The Honking Goose

something to honk about

decaf coffee, can you (the reader, not the decaf) answer my question?

Can I ask all you decaf coffee drinkers out there to offer your opinion?

I never used to drink coffee. The caffeine has a strong effect on me and I can feel my heart pound if I have too much. I started drinking coffee two years ago because I quit smoking pot and I needed a ritual to replace it. Now I love the taste of coffee and I love the heat. I prefer dark roast. And I take it black, no sugar. I’ve tried drinking tea instead and I just don’t like it half as much. I like the taste of really, really strong coffee, so I make it strong and just have half a cup. Usually just once a day in the morning.

However, I certainly don’t need the caffeine. I just like the flavor and the ritual of preparing it and holding the warm cup in my hand as I sip. I was shopping at my local health food emporium the other day. I thought, I’ll just buy decaf – it’s still coffee, just without the caffeine. So I grabbed a bag and put it under the spout of the bulk bin and poured some out. But I smelled it and it didn’t have the same rich scent of regular coffee beans. I decided not to purchase it. I bought regular coffee again. YUM.

coffee beans close up

When I came home, I googled (on Bing, I always google on Bing) “how is coffee made into decaf”. Here is what wiki/Decaffeination has to say about it:

In the case of coffee, various methods can be used. The process is usually performed on unroasted (green) beans, and starts with steaming of the beans. They are then rinsed with a solvent that extracts the caffeine while leaving other constituents largely unaffected. The process is repeated from 8 to 12 times until the caffeine content meets the required standard (97% of caffeine removed according to the international standard, or 99.9% caffeine-free by mass per the EU standard). Coffee contains over 400 components important to the taste and aroma of the drink, making removal of caffeine while largely leaving the other constituents unaffected difficult.

Solvent sounds pretty bad. But let’s say I was willing to drink solvent residue in measure of one part per million with my decaf coffee. Let’s just say. For the sake of argument.

What I really want to know is – does decaf taste like regular coffee? Does it smell good like regular coffee when you brew it? Sure, I could answer that myself by getting a cup of decaf at a local shop or just buying a really small amount of beans and preparing them myself at home. That would be easy enough, I suppose. But I’d rather ask you all. What do you think? Do you drink decaf? Do you like it?

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88 comments on “decaf coffee, can you (the reader, not the decaf) answer my question?

  1. JoAnne Silvia
    November 24, 2014

    I love the smell and taste of coffee, but quit years ago because it caused problems with my urinary system. I’ve also read it can increase PMS. Now, since I have so little tolerance, caffeine works really well for an occasional headache or as a pick me up. I can drink half a cup and feel WONDERFUL! I can even feel the small amount of caffeine in decaf. I don’t ever want to get hooked again, because then it won’t work as well. Mostly, I drink water, but use tea medicinally or as a treat, like ginger, chai, berry, lavender chamomile, whatever, depending on my mood, energy level and time of day. Lots of options. My husband, who used to drink regular coffee, likes decaf: whole bean, freshly ground.

    Like

  2. zalgha200
    November 24, 2014

    Reblogged this on ZAINAB ALGHAMDI and commented:
    I have tried decaf coffee once, it was such a dilute coffee did not like at all, there is no thing compare to real coffee in the morning real coffee smell…. and remember that caffeine make you a wake and happy !!!

    Like

  3. matangala
    November 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on matangala.

    Like

  4. matangala
    November 22, 2014

    I like brewed coffee, the smell is so good especially in the morning…but decaf?..no way,it deprives the real taste of a coffee.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 22, 2014

      That’s the general consensus, so I’m going to take everyone’s word for it and stick with my half cup of regular black coffee that I enjoy so much. Thanks for the comment! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • vvuureoc
        November 23, 2014

        Drinking decaf is as good as stealing grandma’s pension!! :):)

        Jokes aside i simply do not like the taste. I like my coffee as strong as Marshal Grover’s description
        To find out if the coffee is strong enough you chuck in a horseshoe if it sinks the coffee is to week if it floats the coffee is strong enoughand if it dissolves the coffee is too strong.
        I use strong roasted (Moca Java) medium ground beans 75 % with 25% chicory
        and limit myself to 8 cups a day.I prefer 3 teaspoons brown sugar and use no milk. Mug size 300 ml (10.14 fluid ounces)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. gh0stpupp3t
    November 10, 2014

    My sister drinks her’s black w/ no cream and sugar — decaf or caffeinated.

