Best Decaf Espresso Beans (Top 11 Picks)

In a rush? Our top choice is the Sumatra Mandheling Dark Roast Decaf Coffee – Reserve!

Drinking coffee at night is usually a no-go because of the caffeine.

Or sometimes we just can’t deal with the amount of caffeine in most coffees.

It’s then we turn to decaffeinated coffee. But choosing the right one is hard.

In this article, I’ll go through the best decaf espresso beans.

Then I’ll give you a quick buying guide for choosing the best one for you.

Let’s jump in!

11 Best Decaf Espresso Beans

Sumatra Mandheling Dark Roast Decaf Coffee – Reserve

Sumatra Mandheling Dark Roast Decaf Coffee - Reserve

Look, this is a great all-around decaf coffee. Seriously, it’s a really solid choice. Even if you don’t drink decaf daily and just want an every now and then type of decaf.

Why is it such a great decaf espresso coffee? For one, it’s a dark roast.

I’ll best be honest and say that usually, dark roast coffees aren’t my favorite. I prefer medium or light roasts for their more interesting and unique flavors.

But when it comes to decaf, dark roast is the way to go. You get a nuttier and fuller flavor than you do with a light roast decaf.

And this one is especially good.

It has notes of sandalwood, nuts, and an earthy finish. That’s pretty typical of a decaf espresso bean.

The thing that separates these beans from a lot of others is the Swiss Water Process. I’ll get into more details about this process later, but for now, you should know that it’s the best way to decaffeinate coffee beans.

Another nice thing about this coffee is its low acidity. Lower acidity means this coffee goes great with milk or on its own for a nicer experience on your stomach.

Pros

  • Swiss Water decaffeination means this coffee retains a lot of flavors
  • Sandalwood, nuts, and an earthy finish make this coffee delicious and a great espresso
  • The dark roast is really smooth and easy to drink

Cons

  • The low acidity sometimes means this coffee loses unique flavors
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Volcanica French Roast Decaf Coffee 

Volcanica French Roast Decaf Coffee 

I mean, is there anything more classic than French Roast? It would take a lot to convince me otherwise.

And Volcanica French Roast decaf coffee beans are a great example of making a delicious decaf version of a classic.

While this coffee is a blend of a lot of different coffees, that doesn’t take away too much from the classic taste.

French roast coffee is known for its lighter, silkier tasting notes. This coffee is no different. It’s super smooth and really pleasant. It’s almost sweet.

That means it goes really, really well with milk and makes a phenomenal espresso.

This is also a Swiss Water Processed coffee, which means it still has a rounded and full taste.

I would recommend this coffee with milk rather than on its own.

Pros

  • The Swiss Water Process ensures this coffee retains a lot of its unique flavors and tastes
  • French Roast is a classic, and this is a great decaf version of it, it’s dark but not too dark
  • Light, silky, and sweet tastes make this a great espresso coffee
  • It goes well with milk, so you can make great lattes or cappuccinos

Cons

  • It’s a blend of a lot of coffees, so sometimes you’ll get inconsistent shots
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Highlander Grogg Decaf 

Highlander Grogg Decaf

This is a medium roast decaf coffee. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different.

I actually like this coffee for its smoothness. It goes down pretty easily and makes a pretty mellow cup.

The Swiss Water method makes this a pretty low-acid coffee as well.

It has notes of butter, aged rum, and caramel. Those are great tasting notes for espresso, which usually has a tang of earthy notes.

But if I’m being honest, I don’t think these espresso beans are actually that good for espresso. I would probably recommend them more for pour-over or a coffee maker instead.

That said, if you drink your espresso without milk, then this is a pretty solid choice.

The decaf Highlander Grogg is 100% Arabica beans. Arabica beans are higher quality and better tasting than Robusta beans (and naturally have less caffeine).

Pros

  • Notes of butter, aged rum, and caramel, which is unique for a decaf coffee
  • It’s a really smooth decaf that drinks really easy
  • The Swiss Water method keeps this decaf low-acid and full of flavor
  • It’s 100% Arabica beans, which are higher quality and naturally less caffeinated than robusta beans

Cons

  • It’s a medium roast, so it doesn’t do as well with milk in a latte or cappuccino
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Official Decaf Metcalf Coffee 

Official Decaf Metcalf Coffee 

If the name Metcalf sounds familiar, then you might already have an inkling as to the background of this decaf coffee beans.

