Coffee is not only a delicious drink, but it also comes with several health benefits, such as improving our energy and boosting our mood. However, drinking too much caffeine can seriously trigger unpleasant complications, such as indigestion, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.
The best way to keep enjoying your coffee without jeopardizing your sleep is to have decaf. Decaffeinated coffee brew tastes lovely, and it is easy to make at home, just like your average cold brew. Curious to find out more? Here you will find everything you need to know about the world of decaf coffee.
Is Decaf Coffee Entirely Caffeine-Free?
Decaf doesn’t necessarily translate into caffeine-free. In fact, USDA regulations on caffeine content specify that decaf must not exceed 0.10% of caffeine. As a general rule, decaf must have at least 7% of its caffeine content removed, meaning it would rarely be 100% caffeine-free.
There are different ways of removing caffeine from coffee beans. All it takes are some chemical solvents or liquid carbon dioxide (CO2). Nevertheless, no product can scrub the bean of caffeine thoroughly. This is the reason why some decaffeinated coffees still contain up to 12 mg of caffeine per cup.
Is There Decaf Cold Brew?
Cold brew is obtained by immersing coffee grounds into room temperature or cold water and then allowing them to steep for up to 48 hours. This is indeed a long process, but it is worth it as you will get a rich and intense coffee concentrate. This can be diluted with additional water or milk or used as a part of other delicious recipes.
Of course, you can use any type of coarse coffee. This includes decaf ground coffee, which you can buy from any local store or online. As you can imagine, your coffee concentrate’s overall taste will be different but still great and bold.
How to make decaf cold brew at home?
To make cold brew at home, you can use a French press. It is best to use coarse ground coffee, as it will result in a bolder coffee. If you want to cut down your caffeine intake, but you don’t want to renounce your daily cup of cold brew, you can use decaf coffee grounds.
To make your decaf cold brew at home, you will need the following:
- Your French press, or a glass container
- A cheesecloth, to filter your coffee
- ¼ cup decaf ground coffee (you can also mix regular coffee with decaf)
- Room temperature water
Now that you have all the ingredients, you are ready to brew some decaffeinated coffee concentrate! Here’s what you need to do:
- Pour the coffee grounds into the French press. If you don’t have one, you can use any other glass container.
- Add room temperature or cold water. You can filter your water before using it if you want to.
- Cover the coffee and place the French press (or the glass container) in your fridge overnight. You may go for a lower or higher steeping time, depending on your preferred coffee intensity. The longer your coffee is immersed in water, the stronger and darker your concentrate will be. If you are in doubt, you can try and taste it after a minimum of 8 hours.
- Once ready, strain your coffee grounds. If you are using a French press, this part will be straightforward. Otherwise, if you are relying on a glass container, you may need to filter the coffee with a cheesecloth to get rid of all coffee grounds.
- Pour the concentrate into a glass container, which needs to be suitable for storing liquids. Ideally, you should be able to close it with a lid, unless you plan to consume all your coffee immediately.
- Now you are officially ready to enjoy your own decaf cold brew! You may try to drink it as it is, but it might be too strong. The best thing to do is to dilute it with water or milk.
You can spice your cold brew up with additional flavorings. Our favorite recipe? Dilute your decaf cold brew with some milk, add ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract, and garnish with some delicious heavy cream.
If you want to drink your cold brew later, you need to store it in the refrigerator. Don’t add any milk or other syrups, or you will significantly decrease its shelf life.
Can Decaf Coffee Affect your Sleep?
As all coffee lovers might know, regular coffee can give you a substantial energy boost, but also keep you up at night.
What about decaf coffee? This type of drink still has a small amount of caffeine, which may compromise your sleep pattern.
Research has found that the caffeine levels included in decaf beverages is too tiny to significantly affect your sleep. This means that, as a general rule, you should be able to sleep tight after enjoying your decaf cuppa.
On the other hand, some people may be particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine. This means that you may still have trouble falling asleep even after one sip of decaffeinate coffee. If this is your case, you should avoid any beverage which includes caffeine, such as some types of tea. If you are still looking for a delicious cuppa to keep you warm and cosy before going to bed, you should switch to herbal tea.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Coffee?
If you love coffee, you surely don’t need more reasons to drink it, but you might be happy to know that there is evidence of its health benefits, including:
- It boosts your energy and it sharpens your mental focus. Studies have shown that caffeine can also improve performance during exercise.
- Caffeine may help you lose weight and improve your general mood.
- Coffee is sometimes associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.
- A high consumption of caffeine can positively impact heart disease and other issues related to the nervous system.
Why Decaf Coffee is Bad for You
Some of the solvents used to produce decaf coffee are the ethyl acetate and the methylene chloride. Their effects on our health are still controversial.
For example, methylene chloride can cause coughing and shortness of breath when inhaled. At higher doses, it can cause nausea, dizziness, headache and fatigue. In 1999, however, science demonstrated that the amounts used in decaf are too minuscule, meaning that they cannot affect our health in any way.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to minimize your exposure to certain chemicals, you might want to use only coffees which have gone throughout a natural decaffeination method. These may be challenging to find, as usually there are no specific labelling rules that disclose this type of information.
What Are The Benefits of Drinking Decaf?
If you are caffeine sensitive, or if you want to consume a lower amount of caffeine, decaf is the best way to still enjoy your daily cuppa. Introducing a low amount of caffeine in your body has several benefits for your health, such as:
- Controlling your addiction. Cold decaf coffee has lower addictive stimulants, which means that you will still get all the energy you need from your coffee, but you won’t be too addicted to it.
- Benefits for your heart. Too much caffeine can have a significant impact on your heart. Drinking decaf coffee has a lighter impact on flow-mediated dilation, preserving your heart’s health.
Does Starbucks Have Decaf Cold Brew?
There is no better place than Starbucks for coffee lovers. Starbucks serves several coffee varieties, including many types of decaf, which vary based on their aroma or strength. You can even buy some branded (and often overpriced) coffee beans at Starbucks!
Nevertheless, if you want to enjoy a cup of decaf at least once a day, you should definitely make your cold brew at home. This will make you save a bunch of money, and it is also a very fun activity.
Do Restaurants Have Decaf Coffee?
Yes, as a general rule restaurants and bars should be able to prepare you a decaf coffee. However, if you order decaf espresso or americano at a restaurant, you may not be drinking an actual beverage with a low amount of caffeine.
It looks like several places are still not very knowledgeable about the different types of coffee, including decaf. For this reason, you shouldn’t order decaf at all if you’re running late at night and you are concerned about your sleep.
Cold brew coffee is lower in acid level and rich in antioxidants and flavor. However, it may be easy to become addicted to its distinctive taste and stimulating effects, making our body subject to caffeine’s impact.
Drinking decaf cold brew is the best option to keep enjoying your coffee and its benefits for your energy, without weighing too much on your health.