    I love mine double double regardless.

    Like

  6. Eddie Pitts
    November 10, 2014

    Can all of the decaf drinkers answer a question for me? If the coffee or tea is decaf, why bother?

    Like

  7. April
    November 10, 2014

    My opinion. No. Decaf does not even come close. I have two cups in the early morning and that’s it. The whole experience you described by the smell, the richness of the taste the warmth of the mug. Kick starts my day, and I prefer not to live without it.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 10, 2014

      Good to hear, that seems to be the general consensus here. I guess I’ll stick to regular.

      Like

  8. Sally Ember, Ed.D.
    November 10, 2014

    What you want to try is decaf that has been made that way through something called “water processing,” listed as “water-process decaf” in most places. Also, get free-trade, organic beans as the source and you’ll find great flavor with little caffeine and no solvents.

    Bonus, by choosing to buy this type of coffee, albeit somewhat more expensive, you’ll be supporting family and individual coffee farmers/growers and not paying into the coffers of the military-industrial complex owners of coffee production who are destroying the rainforests, polluting our water and paying horrible wages to bean-pickers!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 10, 2014

      I always buy organic coffee. I can’t afford to buy everything we eat organic, but I make an effort to do as much as possible, both for our own health and the wider effects on the planet. Coffee is one thing I only buy organic.

      Like

  9. Ru
    November 10, 2014

    decaf, yuck hate it. i also use to get heart pounding jittery feeling. It’s because you need fat to help you to digest it. If you not worried about maintaining a diet, try putting a knob of butter in your coffee. I have mine with cream and butter (so bad but so yum) and I can enjoy my coffee without feeling like I am about to bounce off the walls. I don’t do cups of coffee in a day though. more like a good cup every 2 to 3 days.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 10, 2014

      That is so interesting. Sometimes I put coconut oil (the solid organic kind) in my coffee – super yum. I had no idea that would help with the jitters. Thanks!

      Like

  10. divorcedandsingleblog
    November 9, 2014

    Decaf coffee? I can’t understand this invention…

    Like

  11. nonotesnotes
    November 9, 2014

    Quitting caffeine for me is as hard as quitting alcohol lol… Went from 5-9 espresso shots a day to 0. I’m beginning to like herbal teas, you can get dark flavoured ones full of cinnamon etc that are nice. I’ve never really liked decaf, but it probably just takes getting used to… Half-Caf would be awesome!!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      I don’t like cinnamon in tea most of the time. =P But I do like spicy chai, which might have some in it, but lots of other spices, too.

      Like

      • nonotesnotes
        November 9, 2014

        Yeah that’s what I meant. I keep a box of Chai mix at work now I’m not allowed coffee or tea. I have coffee flavoured electronic cigarettes tho, great stuff!

        Like

        • thehonkinggoose
          November 9, 2014

          I’ve tasted a coffee flavored kombucha that is quite delicious too. At least I thought so, I do like kombucha.

          Like

          • nonotesnotes
            November 9, 2014

            I just Googled kombucha and I gotta find/make some! Sounds like something I’d like. Thanks!

            Like

            • thehonkinggoose
              November 9, 2014

              Some people don’t like the flavor. It is fermented. I didn’t like it the first time I tasted it, but now I love it. It gives me a nice clean energy boost too.

              Liked by 1 person

  12. lizsmithtrailingspouse
    November 9, 2014

    I switched to decaf when I got pregnant. It’s not the same but if you choose a good one then I think it’s nearly the same taste. I have a friend who mixed it half and half with regular coffee and preferred it that way.

