Everything you need to know about decaf coffee and a caffeine detox
From cutting back to cutting out, rethinking how you consume caffeine can actually improve how you enjoy your coffee. No matter what though, Decaf is so good theses days that you don’t need to sacrifice your love of coffee! Here we take a deeper look and answer some of the big questions surrounding a caffeine detox …
- Should I give up caffeine?
- Is Caffeine bad for you
- Is decaf coffee bad for you?
- How can I drink coffee but still sleep well?
- Don’t Detox, just ‘decaf after midday’ instead
- What’s the best decaffeination process?
- Is it true the decaffeination process involves chemicals / solvents?
- Will decaf improve my wellness and wellbeing?
- Will caffeine help or hinder my gym workout and sporting performance?
- Ditching the caffeine, not the ritual
- Should I give up caffeine while pregnant?
- Should I just drink Half Caff coffee blends?
- Am I addicted to caffeine?
- What is a caffeine allergy vs. caffeine intolerance
Should I give up caffeine?
If you’re reading this, the chances are we agree that coffee is a wonderful drink, but your caffeine tolerance might totally differ from my caffeine tolerance.
We know that a healthy amount of caffeine can lead to an improvement in productivity and focus. Too much though, or if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, and it can make us jittery, anxious and unable to sleep.
So it’s a fine balance that we all need to figure out for ourselves. If you’re struggling with caffeine though, if it’s affecting your work, concentration or wellbeing, then it might be time to dip out for a bit.
Top tip: Step back and rethink how you consume caffeine - and how much - to keep tabs on your wellbeing. Don’t forget to include any cheeky cans of coke or other food and drink containing caffeine!
Is Caffeine bad for you
Despite our support for decaf coffee, Nick and I truly believe the increased alertness and the enjoyable buzz that a morning coffee delivers are good for the soul!
You’ll also be pleased to hear that regular coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of several cancers (including breast, prostate, colorectal and endometrial), cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and possibly depression and suicide.
So there you have it. Plenty of arguments to keep drinking the good stuff such as our new Flight House Roast blend!
Is decaf coffee bad for you?
As mentioned above, yes it can be as not all decaf coffee is created equal.
That’s why we only source and sell decafs that have been decaffeinated using natural processes, such as our Swiss Water Decafs and our Mountain Water bean and ground decaf coffees.
Top Tip: always seek out naturally decaffeinated coffees and grill your local barista or café owner on how their decaf beans have been processed!
How can I drink coffee but still sleep well?
There are a few schools of thought on this one and even sleep expert and TED speaker Matthew Walker has come round to agreeing coffee in the morning is ok. The thing is, caffeine has a half-life of around 11 hours, which means if we work backwards from our ideal bedtime, we don’t want to be drinking any of it past say 11am. Walker concluded that 25% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee consumed at noon is still circulating in your brain when you go to bed at midnight.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that not everyone is the same. What works for one won’t for another. For example, my Blue Goose co-founder, Nick, can drink coffee right up until he goes to bed and still get a full night’s kip.
Don’t Detox, just ‘decaf after midday’ instead
A caffeine detox is great but it’s not for everyone. I tried it and got on well but I’ve decided that I am definitely in the decaf after midday camp. It’s simple - hit the caffeinated coffee in the morning for that bright pick-me-up to get your day going before switching to decaf after midday. You’ll avoid the detox-related headaches and hardships but still benefit from better sleep and no more hours of buzzing in bed.
Thanks to modern decaf coffee processes like Swiss Water, Mountain Water, Co2 decafs or even sugarcane decafs, you really won’t know the difference!
Top Tip: Fire up your day with caffeinated coffee in the morning then switch to decaf after midday to minimize anxiety and buzzing at bedtime
Why not try…our custom bean and ground bundles and our custom coffee pod bundles. Each allow you to mix and match the exact caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees of your choice from our range
What’s the best decaffeination process?
It’s widely accepted in the speciality coffee industry that the Swiss Water Process is perhaps the best decaffeination process for preserving flavour.
Our Mountain Water Process coffee is very similar, although lesser-known, but has the same positive credentials. Importantly for us is that both the Swiss Water decaf process and Mountain Water Decaf Process are solvent and chemical-free and help minimize the creation, use and discarding of man-made solvents versus other decaffeination techniques which is only good for the planet.
The result is a decaffeinated coffee that retains a complex, intricate flavour which is why we use them both in our Nespresso compatible coffee pods and bean and ground coffees.