It comes from a partnership with DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks. And a portion of each sale goes to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Prison Fellowship.

The name comes from a Monday Night Football game. Announcer Joe Tessitore accidentally called DK Metcalf “Decaf Metcalf.” The name stuck, and this coffee is a testament.

How is the coffee itself, you’re asking? Well, it’s pretty standard.

It has notes of honey, walnut, and strawberry, which is a unique flavor for decaf coffee.

It’s a medium roast, so a touch more acidic than a darker roast.

It is, however, processed with the Swiss Water method, so it’s chemical free and retains a lot of good flavors.

The coffee comes from Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, which is a nice blend of mellow coffees to create a pretty mellow espresso.

This goes alright with milk for a latte or cappuccino.

Pros

  • Proceeds go to help the Prison Fellowship and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • It’s a Swiss Water Processed coffee, so it has low acidity and a mellow body
  • It comes from Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, so it’s a blend of smooth coffees
  • The notes of honey, walnut, and strawberry are unique and interesting in a decaf coffee

Cons

  • The medium roast makes it only okay for brewing espresso
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Illy Caffe Whole Bean Decaf Espresso

Illy Caffe Whole Bean Decaf Espresso

Illy coffee has been around for a long time. Like decades long. So they should know something about decent coffee.

Their decaf is a pretty standard coffee. But it’s available for bulk orders.

So if you’re stocking up for a long time or are looking for the best deal on a ton of decaf beans, this is the coffee for you.

It is a blend, but it is a blend of all Arabica beans. Arabica beans rea higher quality and naturally less caffeinated than Robusta beans. That makes this coffee balanced and smooth, without too much acidity and without too many roasty flavors.

I will say, however, that this is a pretty classic decaf. There isn’t anything unique or overly interesting about it.

But if you’re looking for a decaf coffee that is cheap and works fine as an espresso, then it’s still a good choice.

The one downside is that it’s not a Swiss Water Processed coffee. So it will have some chemicals and off-tastes.

Pros

  • It comes from a respected and important roaster, so it’s a fine quality coffee
  • The all-Arabica blend makes this a higher quality than a robusta decaf
  • It is a really balanced coffee with low acidity and without roasty notes

Cons

  • It’s a classic diner decaf, so the taste might be a little dated if you’re used to specialty coffee
  • Not Swiss Water Processed, so it’ll have fewer unique flavors and have a chemical aftertaste
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Segafredo Cafe Senza Whole Bean Decaf 

Segafredo Cafe Senza Whole Bean Decaf 

Segafredo was originally a French coffee company that opened its first cafe in Paris back in the 1980s.

You can still see the French influence on their decaf coffee today.

What is a French influence on decaf coffee?

It’s pretty dark. It still is balanced and creamy, but it’s on the darker side of the roast spectrum.

That isn’t really a bad thing. It just means it makes a pretty dark and coffee-forward decaffeinated espresso, especially when paired with milk for a latte or cappuccino.

Segafredo doesn’t make public how they decaffeinate their beans, but they do say it’s naturally decaffeinated. That most likely means they use the Carbon Dioxide Method.

All that means is that liquid carbon dioxide is forced through the beans to get rid of the caffeine content. It does leave the sugars and proteins that make up the taste of the coffee alone.

You’re left with a pretty tasty and full-bodied coffee without caffeine.

Pros

  • It’s balanced and creamy, which makes it the best coffee for espresso drinks
  • Segafredo probably uses the Carbon Dioxide Method, a natural and chemical-free decaffeination process
  • It’s a full-bodied coffee, which is pretty unique for decaf coffees, which are usually lighter-bodied

Cons

  • It’s pretty dark, which isn’t everyone’s favorite
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Volcanica Guatemala Antigua Decaf Coffee 

Volcanica Guatemala Antigua Decaf Coffee 

Sometimes medium roast decaf coffees surprise me. They end up being really smooth, easy to drink, and with unique and rounded flavors.

This medium roast decaf is one such decaf that surprised me.

It comes from the Antigua region in Guatemala, which makes it a single-origin coffee. Single-origin coffees usually have more unique flavors and a more rounded profile.

This Volcanica coffee is no different. It has a really nice chocolate flavor to it, which is typical of Guatemalan coffees. But it also has a nutty flavor that is typical of a Swiss Water Processed decaf coffee.