    Like

  13. amommasview
    November 9, 2014

    Yes, I do. And they are amazing. Different strength in flavor. It’s capsule coffee though…

    Like

  14. jenniesisler
    November 9, 2014

    I drink decaf and call me crazy, but I’ve never really noticed a difference. I never get much of a buzz off caffiene and I take pseudoephedrine for allergies, which shouldn’t be taken with caffiene since it elevates your heart rate so sometimes decaf is a must. I love coffee for the flavor, smell and ritual, and I drink it with milk and no sugar so I don’t know, maybe I’m just not enough of a morning person to notice the difference.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      I think you might be the only person who commented who said they didn’t notice much of a difference. If you like it, that’s all that matters.

      Like

  15. Simply Wanda
    November 9, 2014

    I recently quit drinking coffee and like you had to have it very strong.. two drops from being Espresso strong. A few weeks after I quit I had a craving for coffee and tried my first cup ever of decaf. Never again will I drink that shit! It taste nothing like coffee, especially if you are use to a strong dark roast. It has no taste, no matter how much coffee you use when brewing it, the “bite”(caffeine) is not there! http://wandaringthroughlalaland.wordpress.com/2014/08/

    Like

  16. Nicodemas
    November 9, 2014

    I think regular coffee is stronger, but I make my decaf strong so I don’t notice it much. The word “solvent” sounds bad but maybe it’s something completely natural like a citrus juice. I wish I knew what it was.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      According to the wiki article the solvents most widely used now are dichloromethane and ethyl acetate. But there is also water process decaf which is made without them.

      Like

  17. pk1929
    November 9, 2014

    Tea is a better option then Decafe coffee,
    To me Decafe doesn’t taste good 😦

    Like

  18. grannyK
    November 9, 2014

    I don’t like decaf. I really think it is NOT nearly as good, but I too have trouble with a lot of caffeine. I now use the 1/2 caf coffee and I like it! It’s easier on my stomach, too, for some reason. I have often wondered how they make decaf and I really should find out what solvent is used, I guess. It doesn’t sound good!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Well everyone is telling me that there is water-process decaf that is much cleaner. Sounds better than solvents, for sure. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Ruby Browne
    November 9, 2014

    I think decaf is just as delicious as regular coffee. You just have to buy a good quality one. I am especially careful to buy water-processed decaf because, yeah, solvent residue sounds terrifying.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      I wonder what kind of process decaf it was that didn’t smell good at the grocery store. It was organic, but that does not guarantee it was water processed. I’ll ask next time. Thanks.

      Like

  20. dbp49
    November 9, 2014

    Not wanting to be affected by anyone else’s opinion I skipped reading the comments on this thread (one of my great joys is reading comments). Like yourself, I like my coffee STRONG. I have tried decaf on several occasions, thinking different brands might give somewhat different results. My conclusion is that if you drink decaf, and you want to save money, just save the dishwater after doing the supper dishes, reheat it to boiling, and drink that. To me at least, they’re roughly the same. Of course, that’s IMHO, with the stress on H.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      I think I’ll skip the dishwater AND the decaf and just stick to my little half cup of regular for now. Thanks for the advice.

      Like

  21. mjmsprt40
    November 9, 2014

    I despise decaf. No surprise there, I’m a driver. Truck-stop coffee, the way God intended coffee to be.

    Having said that– I have cut way back. Used to be I’d have three cups (the 24 ounce cup just so’s you know) throughout the day. These days I’ll have one of those, maybe two at the most– then something else the rest of the day. During the summer, “something else” is Lake Michigan’s Finest. We get Chicago water here, and I’ll fill a large container with water and a bag of ice– good to go for a couple of days until the ice melts. During the winter– now, for example– I’ll make up a quart of hot tea and pour that into the stainless-steel thermos.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Have you ever tried kombucha? I’m going to write a post about kombucha too. It gives me a real clean super energy charge when I drink it. I don’t have it every day though.

