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Professional Micro Market, Vending, & Coffee Service


Does Decaf Coffee Taste the Same as Regular Coffee?

Depends on whom you ask, mostly.

Coffee aficionados will say that they can tell you the difference between regular and decaf coffee, but is that true?

If there is a different flavor profile between the two, how would you go about pairing healthy snacks with your coffee?

Luckily, there is an answer to both of those questions.

To determine the answer to if there is a different taste, one must first explore what makes the two different (yes, it is more than their caffeine levels).

What is Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee has successfully gone through the decaffeination process. This process removes all caffeine from the coffee beans, but the coffee still contains 1 to 2 percent caffeine content, says Wikipedia.

To remove the caffeine content. However, the beans go through one of two decaffeination methods: indirect and direct.

  • Direct Method: The direct method steams the coffee beans to open their pores and then the beans are rinsed with chemicals known as dichloromethane and ethyl acetate for approximately 10 hours until the caffeine content is minimum. The beans are steamed again to remove remaining solvent.
  • Indirect Method: Beans are soaked first for several hours then removed and placed off to the side while chemicals are used to extract the caffeine from the water. This process takes several stages.

In the past, decaffeination involved chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene and chloroform. While the new chemicals are less carcinogenic and toxic, they still have their risks.

What is Regular Coffee?

Regular coffee does not go through the decaffeination process. However, the beans are not labeled “regular.” Instead, they are identified based on the region where they are served. Most regular coffee beans have been pre-roasted and are categorized by light, dark and medium roasts. Different roasting will determine their effect on a person, with dark roasts having stronger profiles, but less caffeine.

Is There a Difference in Taste?

Decaffeinated coffee to aficionados is an unnatural coffee; therefore, some would say it has a different taste than regular coffee; especially because the acidic nature is not as present.

In a taste test study conducted by The Huffington Post, the results were mixed.

Five out of their eight taste testers could tell which hot cup of coffee was decaf. The coffee drinkers said that the regular coffee had an acidity that the decaf coffee did not. Three out of the eight testers, however, only identified the proper iced coffee as decaf. Then, only two out of eight guessed the decaf in both hot and iced varieties.

So, a person is more likely to notice a flavor difference in hot coffee due to the bitterness and acidity of regular coffee. With iced coffee, however, it is more difficult because the melting ice tends to dilute the bitterness.

Pairing Healthy Snacks with Decaf or Regular Coffee

With little difference in taste, or at least nothing that is intensely noticeable, it would come down to the region where the decaf or regular coffee came from to determine which healthy snacks pair up just right.

Common Coffee Pairings Based on Region

  • Latin American Coffees: Most coffees come from Central and South America, such as Colombia, Mexico and Costa Rica. These coffees are balanced and tangy. Therefore, they go best with breakfast items, such as blueberry muffins, fruits, nuts and granola.
  • Africa or Arabia Coffees: Coffees that originate from the Middle East are fruity and have spices and cocoa to them. Therefore, they pair best with fresh fruits and treats with chocolate or cinnamon.
  • Asian or Pacific Coffees: Coffee beans that are grown in the Pacific islands and Indonesia are very earthy and robust in flavor. They pair excellently with healthy snacks like cheese platters, toffee, herbaceous crackers and cinnamon items.
  • Ethiopian Coffees: These are typically washed coffees that have chocolate and fruit notes that are adamant. Therefore, they pair best with healthy snacks that include dark chocolate.

Common Pairings of Healthy Snacks with Coffees:

  • Scones: Scones are great with black and green teas, but equally delicious with Costa Rican, Kona or Nicaraguan coffee varieties. Sometimes they mesh well with Mexican coffees, but only if the scones have more citrus than spicy notes.
  • Muffins: Muffins work best with Mexican and Costa Rican coffee varieties.
  • Nut Bread: Nut breads work with almost all types of coffees, but pumpkin works best with Colombian, while Kenyan and Kona coffees work better with banana bread.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal works best with a lightly roasted Kona.
  • Wheat Toast and Granola Varieties: These benefit more from light to medium-roasted Guatemalan or Brazilian coffees.

Considerations when Pairing Healthy Snacks with Coffee

Coffee can be healthy for you and your office staff to enjoy. However, it is all in moderation.

Per Medical News Today, coffee does offer a plethora of health benefits, including lowering a person’s risk for liver disease and preventing diabetes. Some studies have shown that coffee can help control movement in those who have Parkinson’s disease, while for others it may reduce the risk of liver cancer by 40 percent.

However, most of these health benefits pertain to caffeinated (regular) coffees than decaf coffee varieties. Caffeine plays an essential role in health, says AARP. Caffeine in mild doses can also lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure.

While there are health benefits, you may find that some of your staff still prefer decaf coffee or do not like the bitterness of regular coffee.

Bevco Can Help

When it comes time to stock your office full of healthy snacks and a variety of beverages, let the team at Bevco Service, Inc. help. We offer everything from healthy snacks in our vending machines to coffee services for the office.

Contact us today to learn about our products by calling 609-835-4400 or contact us online.