The difference between decaf and caffeinated coffee

What’s the Difference Between Decaf and Caffeinated Coffee?

The debate between decaf and caffeinated coffee has been raging for as long as I can remember. As coffee drinkers, we're still not clear which one we should opt for. The allure of our favorite beverage is such, that chances are whichever way you drink it, you'll be back for more.

However, before you choose your new coffee machine, it is better to know the difference between decaf and caffeinated coffee.

10 Differences Between Decaf & Caffeinated Coffee

Decaf verses caffeinated coffee

1. Quantity of Caffeine

The most obvious difference is in the amount of caffeine. In decaf, 95% of the caffeine is removed. According to a study, 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee consist of 10 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, a regular cup of coffee consists of 85 mg of caffeine. So, the difference is quite stark.

Now that you are aware of the difference in the caffeine content let us go further to understand a few more differences between both the versions of coffee.

2. Quantum of Anti-Oxidants

During the roasting process, the decaf coffee and the regular coffee both suffer from a mild loss in anti-oxidant compounds. Anti-oxidants are beneficial for the body. However, when you look at decaf coffee, you will realize that the loss of anti-oxidants is on the higher side. It's due to the process which it goes through to reduce the caffeine content.

When it comes to the presence of anti-oxidants, you can be sure that caffeinated coffee is a better choice.

3. PH Levels

Another factor which most of us are not aware of is that decaffeinated coffee is more acidic. During the soaking process, the taste and the pH level of the decaffeinated coffee go through some drastic changes. That is why, if you do not prefer acidic beverages or coffee altogether, you should avoid consuming decaf coffee.

When you look at the pH levels of decaffeinated coffee, it is around 5. Substances having pH levels of less than 7 are considered to be acidic. When you look at the pH of caffeinated or regular coffee, it is between 4 and 4.5. It reflects that decaffeinated coffee is much more acidic than the caffeinated ones.

That is why, if you’re prone to acidity or acid reflux, it is advisable to avoid decaffeinated coffee altogether.

Hand holding a cup of decaf coffee

4. The Taste

The main difference is in the taste. When you look at the decaffeinating process, you will realize that it involves soaking coffee beans in a chemical extract to reduce the caffeine levels. The problem is the other properties of the coffee beans like aroma and flavor reduces in such a case.

That is why, if you prefer the balanced taste of regular coffee, you will not find the same in the decaffeinated one. It has an acquired taste, but at the start, it will seem pretty weird.

5. Stimulation

Everyone knows that caffeinated coffee is famous for providing you with a shot of energy. That is why, when drinking coffee before bed, might leave you wide-awake. On the other hand, when speaking about decaffeinated coffee, it has no such property.

Since the caffeine content is on the lower side, neither will you experience a burst of energy nor it will leave you wide-awake. That is why, if you want to enjoy coffee as a beverage, decaf is the best option for you.

6. Metabolic Activity

Caffeine can speed up your metabolic activity. As a result, the nutrients are better extracted from your food, and toxins are flushed out pretty well. As a result, it can reduce the pace of fat deposition in your body as well.

On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee has no impact on your metabolic activity. That is why; if you want to tap into the metabolic benefits of coffee, caffeinated coffee is the way to go.

7. The Safe Threshold for Consumption

Caffeine has its benefits. However, you can only derive these benefits when consuming caffeinated coffee in moderate amounts. If you drink less than 3 cups of coffee a day, you can go with caffeinated coffee. In such a case, the pros will far outweigh the cons.

However, if you drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day, you must go with decaffeinated coffee. In such a case, it will help you curb your beverage addiction and will not cause side effects that you experience from the intake of regular coffee.

8. Extraction Process

Many coffee connoisseurs think that decaffeinated coffee is unnatural. That is because; the caffeine levels in decaffeinated coffee are artificially reduced using chemical process. Due to this very reason, they do not prefer to drink it. While it might be true to a certain extent, but since there is no addition of artificial ingredients, it cannot be called unnatural coffee.

On the other hand, regular coffee beans can undergo vast processing before being converted into coffee powder. That is why; none of them can be called as unnatural.

Pregnant woman sitting on the edge of bed drinking coffee

9. Effect on Fertility

Caffeine in large quantities can reduce fertility. According to research, it is advisable to limit the consumption of caffeine when you’re pregnant. You can drink caffeinated coffee in limited amounts, but you have to be very careful.

When it comes to decaf coffee, since; the quantity of caffeine is on the lower side, consumption is comparatively safer. These days, with the advanced decaffeination processes, the amount of caffeine can even be reduced by 99.9%, which means that consumption is relatively safe for even pregnant women.

10. Hydration Levels

Anything less than 300 mg of caffeine has no impact on hydration levels in the body. However, if you go through multiple cups of caffeinated coffee throughout the day, there might be some water loss. It can dehydrate you if you consume more than 300 mg of caffeine throughout the day.

On the other hand, the decaffeinated version does not have any such dehydration effect. That is why; it is better to switch over to decaffeinated coffee, especially during the summer months. It will prevent any loss of water levels in the body, which will help you maintain proper energy levels as well.

Final Thoughts

So, when you’re torn between decaf and caffeinated coffee, these are the ten differences which you need to keep in mind. Accordingly, you can make your decision.

It is better to switch over to decaffeinated coffee if you are okay with the taste. It will help you reduce caffeine consumption on a day-to-day basis. If you drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day, it's advisable to make the switch to decaf.

However, both caffeinated and decaf have benefits, so, you should take them into account before making your final decision.

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