The reality is that this coffee is a fine espresso that goes well in espresso drinks. But it is also a great brewing decaf coffee for its mellow and rounded flavors.

I promise if you like decaf coffee, you’ll enjoy this Guatemalan decaf.

Pros 

  • It’s a single-origin coffee, so it retains flavors unique to Guatemala
  • Notes of chocolate and nuts are typical flavors of a Guatemalan decaf, meaning you get exactly what you should
  • It’s a Swiss Water Processed decaf, so it’s naturally decaffeinated and retains a lot of good flavors

Cons

  • It’s a regular espresso decaf, but it doesn’t excel in espresso
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Caffe’ Vergnano 1882 Espresso Decaffeinato 

Caffe' Vergnano 1882 Espresso Decaffeinato 

The Espresso Decaffeinato is a middle-ground decaf coffee between bold and mellow.

How is that possible?

Well, for one, it is a chemically decaffeinated coffee. A chemical decaffeination process is thorough. It leaves behind a smooth and aromatic flavor instead of a full-bodied and gut-punch flavor.

While that’s not for everyone, a lot of decaf drinkers prefer the classic taste of decaf to the decaf coffees that try to retain too much flavor.

So the Caffe’ Vergnano 1882 Espresso Decaffeinato is a great choice for someone used to drinking classic decaf espresso. It goes fine in espresso drinks and as a daily brewer.

Another upside is that this comes in a 2.2lbs bag instead of a 1lb bag. As with most other coffees, buying in bulk is a cheaper choice.

I don’t usually say this, but this coffee actually seems to perform better in an automatic coffee machine than in a manual espresso machine.

Pros

  • Middle-ground decaf coffee, not too bold or too mild
  • It has a classic decaf taste, so folks looking for a classic taste will find it in this coffee
  • It works great as espresso or as a daily brewer
  • It comes in 2.2 lbs bags instead of 1 lb bags, so it’s a better bulk buy

Cons

  • The chemical decaffeination process takes away a lot of unique flavors
  • It works better in automatic machines than in manual ones
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Decaf Espresso Roast Kona Coffee Blend 

Decaf Espresso Roast Kona Coffee Blend 

The Kona name carries with it a lot of weight in the coffee world.

It’s a prized coffee from Hawaii that commands a high price.

But is it really worth it? Not always. It’s usually pricey because of the name and the scarcity.

This coffee, on the other hand, isn’t as expensive as other Kona coffees. That’s mostly because it’s a Kona blend and not entirely Kona beans.

It’s a 10% Kona blend, which means about 10% of the coffee is actual Kona coffee.

The rest is a blend of other coffees. That gives this decaf espresso a smooth and bold taste with low acidity.

It is a chemically decaffeinated coffee, so it’ll have a classic decaf taste that has a slightly chemical finish.

It works great in drip machines or French presses and makes a passable espresso.

It’s a dark roast and has all the characteristics of a dark coffee: it’s bold and thick.

Pros 

  • It has some Kona beans, so it’s a high-quality coffee blend
  • It works really well as a daily brewer, in French presses or drip machines
  • Not as expensive as other Kona coffees because it’s a blend
  • It’s a dark roast and has all the classic tastes of a dark roast, it’s bold and full-bodied

Cons

  • It’s chemically decaffeinated, meaning you’ll get fewer unique flavors and a chemical aftertaste
  • It’s only alright as an espresso coffee
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Swiss Water Decaf Whole Bean Kona Coffee 

Swiss Water Decaf Whole Bean Kona Coffee 

As I said earlier, Kona coffee commands a much higher price than other coffees.

And this one is pretty standard Kona.

Is it worth it? Maybe not. But that’s up to you and not to me.

It is a Swiss Water Processed decaf coffee, so it retains a lot of the great flavors of profiles that make Kona coffees special.

It also means that there are no chemicals involved in the decaffeination process. And it’s a medium roast, so it keeps a lot of its unique flavors instead of losing them to a darker roast.

In all honesty, this coffee is probably worth trying at least once. Especially if you’re a regular decaf drinker looking for something extra special.

I believe that it is a better daily brewer than it is espresso, but try it both ways to decide for yourself.

