How much caffeine is in a decaf coffee?

A pack of Raw Bean Espresso Ground coffee with an espresso machine and latte

When you brew a cup of decaf coffee, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s no caffeine in your cup. You might be surprised therefore to hear that even decaffeinated coffees are not 100% caffeine free. With any decaffeination process, it’s just not possible to get every last molecule of caffeine out of the coffee bean unless you strip it of all the flavours that make it taste like coffee. The good news is switching to decaf isn’t in vain. In fact, with the best decaffeination processes available today, it’s possible to do a pretty awesome job of removing caffeine whilst preserving the characteristics of your favourite coffees.

The amount of caffeine that modern decafs contain is so low that you can still enjoy your coffee without the caffeine-induced side-effects that you may experience with a fully-caffeinated cup.  In the UK and Europe, legislation requires that decaffeinated beans and ground are at least 99.9% caffeine free and instant coffees 99.7% caffeine free. Therefore, our Raw Bean decaf coffees have no more than 0.1% caffeine. Across the pond, the US regulations are slightly less stringent and decaffeination processes are required to remove only 97% of caffeine.

Holding on to a tiny amount of caffeine throughout the decaffeination process isn’t unique to coffee. Even decaffeinated tea still contains caffeine. To be labelled decaffeinated, tea should contain less than 2.5% of its original caffeine levels.

So, what is the caffeine content in a cup of decaf coffee?

Many variables effect how much caffeine ends up in your final cup of coffee. An average 240ml cup of decaf coffee in the UK may contain between 2 to 5mg of caffeine. That’s a lot less than a fully fuelled, caffeinated cup, which, depending on multiple factors, such as the coffee beans used, the roasting process and, very importantly, the brewing method, can deliver anywhere between 70 and 140mg of caffeine.

On average, decaffeinated coffees contain a little less caffeine than 28g of dark chocolate and less than half the caffeine of a can of Coke.

Our Definitely Decaf

At Raw Bean, we do everything we can to deliver what you want. So, if you’re after a smooth and creamy but complex decaffeinated coffee, you’ve got it.  At Raw Bean we’ve chosen Swiss Water Process decaffeination for our Definitely Decaf range. This method stands out for its natural approach, using only water, temperature, and time to remove at least 99.9% caffeine from the beans, while preserving the delicate flavours and aromas. This enables us to create delicious coffees you can continue to indulge in, without losing any sleep.

Our award-winning Definitely Decaf is a single origin coffee from El Eden, Colombia and is available in beans, fine and medium ground coffee, pyramid coffee bags and nespresso compatible coffee pods. Watch this space because we are also about to launch some exciting new origins!

What if I just want to limit my caffeine and would still like a gentle lift?

Research indicates that small amounts of caffeine can enhance vigilance, alertness, and mood while also improving cognitive function during and after intense exercise. So if you only want to manage your caffeine intake without making the complete switch to decaf coffee, you could also choose Arabica coffees which are naturally lower in the stimulant. Arabica beans, as used in most of our Raw Bean coffees (including all our Bean Bags, Perfect Pods and Ground Coffee ranges), contain around half of the caffeine of Robusta beans. So, our Arabica coffees are a great option if you’re looking to limit your caffeine intake but still want some of the energizing benefits.

Swiss Water Process coffee cupping

Photo credit: Swiss Water Process