The Downfall of Decaf


My parents are very into coffee. My mom drinks it at all hours of the day, and my dad drinks a cup in the morning to wake up and relax. Thanks to my dad, I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 12. I’ve developed quite the habit. I wouldn’t call it an addiction per se, but I really am my parents’ daughter when it comes to coffee… except one for little thing.

Because she drinks it so often, my mom likes to contaminate perfectly good coffee with decaf. I realize she has pretty legitimate health reasons, but I am never okay with this. She always tells me “you would never even know it had decaf in it unless I told you!” but I stand firm that I will definitely be able to taste it.

There are three well known ways to decaffeinate coffee. All of them involve soaking the unroasted beans in extremely hot water and then treating them with chemicals to extract the caffeine. Then they reintroduce the other stuff they extracted in hopes that the beans will reabsorb them. Decaf basically becomes a Frankenstein stunt, and for what? These chemicals don’t even remove 100% of the caffeine, so people are basically lying to themselves. I don’t really get why you would lie to yourself AND drink fake coffee…. but whatever floats your boat (or sinks it).

Even though I’ve been a firm advocate for a coffee IV because that seems really fucking efficient (the FDA probably doesn’t agree), I do really love coffee for coffee. So maybe, if I really couldn’t handle caffeine, MAYBE I would drink decaf. But the tasteless icing on this cake is that when you decaffeinate coffee, you sacrifice flavor. The processes are usually able to save most of it, but let’s be real: this poor coffee was ruined the second you said decaffeinate. And to make things even worse, decaf beans are harder to roast, so this just sounds like a lose-lose situation from all angles. If it doesn’t even taste great and there’s not enough caffeine to matter, what’s the point of drinking coffee water?!

If you’re still interested in the Frankenstein processes of decaffing coffee, read here & here.

One of these days I’ll do a blind taste test and see if I can really taste the difference between decaf and regular, but until then I’m staying pretty fucking far away from decaf. I need all the energy I can get.

Post by Lian Weinstein. Photo from