 10.5 or 16 ounces. Just keep in mind that it drifts toward the expensive end and might be a little harder to track down than the more-common caffeinated blends. If this specific flavor doesn't appeal to you, check out Peet's other decaf dark roasts, including House Blend, French Roast, and more.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. Before recommending these products, he gathered information from customer reviews and third-party articles. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Communications from Marist College.
What to Look for in a Decaf Coffee
Not all decaf coffee is made the same way. There are several different decaffeination methods, each of which leads to subtle differences when the coffee reaches your cup. Perhaps the most common method is water processing (often referred to as Swiss-water decaf). The newest one on the block is the CO2 process, where liquid carbon dioxide is pressurized into coffee beans. There is no clear-cut best method, unfortunately, but once you find one you like it's worth sticking with it.
Identifying the type of roast you like—light, medium, or dark—is a great place to start when trying a new coffee. But it can get even trickier than that. Keep an eye out for a blend's tasting notes, usually written somewhere on the bag. With a dark roast, for instance, you might like one that has notes of chocolate but not notes of smokiness, or vice versa.
There is generally little difference in price between decaf coffee and regular, but it's still a key consideration since the majority of coffee drinkers have a cup (or three) every single day. Try experimenting with different brands to find your cost comfort zone. See if you have a preference between a $5 bag of beans and a $20 bag. Just because a coffee is more expensive doesn't mean it's the best one for your taste buds.