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How Much Caffeine is in Decaf Coffee? The Answer May Surprise You!

If you’re trying to cut down your caffeine intake, you may be wondering how much caffeine is in decaf coffee. First thing’s first: decaffeinated is not the same as caffeine-free. Decaf coffee is stripped of 97% of its caffeine content, resulting in a brew that contains 6-6.6mg of caffeine per 8oz serving (compared to around 95mg of caffeine in a regular 8oz coffee). In small doses, the amount of caffeine in decaf coffee is negligible, however, it’s important to note that decaf coffee is not caffeine-free.

In this article you will learn:

How Much Caffeine is in Coffee vs Decaf?

The average 8oz cup of coffee contains 95mg of caffeine, although the amount of caffeine can range from a minimum of 70mg to a high of 165mg.

As for decaf, the average 8oz cup contains 7mg of caffeine, with a range of 3mg to 15.8 mg.

Why is there such a range when it comes to the amount of caffeine in your coffee? It mainly depends on two factors: the roast and brew method.

Let’s start with how the roasting process affects caffeine levels. All roasted coffee beans contain the same amount of caffeine, but when a bean is roasted, its density changes. The longer a bean roasts, the darker its color gets, the lighter its weight becomes, and the larger its size gets.

This means that the caffeine difference in a cup of coffee comes down to whether you’re measuring your beans by volume or weight.

If measuring by volume using a coffee bean scoop, the light roast beans are smaller and denser, resulting in more beans per scoop. Conversely, a scoop of the dark roast beans, which are larger, will result in fewer beans per scoop. Because caffeine levels remain the same despite roasting time, the scoop with more beans (the light beans) will have more caffeine.

On the other hand, if you’re measuring coffee beans by weight using a scale, the dark roast beans will provide the more caffeinated brew. As we discussed, the dark roast beans weigh less, therefore it takes more dark roast beans than light roast to reach the desired weight.

The other factor that contributes to caffeine levels in a cup of coffee is the brew method. Typically, espresso contains the least amount of caffeine (47-64mg per 1oz) and cold brew will have the most (around 212mg per 8oz), with regular coffee falling in between. This difference is a result of the amount of time the water spends hanging out with the beans. A longer brew time means more caffeine!

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Caffeine in Decaf Espresso: Is there a Difference?

1 oz of decaf espresso can contain 3mg of caffeine on the low end and up to 15mg on the high end. Compare that with an 8oz cup of hot brew decaf containing between 6mg and 6.6mg. Depending on the type you choose, decaf espresso could either have more or less caffeine than your average decaf coffee.

How Much Decaf Coffee You Should Drink

Up to 400mg of caffeine per day is safe for most adults. That's roughly four cups of caffeinated coffee or approximately 57 cups of decaf. Since 97% of the caffeine is removed from decaf coffee the effects are negligible, so go crazy!

That being said, however, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If your morning brew comes with side effects like nervousness, irritability, headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, frequent urination, or a heart rate increase, it could be a sign that your coffee consumption may be resulting in more caffeine than your body can handle. If you notice any of these side effects, scale back the amount of coffee you're consuming until they go away or consult your doctor.

How to Choose the Best Decaf Coffee

One last myth to bust: all decaffeinated coffee undergoes a chemical process that makes coffee taste funny and is less healthy. Not true!

Yes, there are a lot of decaffeinated coffees out there that are subjected to chemical solvents in order to directly or indirectly remove the caffeine. These are the decaf coffees you want to avoid.

However, healthy, chemical-free decaf coffee does exist. Look for decaf that is labeled “swiss” or “swiss water,” which means that the Swiss Water Process was used to remove nearly all the caffeine.

What is the Swiss Water Process? It’s no alchemy, just chemistry hard at work. In a nutshell, the Swiss Water Process soaks raw coffee beans in a solution of Green Coffee Extract and the caffeine in the beans naturally moves towards the solution. No added solvents or nasty chemicals here, resulting in a decaf coffee that’s as good for you as its caffeinated counterpart!

If you're looking for the best decaf coffee, check out our new Clean Decaf! Each batch of beans is decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process, then meticulously roasted and tested to ensure you get maximum health benefits. Clean Decaf is mold and mycotoxin-free and contains 200% more antioxidants than your average cup of coffee so you can feel confident knowing you’re getting a cup of decaf coffee that’s as tasty and pure as it is good for you!

UP NEXT: Is Coffee Bad for You? Why Mold and Mycotoxins Might be to Blame

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