Pros

  • It’s 100% Kona coffee, so it has a little extra magic around it
  • The Swiss Water process means there aren’t any chemicals involved in the decaffeination process, and that you keep a lot of the unique flavors
  • It’s a medium roast, so you don’t lose any of the Kona flavors to a darker roast

Cons

  • It’s a better daily brewer than it is espresso
  • For a lot of folks, it’s too expensive for the quality
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Lavazza Dek – Decaf Whole Bean Coffee 

Lavazza Dek - Decaf Whole Bean Coffee 

Lavazza is an old and respected coffee brand. They have been around for a long time and have been producing coffee the entire time.

So it makes sense that they have a steady and quality stream of decaf coffee.

The Dek is no different. It’s an espresso-specific decaf coffee that is well-balanced and comes from a Central American blend.

It is full-bodied and with a strong aftertaste.

Lavazza made this to resemble a classic Italian coffee. So it’s pretty dark and best served as espresso and not as a daily brewer.

It comes in a 1 lb bag and doesn’t break the bank, meaning it’s a great choice for getting fresh bags regularly.

Pros

  • Italian-inspired decaf coffee, so it’s meant as espresso and works well when served with milk
  • It comes in a 1 lb bag, so it’s great for buying fresh beans regularly
  • It’s a Central American blend, so it has a lot of unique and strong flavors

Cons

  • It’s a chemical decaffeination process, so you’ll get a chemical aftertaste and lose a lot of the lighter flavors
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What to Consider Before Buying

Buying decaf coffee beans is a little trickier than buying regular beans.

That’s because there are a few more things to consider.

In this section, I’ll give you a quick buying guide to help you narrow down and choose the best decaf coffee bean for your personal taste.

Does the origin of the coffee matter?

Here’s the thing about origin when talking about decaf beans: it’s just not as important.

I know, I said it.

But the reality is that in any decaffeination process, you lose a lot of the flavors unique to specific origins.

Now, that’s not entirely true when talking about single-origin coffees. But it’s true when talking about blends.

Blended decaf coffees tend to all get lumped together with the same flavors and tastes. That’s especially true when those coffees are chemically decaffeinated.

Single-origin decaf coffees do retain some of their unique flavors. But those are mostly big-picture flavors instead of farm-to-farm-specific ones.

BOTTOM LINE
If you do buy single-origin decaf coffees, make sure it’s not chemically decaffeinated coffee. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.

What roast is the best for decaf?

The type of roast doesn’t play a huge role in decaf coffees. It’s like choosing a roast for regular coffee.

Do you like a lighter body and a touch higher acidity? Then get a light roast coffee.

Do you prefer a more full-bodied and classic cup of coffee? Then choose a dark roast instead.

Somewhere in the middle? Go for a medium roast.

Honestly, this one’s up to you. But the darker you get, the more you’ll taste the classic decaf tastes.

And really, any roasted coffee bean will taste much better than an instant decaf. So it’s really up to you.

IN A NUTSHELL
Choose a roast based on your other preferences because it doesn’t make a huge difference when talking about decaf coffees.

How much does the decaffeination process matter?

The decaffeination process has the biggest impact on your final cup of coffee than anything else does.

The way your coffee is decaffeinated is the difference between a great cup of coffee and a decidedly standard one.

There are four main ways to decaffeinate coffee:

  • Methylene Chloride (chemical)
  • Ethyl Acetate (chemical)
  • Swiss Water (non-chemical)
  • CO2 Process (non-chemical)

You will notice that there are two chemical and two non-chemical processes on that list. That’s the most important distinction between them.

The two chemical processes use chemicals that are supposed to target the caffeine in the coffee beans.

They work just fine in the decaffeination process for coffee. But they leave behind a bland taste that resembles little of what the same beans would taste like with caffeine.

The much better and more preferred processes are the non-chemical processes. These are more time-consuming and more expensive. But they do create a much more pleasant cup of decaf coffee.

A non-chemical decaf resembles the same beans with caffeine a lot more closely.

MY RECOMMENDATION
Always buy a non-chemically decaffeinated coffee. The taste is much better, and you’ll get a lot more versatility out of your coffee.

My Final Words

My recommendation is still the Sumatra Mandheling Dark Roast Decaf Coffee – Reserve.

It has really pleasant notes of sandalwood, nuts, and an earthy aftertaste.

While it is a dark roast, it is actually really smooth and not overpowering.

Plus, it’s a Swiss Water Processed decaf, meaning it retains a lot of good flavors.

If I had to pick one decaf coffee for the rest of my life, it very well could be this one.

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.