Finding the best decaf coffee is really tough; especially if you’re looking for the best dark roast decaf coffee that is also smooth, i.e. not bitter.
Typical Industrial Decaf
Before you even open the bag of decaf coffee, those poor decaf beans have been bent-folded-and-mutilated. Take a regular green coffee bean and put it next to a green decaf coffee bean and you’ll feel sorry for that poor ugly decaf bean.
How did it get so ugly? Well over 95% of all decaf coffee has been decaffeinated by using a variety of chemical, mechanical, and industrial processes, including a chemical, which is very similar to formaldehyde (You know, the chemical they use to embalm people before burying them). After all that abuse, no wonder the bean is so ugly and unfortunately barely resembles the taste of real coffee.
Putting ugly aside, most decaf coffee tastes nasty and nothing like real coffee. Therefore, most industrial coffee companies burn the snot out of the beans so that you can’t taste all those chemicals. The end result is a cup of decaf coffee that tastes bitter and burnt. So, the bad news is that there is no best dark roast decaf coffee. Well at least not from the industrial coffee companies like Folders, Yuban, Charbucks, or anything from Costco or the grocery store.
Swiss Water Processed Decaf Coffee
A very small percentage of decaf coffee is decaffeinated via 100% pure water. This decaffeination system is called Swiss Water Processed. This all-natural water process extracts most of the caffeine, leaving most of the oils inside the bean. These coffee bean oils are where all the good stuff resides, including the bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and flavor.
Smoothest Decaf Coffee
I don’t like burnt and bitter industrial coffee and neither do my customers. To us, great coffee should be smooth as silk; without a hint of bitterness; and that includes decaf coffee. At Lake City Coffee, I source all of my beans, including the decaf beans, from Costa Rica; well known for some of the smoothest coffee beans in the world.
Best Dark Roast Decaf Coffee
Once I have naturally smooth, naturally sweet, and naturally decaffeinated coffee beans, the next step is roasting those beans in such a way as to bring out their best qualities.
If you like the snot burnt out of your coffee, then go buy Charbucks, because you’re not going to like what I’m going to say next.
Because of the abuse that these decaf coffee beans have already experienced, they need to be gently and slowly roasted to a medium or dark brown. Therefore, the best dark roast decaf coffee is Lake City Coffee’s Delectable Decaf.
We receive more reviews and accolades for our Delectable Decaf than our other three regular roasts combined. Just check out these reviews (Click Here).
Fresh Decaf Beans
Here’s the bad news. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, there is no space age packaging technology that can keep coffee, especially decaf coffee, tasting fresh for more than 30 days. After 30 days, all coffee, even mine, will start to go stale and taste bitter.
Yet, a vast majority of coffee sold in the US has been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for months if not years. No wonder American’s are so used to drinking bitter coffee.
Obviously, the only solution is to buy fresh beans and use them within 30 days. That’s why at Lake City Coffee; I measure freshness by the hour not by the month. You’ll find my roast date on each bag. In fact, I guarantee, “From my roaster to your table in 24-48 hours, anywhere in the US”.
Grinding The Best Decaf
You may not like hearing this, but your cheap-ass blade grinder sucks. More importantly it makes bad coffee. Get a burr grinder. Burr is a type of grinder, similar to your pepper grinder. They run about $60 on up.
The good news is that I’ve been using mine once or twice a day for about 6 years and it’ll probably keep working for another 6 years. What does that mean to you? Don’t buy a new one.
Go on Amazon and buy a used one. There will still be plenty of life left in a used burr grinder. (Click Here) then scroll down to my grinder recommendations.
Brewing The Best Decaf
To be perfectly honest, all things being equal, decaf, will never taste as good as regular coffee. Yet, I hear many of my customers tell me that my decaf is better than any regular coffee in the store. Come on. Really? They’re comparing apples to oranges. But, here’s the point. If you want decaf coffee that can rival regular coffee, then you need to understand this truth. Great beans and great roasting is only half of the great-cup-of-coffee equation.
If you want great coffee, especially decaf coffee, then you need to know how to brew your coffee correctly. If you have a drip machine, sadly it ranks near the bottom of the brewing scale.
The best brewing methods allow the coffee grounds to steep (like tea) in the hot water. Pass-through methods, like a drip machine, or pour over, or slow drip, clearly produce inferior coffee as compared to steeping methods. IMHO.
Below are my personal and professional recommendations for brewing great decaf coffee.
- Cold Brew – By far makes the smoothest coffee on the planet. This process costs nothing, is fast, and super easy. And if you want it hot, then there’s no reason why you can’t just heat it up in a microwave. (Click Here) then scroll down to my Cold brew video.
- AeroPress – Talk about smooth. The AeroPress is dirt cheap, fast, and smooth as silk and costs a whopping $29 on Amazon. (Click Here) then scroll down to my AeroPress video.
- French Press – I have a love/hate relationship with the French Press. If you really want to know exactly what your coffee really tastes like, then this is it. The French Press doesn’t hide anything. I recommend that you let the grounds steep for no more than 2 minutes. Any longer than that, and the coffee will be bitter.
For those of you coffee snobs that would never touch decaf, all I can say is that you’re missing out on a good late-night comfort food pig-out.