      Like

  22. John
    November 9, 2014

    Good question! For me, the coffee smells and tastes the same but without the kick. This is the same as brew with no alcohol – why bother? Some folks shouldn’t consume coffee for health reasons but if you are forced to drink the low test, then why bother…

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would drink non-alcoholic beer. I can see how decaf coffee is just the same difference.

      Like

    • grannyK
      November 9, 2014

      I drink coffee for the flavor, not the kick, so low caf coffee is just fine for me!

      Like

  23. ptero9
    November 9, 2014

    I used to drink coffee, but like you, have trouble with the caffeine. For awhile I drank decaf, but have given that up too. I’ve found some teas that I really enjoy, although they’re not coffee!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      What kind of tea do you prefer?

      Like

      • ptero9
        November 9, 2014

        Yogi, Green Tea Kambucha and Tzo Zen are my current favorites. Nothing like coffee, but…:)

        Like

  24. Grumpa Joe
    November 9, 2014

    I had to give up a seventy year old habit after experiencing the same effects. I did it gradually over two years. First I used half and half, now I am 100% certified caffeine free. The answer to your question is yes, it does taste like coffee and it still smells like coffee but not as strong as the real stuff. By the way, there are times when the remaining 3% has an effect on me if I drink too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. lorilschafer
    November 9, 2014

    I’m like you; I like bold, strong coffee – I can’t stand the taste of plain decaf. But a few years back my tolerance for it changed – to the point where I was misdiagnosed with anxiety because of the sweats and heart palpitations. (Here if you want to read it: http://lorilschafer.com/2014/06/30/is-your-anxiety-real-one-womans-experience-with-a-mental-disorder/) Anyway, I started playing around with ratios of regular to decaf to cut down on the caffeine, and I found that what works best is about 2:1 – that’s just enough regular coffee to cover up what the decaf portion is lacking. I generally drink mine half-and-half and it’s fine, but definitely not quite as good as the regular stuff.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Yeah, I’ve totally felt my heart racing to the point where I thought I was really upset about something and then realized it was too much caffeine actually. I’m doing fine with just a half cup once a day of regular.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Val Boyko
    November 9, 2014

    I’m with Melanie on this one πŸ™‚
    Porto Rico coffee and tea in NYC has some reasonable priced Swiss filtered decaff … order on line or call.
    Val x

    Like

  27. thebeautifiedblogger
    November 9, 2014

    I’m a major coffee drinker and I just can’t get into decaf. To me, decaf has a week bitter smell when I brew it and it lacks in a lot of flavor when I drink it. I’ve tried it from dunkins, I’ve tried brewing it at home, and I’ve tried it in the K cup form and they all tasted watered down, bitter, and weak to me! It has no body or oomph so I stick with regular! πŸ™‚

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Good to know. I guess I’ll just be sticking with my half-cup of regular. πŸ˜€

      Like

  28. reginadabean
    November 9, 2014

    Yuk. As far as I am concerned, decaf coffee shouldn’t exist. Caffeine is interesting, in that it effects each person’s metabolism differently. I have found that if I drink coffee without eating something I have much stronger effect of the caffeine then if I eat something with it. I have on occasion mixed half decaf and half regular coffee to try and minimize the caffeine content but still get some of the taste of the regular coffee. My own preference, however, is that if there is no regular coffee at all available I’d rather do without.

    Like

  29. The Otaku Judge
    November 9, 2014

    Can’t help. I’m more of a tea drinker.

    Like

  30. butchcountry67
    November 9, 2014

    it os true, the darker the roast the less caffeine there is, I am a coffeeholic and require a pot or 2 of medium roast coffee per day , I don’t get the burst of energy, rapid heart beats or staying awake side effects of coffee, I can’t sleep unless I have a cup before bed lol , tried decaf once…. horrid horrid stuff , doesn’t smell feel or taste like coffee, may as well just get some hot water color it with dark food coloring and drink that, pretty much the same,and way cheaper than the “coffee”

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Duly noted. That doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy at all. I might as well just drink tea if it is as bad as you describe. πŸ™‚

      Like

  31. Melanie
    November 9, 2014

    The solvent they are referring to is frequently but perhaps not always formaldehyde.

