Decaf Coffee: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, August 16, 2012

If caffeine gives you the jitters you may opt for coffee that’s “de-buzzed.” But is this a healthy choice?

While caffeine does have some health benefits, too much can be harmful, especially if you have a heart condition. For this reason, many folks opt for the decaf version of their morning (or evening) Joe. Decaf can also come in handy if you’re trying to break the caffeine habit. Pregnant women sometimes switch to decaf to keep their morning ritual somewhat intact.

Coffee is also famous for it’s antioxidant content. Some of the specific antioxidants vary depending on the type of coffee bean, but both decaf and regular provide some of these cell protecting nutrients.

It may not affect the nutritional quality but most would agree there’s a flavor difference between caffeinated and decaf coffee. There’s also been some controversy over the safety of the decaffeination process.

Legend has it that back in the early 1960s and 70’s potentially carcinogenic solvents were used to extract caffeine but nowadays more natural plant-based solvents, plain water, or CO2 (carbon dioxide) are most commonly used.

Despite efforts to strip all the caffeine, a small amount does remain. Eight fluid ounces of decaf coffee from Starbucks averages 3 to 12 milligrams of caffeine; a cup of regular brew has 160 milligrams.

The Verdict: Decaf will deprive you of caffeine but that’s about it. If coffee without the buzz is the right choice for you, there’s no need to worry.

Tell Us: Do you drink decaf or regular?

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Comments (1,487)

  1. Carla Jo. says:

    I drink regular either with some milk/cream or black. I try to keep it to one cup a day and drink it for the flavor and for the little burst in the morning. I will say sometimes I like to drink it whenever I have a craving for the flavor.

  2. Terrie says:

    Aren't you "why bother" people being a little harsh? I've never drunk coffee for the buzz. I like the taste of coffee and I drink decaf. I have heart palpatations and I try to avoid caffeine at all costs – in tea, coffee, sodas, etc. I have a much calmer life because of it.

    • Denise says:

      I agree with you Terrie. I'm on multiple blood pressure meds and don't need the caffeine. Choose your decafs wisely and they taste fine. I buy whole beans at Corrado's and have them custom grind it. The Kona blend and Espresso (yup, espresso) are great.

  3. LOUIS MABRY says:


  4. Laura says:

    Everything in moderation. I have 1/2 to 1 cup a day. i really like to soak my oatmeal in it overnight to make a healthy breakfast version of tiramisu. :)

  5. Leslie says:

    I am prone to migraines, do I switched to decaf when I was in my teens. I am a big fan of the taste of coffee, and enjoy decaf coffee just as much as I used to enjoy regular. I don't need to drink it every day, it is more of a treat for me.

  6. kathy says:

    I mix decaf & regular & brew…….love it, but it has to be folgers!!!! The best

    • BJJ says:

      I agree…..It must be Folgers! But they now make 1/2 caf and I can't do without it. It still has that great taste and guests don't notice the difference. Being of Norsk descent, I need my coffee. Perfect solution!!

  7. MCS says:

    I drink decaf because I have a heart condition that makes drinking cafianted drinks so not worth what I would go through including a trip to the ER. I am not really a big coffee drinker anyway but when I do drinking decaf doesn't really bother me at all. I think if you stick to it you will get used to it, plus I don't have to depend on caffine to "keep me going"!

  8. Shirley Bates says:

    I drink caffinated coffee in the morning and the rest of the day it's decaf for me. I also do the same with my iced tea. Usually I drink decaff tea all day, but sometimes I drink regular in the morning and then the decaff.

  9. Virginia says:

    Dinking decaf is a health issue for me. My heart was racing and I was having irregular heartbeats every fourth beat. My internist ordered no caffeine for a week and then wear a heart monitor for twenty four hours. The results were dramatic—-only four irregular beats in twenty four hours. After several years of following this plan, my heart is back to normal according to my regular visit to the internist yesterday. I have been drinking a mug of decaf (Folgers Simply Smooth Decaf, which is 99.7% Caffeine Free) for all these years with no harmful effects. When ordering coffee in a restaurant, I make certain the wait staff understands my problem. I have not missed the "jitters."

  10. Flora says:

    I used to be a caffeine junkie. I could not start my day without it. As I aged, it became an enemy to me. I could not sleep or settle down. I started to drink decaf, and my body felt as if was coming apart for a few days with withdrawal symptoms. After I adjusted, I enjoy decaf without experiencing the jitters. I love Starbuck coffee, but I also enjoy my own. The secret is making the coffee taste good and smooth. This can be achieved by using one tablespoon of grounds per cup. The measurement process gives the coffee a rich blend that is very satisfying to me. I hate weak coffee because it is robbed of flavor.

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