Is it true the decaffeination process involves chemicals / solvents?
Yes! The majority of decaf coffee beans – especially those in instant decaf – have been through commercial decaffeination processes using man-made solvents and chemicals to strip-out the caffeine from the beans. Methylene chloride is perhaps one of the most controversial chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee.
Yep, that decaf you’re drinking might well have been through the same chemical used in paint stripper! This also guarantees continued demand for commercial solvents which is far from good for our planet.
Will decaf improve my wellness and wellbeing?
So bottom line, will drinking decaf coffee improve my wellness? It really all depends on where you’re starting from. If you are wired on coffee all day and into the evening, if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, getting headaches, or struggling to concentrate, then it might be worth considering a switch to decaf, at least for after lunch. Even a reduction in caffeine can make a profound difference, and with decafs tasting so good these days, you’d be crazy not to.
Will caffeine help or hinder my gym workout and sporting performance?
Whether you’re drinking espresso, or using grounds to make filter coffee, a cup of the black stuff can seriously help with your gym session. From improved focus, to increased performance, there are a number of studies showing that coffee can help decrease muscle pain and speed up recovery.
Ditching the caffeine, not the ritual
For so many, coffee is a way of life. From lively café sounds to the office coffee break, coffee represents so much more than just a drink. It’s a way of being and a ritual that has become so deeply ingrained into peoples’ daily routines.
Beyond the caffeine kick, detoxing therefore threatens all that is enjoyable about coffee. So decaf immediately becomes your friend.
Coffee is a small luxury indulgence so, whether working from home, home schooling or both it’s important to enjoy your cuppa in a happy or relaxing place to avoid associating coffee itself with stressful situations.
Should I give up caffeine while pregnant?
According to Stylist.co,uk, “important to note that while a recent study by Reykjavik University was widely reported on for suggesting that pregnant women should avoid all caffeine, the NHS says consuming 200mg or less a day should not pose any significant risk to the mother or baby.”
Should I just drink Half Caff coffee blends?
While a ‘Half Caff’ coffee blend reduces your overall intake of caffeine, it means you can’t drink coffee in the afternoon without the risk of broken sleep or caffeine side effects.
Caffeine is powerful stuff, and one cup too many can make a big difference to how your afternoon and sleep goes.
However, the Half Caff coffee concept is a good weapon for mid-detox, where you’re trying to avoid any severe headaches and detox side effects.
Top Tip: During my detox, I blended our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee with our Mountain Water Decaf coffee to create my very own Half Caff blend. Sweet floral notes with a great body and chocolatey flavours meant a lovely coffee without as much kick…lovely!
Am I addicted to caffeine?
Every person’s caffeine tolerance differs. You might knock down 2 double espressos to get you going while I might only have a single shot latte to experience the jitters and high blood pressure.
It does all depend on how you and your individual body reacts to caffeine, ie your caffeine sensitivity and how quickly or slowly you metabolize caffeine.
Most people fall within one of three groups:
Normal sensitivity to caffeine – this encompasses most people who can drink up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily without experiencing adverse effects.
Hyposensitivity to caffeine – Lucky you! If you’re part of this group then it means you
Carry a gene that means you can handle higher caffeine intake. So go ahead, drink lots of caffeine with no effect and sleep well despite those late afternoon espressos…you are the envy of coffee lovers everywhere!
Hypersensitivity to caffeine –Many of our lovely customers who enjoy our Swiss Water decaf coffees in plastic free Nespresso® pods or our bean and ground decaf coffees have a caffeine intolerance. Caffeine consumption is not an option for them. They even report that supposed decafs from certain high street stores give them the jitters, proving not all decafs are equal.
Ultimately if you go without caffeine and begin to feel side-effects, you are experiencing withdrawal and your body may be dependent on the drug. Side effects such as headaches, general fatigue, foggy brain and often anxiety. Irritability and a problem actually focusing are common.
Why not try this Caffeine Addiction Diagnosis quiz to help cut to the chase.
What is a caffeine allergy vs. caffeine intolerance
A caffeine allergy develops due to your immune system incorrectly identifying the caffeine as harmful, causing it to release an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) into your bloodstream. You might experience skin rashes or itchy skin and inflammation.
A Caffeine Intolerance though is essentially a food intolerance - also known as non-allergic food sensitivity – where you might have problems digesting caffeine rather than an allergy to it.