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Decaf coffee

Decaff coffee must be at least 97% caffeine free

Picture this: it’s late in the evening and you’re thinking of turning in for the night. But before you do, you want to satisfy your craving for a nice hot cup of coffee. What do you reach for? Decaf coffee of course!


Decaf coffee (decaffeinated coffee) is coffee that has gone through a process of decaffeination to remove the caffeine. However, decaf coffee is not entirely caffeine free. To be labeled as decaf, coffee must meet the international standard of being 97% caffeine free (EU standards are stricter at 99.9%).


The Arabica coffee bean contains about half of the caffeine content of the Robusta bean and is thus more suitable for making high quality decaf coffee. There are rare types of Arabica that naturally have very low caffeine levels as well.

In order to get decaf coffee, you have to find a way to decaffeinate it. Decaf coffee dates back to 1903, when benzene was used as a solvent to strip caffeine from the bean. Though this method isn’t used anymore, it did lead to other methods that could give coffee drinkers more options.

Most methods of decaffeination (Swiss Water Process, indirect method, and triglyceride process) start out with soaking green coffee beans in hot water to draw out the caffeine. Non-water methods (direct method, CO2 process) are also used to strip caffeine from coffee beans, leading to decaffeinated coffee that you can sit back and relax with.

What if instead of stripping caffeine from the bean, you could breed a coffee bean that does not contain caffeine?  It’s not as fanciful a thought as you might think. There are Arabica coffee plants that have very little caffeine content, and in 2004, a rare, naturally caffeine free Arabica plant was found.

So to create a caffeine-free coffee bean (what the Brazilians call Decaffito),  the idea is to breed caffeine free Arabica plants with normal coffee plants. If such breeding is successful, we may well soon have an abundance of naturally caffeine-free coffee beans.


NESCAFÉ decaff product are made with natural water decaffeination

NESCAFÉ offers decaf coffee as part of our full range of coffee products.

Although there are numerous ways to decaffeinate coffee, NESCAFÉ uses a natural water decaffeinating process in several countries to retain the smooth taste and aroma that is unique to NESCAFÉ. That means, with NESCAFÉ decaf, you’ll get the same “coffeeness” that you’d get in a caffeinated coffee.

Find out which decaf varieties are available in your country!

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