While many drink coffee to obtain increased psychological alertness and energy from its caffeine content, some favor to prevent caffeine (1, 2).

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For those who are caffeine-sensitive or feather to mitigate their caffeine intake, decaffeinated, or decaf, coffee can be a great alternative if you don’t want to give up on coffee’s delicious taste entirely.

However, decaf coffee still provides caffeine.

This write-up reviews how decaf coffee is made and also how lot caffeine your decaf cup the joe may hold.

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What Is Decaf Coffee?
Decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free.

While USDA regulations stipulate that decaf need to not exceed 0.10 percent caffeine top top a dry basis in the package, comparison between brewed regular and decaf coffee shows that decaf appears to have actually at the very least 97% of caffeine removed (3, 4, 5).

To put this into perspective, an median 12-ounce (354-ml) cup of coffee containing 180 mg the caffeine would have about 5.4 mg the caffeine in a decaffeinated state.

Caffeine contents in decaf coffee counts on the kind of bean and also the decaffeination process.

Decaf coffee beans are typically made by one of three methods, using either water, essential solvents or carbon dioxide to draw caffeine the end of the coffee beans (6).

All techniques soak or steam green, unroasted coffee beans until the caffeine is liquified or till the pores the the beans space opened. From there, the caffeine is extracted.

Here is a brief description the each method and how caffeine is extracted (6):

Solvent-based process: This an approach uses a combination of methylene chloride, ethyl acetate and also water to produce a solvent the extracts the caffeine. Neither chemical is found in coffee together they evaporate.Swiss water process: This is the just organic method of decaffeinating coffee. It relies on osmosis come extract caffeine and guarantees a 99.9% decaffeinated product.Carbon dioxide process: The newest an approach uses carbon dioxide, a link naturally uncovered in coffee together a gas, to eliminate the caffeine and also leave various other flavor compounds intact. When efficient, it’s likewise expensive.

Overall, the kind of roasted coffee girlfriend buy will influence the flavor much more than the decaffeination method.

However, the decaffeination procedure does change the smell and taste the coffee, resulting in a milder flavor and also different shade (6).


Decaf coffee means that the coffee beans are at least 97% decaffeinated. There room three techniques of decaffeinating the beans and all result in a milder product contrasted to continuous coffee.

The caffeine content of her decaf coffee most likely depends on wherein your coffee is from.

Caffeine in mean Decaf Coffee

Studies have presented that basically all species of decaf coffee contain caffeine (7, 8).

On average, one 8-ounce (236-ml) cup that decaf coffee contains up come 7 mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of continuous coffee offers 70–140 mg (8).

While even 7 mg of caffeine may seem low, it could be of issue for those who have actually been recommend to reduced their intake as result of kidney disease, tension disorders or caffeine sensitivity.

For susceptible individuals, even little amounts the caffeine can increase agitation, anxiety, love rate and blood press (9, 10, 11).

Researchers suggest that drink 5–10 cup of decaf coffee could accumulate the lot of caffeine in 1–2 cups of regular, caffeinated coffee (8).

Thus, those staying clear of caffeine need to be careful.

Caffeine content of well-known Coffee Chains

One research analyzed 16-ounce (473-ml) cup of drip-brewed decaf coffee indigenous nine us chains or regional coffee houses. All but one had 8.6–13.9 mg caffeine, v an typical of 9.4 mg per 16-ounce (473-ml) cup (7).

In comparison, an typical 16-ounce (473-ml) cup of regular coffee packs around 188 mg of caffeine (12).

The researchers also purchased Starbucks decaffeinated espresso and also brewed coffee and also measured their caffeine content.

The decaf espresso included 3–15.8 mg per shot, when the decaf coffee had 12–13.4 mg the caffeine per 16-ounce (473-ml) serving.

While the caffeine content is lower than that of consistent coffee, it’s still present.

Here is a comparison of popular decaf coffees and also their caffeine content (13, 14, 15, 16, 17):

Decaf Coffee10–12 oz (295–354 ml)14–16 oz (414–473 ml)20–24 oz (591–709 ml)
Starbucks / Pike’s place Roast20 mg25 mg30 mg
Dunkin’ Donuts7 mg10 mg15 mg
McDonald’s8 mg11 mg14–18 mg
Average Decaf Brewed Coffee7–8.4 mg9.8–11.2 mg14–16.8 mg
Average Decaf immediate Coffee3.1–3.8 mg4.4–5 mg6.3–7.5 mg

To be safe, look increase the caffeine contents in her favorite coffee shop’s decaf coffee before drinking it, especially if friend consume multiple cups of decaf every day.


while decaf coffee consists of much much less caffeine than constant coffee, it’s not truly caffeine-free. Those looking to reduced caffeine have to evaluate your coffee choice first.

Who should Drink Decaf Coffee?

While many human being can enjoy greater amounts the caffeine, some world need to avoid it.

Those who suffer insomnia, anxiety, headaches, irritability, jitters, nausea or increased blood press after consuming caffeine should take into consideration decaf if they decision to drink coffee at all (18, 19, 20, 21).

Similarly, individuals with specific medical conditions might call for caffeine-restricted diets, for example if taking drugs that can communicate with caffeine (7).

Research argues that also your makeup may influence just how you respond come caffeine (22, 23).

Some can consume big doses of caffeine without experiencing an adverse side effects, but those who space sensitive should opt because that decaf.

Additionally, caffeine has been established as a feasible trigger for heartburn. Therefore, people who suffer heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) might need to alleviate their caffeine intake (24, 25).

However, it’s crucial to note that both problems might be engendered by coffee in general — decaf or not.

If you have any type of of these conditions, drinking a decaf dark roast, i beg your pardon is lower in caffeine and also often much less acidic, may be your ideal option.

Finally, females who are pregnant or breastfeeding space advised come limit your caffeine entry (26).


when many human being can tolerate caffeine, those with particular medical conditions, who space pregnant or breastfeeding or who room caffeine sensitive have to opt because that decaf coffee end regular.

The Bottom Line

Decaf coffee is a popular different for those feather to cut their caffeine intake. However, the is not completely caffeine-free.

While the decaffeination process removes at least 97% the caffeine, basically all decaf coffees still contain approximately 7 mg every 8-ounce (236-ml) cup.

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Darker roasts and also instant decaf coffees normally rank reduced in caffeine and may it is in a suitable means of enjoying your cup the joe without the caffeine.