Seven myths about decaffei­nated coffee

Here are seven facts to help clear up the most common misconceptions and turn you into a Decaf Expert.

  • Myth 1

    There is no caffeine in decaffeinated coffee.

    Decaffeinated coffee still contains trace amounts of caffeine. In general, an 8 oz. cup of decaf contains 5-10 mg of caffeine, while the average 8 oz cup of regular coffee contains around 95 mg. (The average cup of Peet’s can go as high as 125 mg.) The caffeine level in a cup of coffee depends on a variety factors, from the grind and brewing method you select, to the temperature of water used and amount of time it’s immersed.

  • Myth 2

    All decaffeinated coffee tastes weak.

    If you’ve had weak tasting decaf, the real culprit is the beans that were used.

    The reason Peet’s decaf is described as tasting like “the real thing” is that we select the exact same high-quality coffees for decaffeination that are in our regular coffees. For instance, Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend is the same blend of coffees as in our best-selling, fully caffeinated version. We’d happily put any of our decafs up against other roasters’ coffee for flavor, caffeinated or not.

  • Myth 3

    Decaffeination happens after the coffee has been roasted.

    The decaffeination step occurs very early on, when the coffee is still green, well before it’s been roasted. The process of decaffeination involves swelling the beans with water in order to allow the caffeine to be extracted. So if you were to put coffee that’s been roasted into a decaffeination bath, you’d essentially be making vast amounts of coffee.

  • Myth 4

    Decaffeinated coffee is full of chemicals.

    There are two primary methods of decaffeination most roasters utilize. The first is a water process that uses (you guessed it) hot water to plump up the beans and allow the caffeine to be extracted.

    The second method of decaffeination is even more common and works in a similar way but uses a wash to draw the caffeine out of the soaked beans. The wash evaporates due to exposure to heat during the drying stage.

    Peet’s offers a number of choices for decaf coffee, from our water processed Decaf Mocca-Java to our conventionally processed best seller, Decaf Sumatra. No matter which decaffeination method is used, rest assured, you are drinking coffee, not chemicals, when you brew it.

  • Myth 5

    The “Swiss Water Process” only happens in Switzerland.

    While there are several companies that specialize in water process decaffeination, only one company is able to use the trademarked term “Swiss Water Process”: the Swiss Water Decaffeinated Company. However, it’s located in Canada, not Switzerland, and it does not use water that is “Swiss.”

  • Myth 6

    Coffee roasters decaffeinate their own coffee.

    Decaffeination is not done by roasters, but by companies that specialize in the decaffeination process. In fact, coffee decaffeination is primarily done outside of the United States, mainly in Canada (see Myth #5) and Mexico.

  • Myth 7

    There is a breed of decaffeinated coffee plants.

    Nope. Genetically speaking, caffeine is in all 100+ species of coffea, though the levels of caffeine vary somewhat. For instance, there’s about twice as much caffeine in Coffea Robusta as there is in Coffea Arabica. However, the reason Peet’s exclusively selects Arabica coffee due to its superior flavor, not lower caffeine content.

Why peet’s decaf tastes like “the real thing.”

If people say Peet’s decaf doesn’t taste like decaf, it’s with good reason: every Peet’s decaf, from our Decaf Sumatra to our famed Decaf Major Dickason’s Blend, is made with the exact same high-quality coffee beans that we offer on our regular bean menu. Most roasters don’t source their own coffees first, relying instead on the decaffeinator for their beans, but starting with superior coffees is the only way to guarantee a decaf with so much depth and rich flavor it tastes like “the real thing.”

Shop decaf coffees

Decaf Sumatra

"I've been drinking Peet's Sumatra decaf for years and love it! I get a rich, full bodied cup that blows away anybody else's decaf. I get such great coffee flavor that I don't even miss the caffeine."
—Walt79

Decaf Major Dickason

"My husband, Mr. Caffeine himself raved, saying it was better than any caffeinated coffee he'd ever tasted. The flavor is strong, robust but not bitter. I would never have believed this could be a reality for me. I LOVE IT."
-SamTheGirl

Decaf French Roast

"I have had a standing order for Decaf French roast. This is the best: no other decaf French roast comes close to it."
-marizona50