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How to Tell the Difference between Decaf and Regular Coffee Beans

Coffee shops continue popping up on almost all streets across major cities. Coffee remains one of the most popular beverages for centuries. Despite coffee being so popular, not many people know how to tell the difference between decaf and regular coffee beans. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain their differences in detail.

decaf vs regular coffee


Difference Between Decaf and Regular Coffee Beans

Coffee is mainly loved for its caffeine content and rich flavor. However, some people prefer decaf over regular coffee. But why do some people choose decaf over the bold traditional coffee? Others prefer brewing coffee with decaf coffee beans to avoid the negative effects of caffeine. Decaf coffee does not contain a significant amount of caffeine. Thus, individuals who experience side effects of caffeine prefer decaf. Others feel that decaf tastes better.

If you want to enjoy the health benefits offered by coffee without experiencing jitters or insomnia, decaf is a great choice for you. However, if you like the energy boost offered by regular coffee, then regular coffee beans are for you. If you have never tried brewing with decaf beans, keep reading to know whether it is the better option for you.


Processing of Decaf vs Regular Coffee Beans

Decaffeinated (decaf) coffee beans are coffee beans whose caffeine content has been removed by at least 97 percent. Caffeine is removed during the processing of green coffee beans. The decaffeination process is done before roasting.

During decaffeination, green coffee beans are steamed or soaked with a combination of water and some chemicals to remove excess caffeine. Thereafter, the beans are rinsed to remove the chemicals. The chemicals used in decaffeination include ethyl acetate, activated charcoal, methylene chloride, and supercritical carbon dioxide.

Decaf and regular coffee beans are dried and roasted the same way. Only that decaf beans will have much of the caffeine content removed. Regular coffee beans are roasted after drying.

When you brew with decaf beans, you get about 7 mg of caffeine per cup, while a cup of coffee prepared with regular coffee beans has about 70 to 100 mg of caffeine.


Health Benefits of Decaf vs Regular Coffee

Decaf and regular coffee beans differ in terms of the health benefits associated with caffeine. Caffeine in coffee is a natural stimulant. It works by boosting energy levels and promoting wakefulness. That is why many people drink coffee first thing in the morning.

However, caffeine in regular coffee beans may increase blood pressure. Also, it can trigger certain heart conditions such as tachycardia and arrhythmias. Also, caffeine can cause side effects such as insomnia, upset stomach, and anxiousness.

If you experience such symptoms, you can switch to decaf coffee. Decaf coffee offers similar benefits as regular coffee, but without the side effects of caffeine.


Does Decaf Taste Different from Regular Coffee?

The taste difference between decaf and regular coffee depends on the kind of beans used. Essentially, decaf coffee is processed from Robusta beans instead of Arabica beans. Thus, decaf coffee will taste a little more acidic or darker with earthy notes. Regular coffee made from Robusta beans will also taste acidic.

However, regular coffee made from Arabica beans tastes different, with a sweeter taste and fruity notes. If you add sugar and/or milk to decaf coffee, you may not note any significant taste difference. Also, serving decaf coffee over ice or making cold-brew decaf reduces its acidity.


Which is Better Between Decaf and Regular Coffee Beans?

Decaf coffee has an advantage over regular coffee in terms of the side effects of caffeine. Since decaf does not have significant caffeine, it is ideal for individuals who do not tolerate caffeine. If you suffer from the side effects of caffeine, decaf is the right coffee for you. It will give you the aroma of coffee without experiencing jitters right after.

Other than that, decaffeinated coffee does not offer extra health benefits. Research shows that regular coffee beans and decaf offer several similar health benefits. Just ensure you keep your coffee intake to the recommended daily limit. Essentially, you should drink a maximum of 4 cups of coffee per day to avoid the risk of serious side effects of caffeine.

If you take regular coffee in safe amounts, it will offer numerous health benefits including:

  • Boosts metabolic rate and helps in burning fat.
  • Makes you feel more energized and alert.
  • Relives anxiety.
  • Increases good cholesterol and reduces the bad ones.
  • Rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of cell damage and certain cancers.

Now that you know how to tell the difference between decaf and regular coffee beans, which is better? It’s your call.