Difference between Decaf and Regular Coffee

Caffeine is a natural component of coffee beans. Like regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine. If you have caffeine intolerance, decaf coffee is not recommended for you same way as regular coffee. So then what is the difference between decaf and regular coffee? We will explore the matter in the following article.


Decaf vs Regular Coffee
Before coffee beans are roasted, they are simple green beans. These are green beans that are used in the decaffeination process. This is what unroasted, green coffee beans look like.

Decaffeinated coffee uses coffee beans with the caffeine removed. Almost all flavors and all oil are removed from coffee beans. During the subsequent process of decaffeination, flavor is imparted back into beans. All these processes are performed by second party companies, and not the roasting companies or the farm companies. Sometimes roasting companies buy a lot of coffee from the farm company and then send some of it for the decaffeination process. In Brazil, a country which is a world leader in supplying coffee, there are companies that are trying to genetically alter coffee, so it contains little or no caffeine. Today it is an expensive process and there is not much genetically altered coffee on the market.

The processes to remove caffeine from coffee beans include:

Solvent-based processes:

  1. Direct process. In this process a chemical touches the beans and makes them free of caffeine.
  2. Indirect process. In this process, chemicals don’t touch the beans.

Non-solvent, or chemical-free processes. These include:

  1. Water-based process, which essentially is about soaking the caffeine from the beans.
  2. Carbone dioxide processes, in which carbon dioxide works in place of chemical solvents. Essentially, carbon dioxide releases the alkaloid from coffee beans, and you get decaffeinated beans as a result.
Roasted coffee beans
Roasted coffee beans

Regular coffee may refer to different beverages, depending on the region in the United States. In New York, for example, regular coffee would be with milk and sugar, while in some Midwest states regular coffee means only black coffee (with no cream added.)

Coffee is a beverage that is prepared from roasted coffee beans. These beans are actually the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. Coffee is an acidic drink, and it can affect the human brain. It has a stimulating effect on the human organism due to the caffeine it contains. There is a large variety of methods to prepare coffee, including espresso, cappuccino, café latte and mocca.

Coffee is usually sold in the roasted state. The degree to which the beans are roasted is known as grading. Coffee can be labeled as light, medium light, medium, medium dark, dark, or very dark. Different roasting types are known to have a different effect on the human organism. For example, dark and very dark roast coffees are stronger, because they contain less fiber content and have a more sugary flavor. Light and medium light coffees are perceived as more flavored because they contain more oil.

Roasting does not change the amount of caffeine in the bean. There is less caffeine when the beans are measured by volume because the beans swell while roasting.

Coffee cuppers
Coffee “cuppers”, or professional tasters, grade the coffee

Comparison chart

Decaf Regular coffee
Is considered “unnatural” coffee Is considered “proper” coffee
Contains less caffeine Contains the proper amount of caffeine
Hard to find a good cup of decaf Easy to find a good cup of regular coffee

Decaf vs Regular Coffee

What is the difference between decaf and regular coffee?

  • Among coffee aficionados and addicts, decaffeinated coffee is considered “unnatural.” They think that it goes against nature to alter the original coffee beans that make a regular coffee taste like it tastes. They think it is better not to drink coffee at all than to drink decaf.
  • Decaffeination processes described above remove roughly 95 percent of caffeine from coffee beans. However, decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine. A study conducted in 2006 showed that nine out of ten cups of decaffeinated coffee contained between 8.6 mg to 13.9 mg of caffeine. By comparison, a regular cup of coffee contains 85 mg of caffeine. The only coffee that does not contain any caffeine whatsoever is instant decaf coffee crystals.
  • A good cup of decaffeinated coffee is hard to find, as any decaf fan knows. On the other hand, in any city in the world, you can easily find a great cup of regular coffee.


In this video you can see a detailed description of how one of the processes of decaffeination works, namely the Swiss Water Process.