You’re not serious! Caffeine-free coffee isn’t actually caffeine free?! That’s right folks! All caffeine coffee contains some percentage of caffeine.
While the amount of caffeine in each decaffeinated coffee product will differ form brand to brand, they will all contain some level of caffeine.
A decaffeinated coffee product will contain 3% of its original level of caffeine, meaning the decaffeinating process eliminates only 97%. According to Healthline, on average, an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee will still contain about 7 mg of caffeine compared to a regular cup, that will have anywhere from 70 to 140 mg.
According to their findings, even decaf espresso at Starbucks contains a fair bit of caffeine. They report that one 16 oz decaf espresso contained 3 to 15.8 mg per shot, while the decaf coffee had 12 to 13.4 mg of caffeine.
How is the caffeine from coffee removed? Caffeine is removed from coffee in several different methods, all of which share similarities. The green or roasted bean is moistened making the caffeine soluble to be drawn out.
The beans are then steamed and that extract processed either by using a chemical solvent, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) or water, and since there are no specific labeling rules about the decaf process, it can be difficult to figure out your favorite brand’s decaf process.
Is caffeine free coffee bad for you? Coffee companies that use the methylene chloride method have created controversy since in small amounts it can cause coughing and shortness of breath, while in larger quantities, it can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue and vomiting. However, in 1999, the FDA concluded that the trace amounts found in decaf coffee is not enough to affect health.
If you’re concerned about the chemical process, there are coffee brands out there labeled “naturally decaffeinated” or “Swiss Water Process”, which according to Consumer Reports, is a better decaf extraction process ending in a better product, but it’s costly.
Since we’re here, you’re probably wondering about tea now, right? Sorry to say it’s the same thing. Even caffeine-free teas contain some caffeine.
According to Arbor Teas, the decaffeination process for tea leaves a minute amount of caffeine in the leaf, which usually equates to less than 2 mg per cup.
If you’re wondering which decaffeinated coffee has the least caffeine, your best bet is to read the labels of your available brands while you’re at the grocery store and pick one that suits you best.