Death Before Decaf, and other memes

We regularly have customers coming into Seibiant not aware that we actually sell coffee with no caffeine – and then amazed at the choice of decaf coffees that we actually sell! Most of the time, we aim to have at least two different ones, but two isn’t really a choice is it – so in general we stock 4 different decaffeinated coffees, both online and in the shop. Most coffee roasters will produce just the one decaf blend, and no single origin.

So let’s talk Decaf at Seibiant.

Before we start, let’s begin with how much caffeine there is in coffee …

The amount of coffee depends basically on how you brew it, and obviously the size of your drink. Let’s basically talk 8oz drinks to start with – an 8oz brewed coffee so the size of a flat white, contains 96mg of caffeine, a 1oz espresso contains 64mg, and instant coffee contains 62mg. Decaffeinated versions of these contain 2mg caffeine, but the espresso contains almost none. Lighter roasts have more caffeine than dark roasts.

There seems to be a culture at the moment, perpetuated by the likes of Instagram, of the world being driven by caffeine, that you need caffeine to be able to function, to hustle, and hashtags such as #DeathBeforeDecaf #coffeeholic (7million posts) #coffeeislove (343k posts) #coffeeaddicts (501k posts), seem to imply that caffeine is the only way that anything gets done. Often when I suggest a decaf to customers, their response is to shudder, and say ‘oh no, not decaf’!

There are health issues relating to caffeine, especially in excess; anxiety, insomnia, mood problems, and cardiac problems in those prone to this, but on the other hand, it is also known to be a cognitive enhancer, and there is this impression that “I drink coffee because I’m very very busy”.

Maybe now is the time to shun that pressure to perform; people seem to be rethinking the way they do things. We serve more coffees with oat milk than cow milk these days, herbal and decaffeinated teas are big sellers, the big takeaways are selling vegan food. I wonder if maybe we need to be thinking about slowing life down, taking time to relax, slow down, reset?

We currently (early February) have two decaf single origins from Dragon Roastery, a big bold Costa Rican, with taste notes of dark chocolate, almonds and blueberries. This is a seriously dark roast, but seems to be very popular, so you can click here to order. We also have the Brazil Santos as a decaf, plum, vanilla and dark chocolate for this one, click here to buy. From Rhyl based Mug Run Coffee Roasters we have an Indonesian decaf, the Sinabung, processed by the Giling Basah (semi-fermented) process. Tasting notes for this one are typically south east Asian – plum, caramel, black pepper, dark chocolate, roasted nuts and tobacco – click here! Last week, we took delivery of a brand new decaf from Caernarfon based Coffi Dre – a Mexican – always a popular coffee, and quite unusual. This one is decaffeinated using the Mountain Water Method, so worth a try to check out the difference! Tasting notes to follow shortly, but in the meantime, click here to order, but take note, this is already in short supply and I’m going to need to order more!

Part of the reason that decaf coffees have had a bad name is the processes used in the past – there was a time when chemicals were used, and these chemicals were known to be carcinogenic. These days, methods are much more natural and acceptable, and Mug Run have a great blog on their website describing in detail the Swiss Water Method, which is how all their decaf’s are decaffeinated.

Click here to read that blog.

There’s also the Mountain Water Method, which is a new one to me – more here about that method, and also the Sugarcane Method. If you want to try a coffee using this Sugarcane method, send me a message – it apparently makes a sweeter coffee, and I know where I can get some from.

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