The Ultimate Guide to Decaf Espresso

decaf espresso

Many know that regular coffee can be prepared and enjoyed without caffeine, but can the same be said for espresso, a coffee drink known for its high caffeine levels?

Espresso can be made decaf by brewing it with decaffeinated coffee beans. Decaf espresso can be used to make decaf lattes, americanos, macchiatos, cappuccinos and other espresso drinks. Decaffeinated espresso still has 3-15mg of caffeine per shot.

In this article I’ll cover what exactly decaf espresso is, how much caffeine is in it, and why or why not you should drink it. Let’s get into it!

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a type of coffee that is served in small shots and is made by forcing pressurized hot water through very finely ground coffee beans. Although espresso is made from the same types of beans as drip coffee, its unique brewing process makes it much stronger, richer, and higher in caffeine than regular coffee.

What is Decaf Espresso?

Because espresso is made with the same beans as regular coffee, it can also be made with decaffeinated coffee beans.

This means not only that decaf espresso exists, but also any drinks made with espresso such as lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and americanos can also be made decaf.

Decaf espresso is made by using coffee beans that have been decaffeinated by soaking or steaming them before they are roasted in water, carbon dioxide, or organic solvent to remove as much caffeine from them as possible.

Decaffeinating coffee beans doesn’t remove any of their nutritional value, nor does it dramatically change the taste of the espresso, although it will give it a slightly milder flavor.

How Much Caffeine is in Decaf Espresso?

A common misconception of coffee drinkers, that I myself had before I did some research, is that decaf coffee and decaf espresso have zero caffeine in them. When the truth is that most decaffeination processes only remove 97% of the caffeine from the beans.

This means that while a regular shot of espresso has about 65mg of caffeine in it, a decaf shot, depending on the type of beans and decaffeination process used, has 3-15

The amount of caffeine in decaf espresso is still extremely low and most people will be able to drink multiple shots without feeling its effects. However, anyone sensitive to the effects of caffeine can still experience anxiety, high blood pressure, and sleeplessness if they drink too much.

Reasons to Drink Decaf Espresso

Because the process of decaffeination doesn’t remove any nutritional benefits from the coffee beans when you drink decaf espresso you get all the same benefits as regular expresso, and avoid the negative side effects of caffeine.

Some of the health benefits of decaf espresso are:

Decaf Espresso May Make you Live Longer

Many large studies have found that drinking coffee, decaf and regular, may actually increase the length of your life.

In one study men and women who drank 4-5 cups of coffee a day had a 12% and 16 % reduced risk of early death, respectively.

And other studies show that coffee may make you happier, reducing your risk of depression by 20% and suicide by 53%.

Now we can’t just assume that drinking coffee or espresso is the cause of living longer, but they are associated. So we can at least assume that drinking decaf espresso likely isn’t going to make you die any sooner.

Decaf Espresso is Packed With Antioxidants

It turns out that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables combined!

These antioxidants in your espresso such as polyphenols, hydrocinnamic acids, cafestol, and melanoidins fight off dangerous diseases, cancers and even aging.

Possibly related to these antioxidants is the fact that one Italian study found that males who drank a minimum of three cups of Italian-style coffee daily reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer by 53 percent in comparison to those who drank less or none.

Daily Decaf Espresso Consumption May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 diabetes

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who increased the amount of coffee they drank daily by more than one cup and then drank that amount of coffee daily over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption.

Decaf Espresso May Enhance Your Memory

A study from the University of California found that drinking the equivalent of two espressos enhanced their ability to create memories. This then improved long-term memory in the subjects. The study didn't find improvements for those who drank more than two shots.

Decaf Espresso Avoids the Negative Side Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine has a lot of positive side effects, however, for some people it can do more harm than good, especially when drinking espresso which has 6x the amount of caffeine per ounce as regular coffee.

Drinking too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, create feelings of anxiety and jitteriness, increase blood sugar levels, cause headaches, and produce heartbeat abnormalities.

In addition, caffeine can become addictive for some people, leaving them unable to function without it and creating withdrawal symptoms of severe headaches, feeling tired or sleepy, reduced mental alertness, slower reaction times, and worsened performance on memory tasks

Also, pregnant women, children, teenagers, and anyone with an anxiety or sleeping disorder are recommended to limit their caffeine intake. Decaffeinated espresso, as long as it's not drunk in large quantities, can allow these people to enjoy an espresso while avoiding the negative side effects that caffeine can have.

Reasons Not to Drink Decaf Espresso

While decaf espresso is great for those who want to avoid caffeine, there are some pretty cool benefits to drinking the caffeinated version.

One benefit of caffeine that you miss out on when you drink decaf espresso is the release of the feel good chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which can improve your mood, make you more alert and energetic, enhance memory and mental function, and increase your productivity.

On top of this caffeine can help you lose weight as it increases metabolic rate and fat burning, reduces your appetite, increases your energy, improves exercise performance, and reduces muscle pain during and after exercise.

Where to Get Decaf Espresso

You should be able to order decaf espresso and decaf espresso drinks from most coffee shops, especially the big chains like Starbucks and Biggby.

You can also make decaf espresso and espresso drinks at home by using decaf espresso beans in your espresso machine.

If you want to make a decaf espresso with ground beans, you can find some really great Italian roast ground decaffeinated espresso beans on Amazon here.

Or, if you’d rather grind the beans yourself to make the espresso fresh, you can get a really high-quality 1lb bag of decaffeinated dark roast Italian espresso beans on Amazon here

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re pregnant, have an anxiety disorder, or just want to enjoy a latte late at night, decaf espresso can be a great way to drink espresso and espresso drinks without experiencing the energizing and sometimes anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine.

I hope this article was helpful for you! If you’d like to learn more about decaf, espresso, and other coffee tips, be sure to check out the rest of my website!


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