Coffee is refreshing. It keeps you awake and helps you work faster. But what if you wanted to cut back on caffeine, without falling into the category of decaf? Say no more, I got you!
Half Caff vs Decaf: In short, 97% of caffeine is removed to produce decaf, Whereas Half Caff is literally a 50/50 mixture of decaf and regular coffee beans.
I won’t bore you with maths, but just for the sake of furthering the ‘half’ in Half-caff. If a regular coffee has 100 grams of caffeine. A half-caffeinated coffee will have a maximum of 50 mg of caffeine.
This is why most coffee shops may refer to half-caffs as half and a half, or split shot.
Half Caff Vs Decaf Differences
Now let’s dig deeper and compare taste, aroma, caffeine content, and other elements of each. I will also suggest some of the best half-caffs available in the market today.
- Half Caff: It has a refreshing smell just like a regular coffee.
- Decaf: It loses all its fragrance during the decaffeination process.
The decaffeination process is done as follows:
- Steaming green coffee beans
- Repeatedly washing the green coffee beans in organic solvents like dichloromethane
- Steaming again to remove the solvent
After the decaffeination process, the coffee beans will most likely lose most of their aroma and taste. And many people just cannot enjoy the same refreshing experience of coffee with decaf coffee. This is why, half-caff is still gaining popularity by the minute
Half Caff Vs DecafTaste
- Half-Caff: The flavor of half caffeinated coffee is consistent, refreshing, and almost like a regular coffee. Yet, it misses the complex flavors of fully caffeinated coffee.
- Decaf: The decaf coffee beans are neither dried nor roasted. They are processed (to remove the caffeine) when the beans are green. And so, decaf coffee tastes completely different than regular coffee.
The taste of your coffee comes from the bean type and how it is processed. How are coffee beans processed?
- First, the coffee beans are dried in the sun (at least for two weeks)
- They are then roasted.
Roasting is the essential step in coffee production. The coffee beans acquire their taste and aroma during roasting.
Half Caff Vs Decaf Roasting Process
- Half-caff: Made from lightly roasted coffee beans and decaffeinated coffee beans
- Decaf: No roasting process is involved.
The freshness of a coffee, its aroma, and its taste depends on the bean roasting formula. The longer the roasting process; the more intense the flavor. As you roast your coffee beans, the flavor grows deeper.
Note that the flavor doesn’t become richer, it only grows stronger. What does this mean? This means roasting reduces the caffeine in coffee beans. Coffee beans start losing their refreshing aroma and bitterness while roasting. They begin to taste sour.
There are more acids in in half-caff as compared to decaf.
- Half-caff: The pH value of half caffeinated coffee is around 2 or 3. On the other hand, the pH value of a regular coffee is 4 to 5.
- Decaf: The acid levels are minimal or zero.
It is now clear that lightly roasted coffee beans are the right choice to make a perfect coffee. Medium roasted and darkly roasted coffee beans bring in a bolder taste but do not add to the flavor.
In other words, the acidity of the coffee beans decreases as you roast them for a longer period.
In general, there are 9 major acids present in coffee: quinic, chlorogenic, palmitic, linoleic, phosphoric, lactic, acetic, citric, and malic. Your coffee gets its flavor and taste from these acids, so any increased or reduced levels will ruin the taste of the coffee.
But, why are acid levels in coffee a concern anyways? Well, because they cause gas build up. When you drink coffee early in the morning (or when your stomach is empty), acids accumulate in the stomach, which stimulates your digestive tract and produces more gas.
How do I reduce acid levels in coffee?
- Choose dark roasts.
- Drink cold coffee. studies show cold brew is way less acidic than hot brewed coffee.
- Increase brewing time.
- Brew at a lower temperature.
- Choose coarse grinds.
Half Caff Vs Decaf Sour notes
- Decaf: 90% of decaffeinated coffee tastes sour. This is because; the coffee beans of decaf are either under roasted or not roasted at all.
- Half-caff: It should not taste sour.
There is a big difference between coffee that tastes sour vs one that tastes bitter. The sourness leaves a biting sensation; while the bitterness creates a pungent aftertaste. To each their own!
There is no clear answer to “What should coffee taste like?” Some like it sweet; others prefer it bitter.
Sour taste is not to be thought positive or negative. To your surprise, few coffee lovers perceive sourness as a desirable characteristic.
What makes your coffee taste sour? Over roasting and under roasting.
