Did you know that more than 66% of American adults drink coffee every day? That is about 517 million cups per day or 146 billion cups each year. Surprisingly, it appears that American women drink a lot of coffee compared to their male counterparts. Nonetheless, the caffeine tolerance levels vary from one coffee drinker to another. Some people love that energy boost from caffeine, while others prefer a healthy, caffeine-free coffee alternative. With that, I have prepared this post to help you understand the difference between decaf and regular coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee has low caffeine content while regular coffee is filled with natural caffeine.
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What is Decaf Coffee and How is It Made?
Decaffeinated coffee is a type of coffee with nearly all its caffeine content eliminated from the coffee beans during production. This coffee contains a small percentage of caffeine, undetectable for most coffee lovers.
Even so, the exact caffeine leftover amount present in your decaf coffee depends on the coffee brand of choice. But generally, it ranges from 1 to 5%. For that reason, always remember to check the label on the packaging before buying your decaf coffee. That way, you will get to buy coffee that is up to standard and meets your preferences.
The decaffeination process involves steaming raw or unroasted coffee beans. After that, the beans undergo rinsing to eliminate the excess caffeine. Another method includes soaking the coffee beans in hot water for some time.
You can also use a charcoal filter or a carbon filter to remove the caffeine from coffee beans. The method is referred to as the Swiss Water Process.
No matter the method used, the coffee beans undergo drying and roasting processes as usual. In a cup of decaf coffee, you get about 7 mg of caffeine, while the same cup of regular coffee gives you a whopping 70 mg of caffeine.
What is Regular Coffee?
Regular coffee is coffee that contains a lot of natural caffeine. With this coffee, the coffee beans do not go through a decaffeinating process of any kind.
The coffee beans processing involves separating the green coffee beans from the coffee cherries and drying them. After that, the beans are roasted and packed, ready for consumption. The roasting process does not impact the caffeine content, as many believe.
Initially, most coffee lovers opted for regular coffee. But in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people going for decaf coffee. Perhaps, many have become health conscious and are watching their caffeine intake. But what makes the two coffee options different? Let’s find out.
The Difference Between Decaf and Regular Coffee
Basically, regular and decaf coffee differ in caffeine content, health benefits, acids, and the ultimate taste. Allow me to take you through the details.
Decaf coffee is not caffeine-free. But the coffee beans undergo a process that removes most of their caffeine content. In most cases, a 6-once decaf coffee cup contains 0-7mg of caffeine.
In a similar 6-ounce cup of regular coffee, you get about 70-140 mg of caffeine. The type of coffee beans used and the brand determines the amount of caffeine in your decaf coffee or regular coffee.
Robusta beans tend to have twice the caffeine content compared to Arabica beans. Therefore, if you want to cut your caffeine intake, also consider the type of beans you buy.
In regard to acidity levels, decaf coffee takes the lead. You can attribute the high acid levels in decaf coffee to the type of beans used in the decaffeination process. The coffee often uses Robusta beans, which are high in acid and caffeine content than other coffee bean types.
You measure acidity using PH levels. A PH level higher than 7 indicates that the acid level is lower. When it is less than 7, the acid is a lot. A PH level of 7 means neutral. Decaf coffee has a PH level of 5.0 to 5.1.
Whether decaf or regular, coffee poses many health benefits. The two coffee options have antioxidants, like hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, which are Delgada coffee’s main benefits. But the amount of these antioxidants is less in decaf coffee because some disappear during the decaffeination process.
The antioxidants help decrease oxidative damage and minimize the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes type 2.
But since decaf coffee and regular coffee differ in their acidity levels and caffeine content, there is a slight difference in their health benefits.
The high caffeine in regular coffee gives you a quick energy boost. However, the stimulant increases the risk of high blood pressure and other heart conditions. Besides, you may face other side effects like insomnia, stomach upsets, and nervousness.
With decaf coffee, you get all the vital nutrients and vitamins while avoiding the side effects caused by high caffeine intake. But decaf coffee also has its side effects, including raising LDL cholesterol and fatty acids in the body.
Decaf and regular coffee taste different. The decaffeinating process not only removes caffeine from the coffee beans, but also the crema, aroma, flavors, and other chemical compounds of the bean. These changes in proportions ruin the naturally balanced taste of the coffee.
Those used to regular coffee may find decaf coffee weird-tasting. But not everyone feels that. There are those coffee lovers who prefer the taste of decaf coffee. Therefore, it all goes back to personal preference.
Decaf Vs. Regular coffee: Which One Should You Buy?
The choice between decaf and regular coffee narrows down to preference and tolerance. For those people who are caffeine intolerant or need to reduce their caffeine intake due to medical reasons, decaf coffee would be the best option.
Also, if you want to quit your caffeine addiction, decaf coffee is the way to go. You will still get the same taste and aroma as regular but with less caffeine.
But if you prefer your daily caffeine boost, then regular coffee got your back. Just ensure that you do not exceed the recommended amount of caffeine intake in a day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is decaf coffee safe for pregnant women?
A. Pregnant mothers are safe to drink decaf coffee in moderation. That’s because it contains minimal amounts of caffeine that are less harmful to fetal development. Medical experts often advise against drinking regular coffee during pregnancy because of its high caffeine content.
Q. Is decaf coffee good for losing weight?
A. Decaf coffee is one of the best alternatives to include in your diet if you want to lose weight. However, adding additives such as sugar and cream can ruin your weight loss journey
Do not allow the available statistics about a high number of Americans taking coffee to worry you. Because you now know the difference between decaf coffee and regular coffee, the ball is in your hands to decide the most suitable for you. You can even opt for both by taking regular coffee during morning hours and decaf coffee at night to quench that night coffee craving before catching some sleep.