    A better option is Swiss-water-process decaf, which is more expensive.

    I am a committed coffee drinker but over the years have developed a taste for better coffees, and can sniff out a formaldehyde-decaf easily.

    If you want less caffeine but rich flavor and no formeldahyde, go with the darkest roast you can find. Dark roast has less caffeine (believe it or not-ask any barista!) so having an espresso with hot water (called “Americano”) is not nearly as potent as a cheapo medium or light roast from ordinary coffee companies like Folgers or Maxwell House or the standard gas-station/Dunkin Donuts swill. Lavazza and other true espresso beans (or pre-ground) come in bags sold at many grocery stores. Make an espresso (buy a $10 stove-top espresso pot) and add very hot water to your taste. You’ll have a rich flavor and less caffeine and the smell is fantastic.

    I brew my coffee in a regular drip-pot but use a decent quality light roast because I prefer one big hit of caffeine at the start of the day and let it wear off so I can sleep at night. But there was a time when I consumed so much caffeine that it didn’t keep me awake! I had to gradually wean myself down from that excessive consumption. However, I do still physically require some amount of caffeine daily or else suffer the consequences with a brutal and long lasting headache as the result of having zero caffeine.

    But it sounds like for your purposes a cafe Americano would strike the balance you need without the icky chemicals.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      You are a treasure trove of delightful information, Melanie! Thank you. I’ll have to look around for this espresso pot you tell of. Sounds good to me, and around $10 is a price I can afford. I already go for the darkest roast I can find, that is the taste I prefer, so I guess that is a good instinct. Thanks again! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      Oh, and water process decaf sounds soooo much better than solvent. Mmmm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie
        November 9, 2014

        There is a major difference in smell and taste, too, between standard solvent process and swiss-water-process. I can tolerate the water process, but it feels pointless to my needs so rarely bother. The stovetop espresso pot takes a little practice but my brother lived in Rome for almost a decade and taught me. You can get the little pot at any kitchen-specialty store and some grocery stores have them, too. It comes in several pieces and works similarly to the old-fadhioned percolators of the early 20th century. The Italians make a pot, pour it into a bowl with milk or cream, set it on the table and dip biscottti in it for a treat after a meal with friends!

        Like

        • thehonkinggoose
          November 9, 2014

          I think I’ll give it a try. Then when visitors come to my house I can say, “would you like an Americano?” instead of just offering coffee.

          Do children eat their biscotti with the coffee too?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Melanie
            November 9, 2014

            There you go!! I like to be silly-sophisticated with the right company.

            I’ll have to ask my brother about the other part…but, probably. That way of serving, in the bowl with cream, has a name i can’t remember right now.
            There’s also of course the habit of “cafΓ© corretto,” which means adding a shot of liqueur to your espresso. And years ago when I visited him in Rome, I discovered the delights of “cornetto simplice” which is approximately similar to a glazed donut/croissant but 1,000x better than anything stateside.

            Like

  32. deepbluesandseafoamgreens
    November 9, 2014

    I drink decaf. And it’s actually not too bad, in my opinion. Sure it might seem different at first, but you get used to it.

    Like

  33. weight2lose2013
    November 9, 2014

    I don’t drink decaf because part of my enjoyment of coffee is the elevated, if temporary, burst of energy that it provides me. I don’t think that I’ve ever tasted decaf, though. I get my coffee through a place called [The Coffee Fool] They have a decent amount of decaf coffee for sale.

    *[edit]

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 9, 2014

      I don’t really notice the caffeine affecting me that way. I don’t know why.

      Like

  34. Victo Dolore
    November 9, 2014

    Hate decaf.

    Like

  35. Yoshiko
    November 9, 2014

    I don’t know about decaf.

    Like

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