Half Caff Vs Decaf Caffeine
- Decaf: 2mg in 10 ounces or 300 ml of coffee
- Half-caff: 50 mg in 10 ounces or 300 ml of coffee
Caffeine keeps you awake even when your body asks for rest or sleep. It forces your brain to work vigorously. Consequently, the melatonin hormone in the brain decreases.
Melatonin hormone helps with circadian rhythms (the 24-hour routine-sleep at night and working during the day). As days pass your system demands more caffeine to stay awake. And you begin to face trouble sleeping.
In the long run, you suffer from headaches, increased blood pressure, dizziness, restlessness, and muscle tremors.
Both decaf and half-caff coffees are good laxatives.
When you drink coffee, your body releases gastrin hormones. Gastrin stimulates bowel movement and also increases the motility of the rectum and colon.
If you face issues due to overconsumption of coffee, you should not stop drinking coffee suddenly. Instead, start gradually dieting with a half-caff regime. Teach your system to adapt to half-caff. Then slowly switch over to decaf.
In terms of health benefits, decaf is perceived better than half-caff.
Half-caff gives you more energy vs decaf. However, this energy might be short-lived.
If you have a habit of enjoying coffee before going to bed, decaf is what you need. As mentioned above, caffeine kills sleep hormones. Therefore, decaf is the right choice at night.
In the morning
Caffeine gives you instant energy to wake you up and also helps with bowel movements. Therefore, half-caff is the go to in the morning.
Here are the best half-caff coffees:
- It has 72 mg of caffeine per 300 ml of half-caffeinated coffee
- It tastes almost like a regular coffee
- It is a good choice for ecstasy lovers looking for options to reduce caffeine intake
Green Mountain Half-Caff Keurig Cups
- It has 60 mg of caffeine in 300 ml or 10 ounces of half-caffeinated coffee.
- The taste and flavor are rich.
- It is ideal for coffee-driven workaholics.
Skinny Girl half-caff Keurig Cups
It is a medium roast. Therefore, the caffeine content in Skinny girl half-caff is less and ideal for health cautious coffee lovers. The taste and aroma are average.
Decaf Making process:
The greatest challenge is to separate the caffeine from the beans. It is difficult to achieve this at home. But not impossible; if you’re passionate about some home made decaf goodness, try below steps and you might even succeed.
Get regular coffee beans. Use green coffee beans if possible (green coffee beans are unroasted), or even better frozen coffee beans.
To make a fresh decaf coffee batch:
- Boil the green coffee beans for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes has elapsed, let the beans sit in hot water for an hour.
- Strain the water from the beans.
- Dry them in shade.
- Grind the decaffeinated beans and enjoy your decaf!
How to make half-caff at home?
You need to have two types of the same coffee beans to make half-caffeinated coffee at home.
First, measure out equal amounts of both bean types and grind them together. Some prefer to mix the beans in bulk. I would not recommend this. Because when you grind in bulk, the beans will disperse unevenly.
Half caff Americano
A half-caff Americano contains one decaf shot, one shot of espresso, and two-thirds water,
This is because a regular Americano is one shot of espresso and two-thirds water.
This ratio dates back to the American soldiers who fought the Second World War in Italy and were not too fond of the strong Italian espresso. So they added water to replicate their drip coffee. And thus, Americano was born.
Half caff coffee at Starbucks
The half-caff at Starbucks has one shot of espresso; the rest is decaffeinated.
One shot of Starbuck espresso has 75 mg of caffeine. Therefore, the half-caff coffee at Starbucks has about 75-80 mg of caffeine.
The caffeine in coffee keeps you energized and active. It is a natural stimulant and enhances your mood by blocking sleep-promoting receptors (called adenosine) in the brain. Though it cheers you up, too much caffeine is not really that good for your health.
If you consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, you may suffer from headaches, insomnia, anxiety, dehydration, and dependency in the long run.
For this reason, people prefer half-caffeine coffee (half-caff) and decaffeinated coffee to regular coffee.
But then again, there are three types of coffee lovers:
- Those who drink coffee to keep themselves active; let us call them the Coffee-Driven workaholics
- Health cautious coffee lovers
- Ecstasy lovers
If you’ve reached this far… Wow! Props to you and your reading skills!
I hope my article was a good read, and If it was feel free t share it with that caffeine Ecstasy lover you just thought about right now!