HomeCoffee InfoIs Decaf Coffee Addictive? Busting the Myths

Is Decaf Coffee Addictive? Busting the Myths

People are constantly on the lookout for viable options to keep them awake and energize them at night without getting them hooked on a particular drink. One such drink is decaf coffee and most people ask a pertinent question, is decaf coffee addictive? Well, the answer to this is a bit complicated and I’ll try to cover it in detail.

If you are in for a quick answer to your search query, then yes, decaf coffee is actually addictive, but there are a lot many intricate details to know if you actually want to understand the phenomenon. Moreover, decaf coffee can actually be an excellent starting point if you want to cut back on your caffeine intake.

If you ask most regular coffee drinkers whether or not they are hooked, they’d say no. However, if you ask them to give up on their Java for a few days, they’ll definitely come to you complaining about various issues including headaches and dizziness (in worst cases).

This post will cover the phenomenon of whether decaf coffee is addictive or not. It’ll also highlight the processes used for decaffeination to enlighten you further about the whole situation. What could be the possible causes of this addiction and what is the actual purpose of having a decaf coffee if it’s addictive?

How Much Decaf Coffee Can Cause Addiction

To answer this question, you must first understand the difference between dependency and addiction. To hammer in the concept, just think of dependency as the first stage of addiction. Only the withdrawal symptoms are worse when you are hooked (addicted).

In other words, dependency is the milder version of addiction. But you should be aware that it’s difficult to know when the transition to addiction happens as the line between the two concepts is blurry.

Most people consider “decaf” coffee as totally caffeine-free so they don’t bother about developing a dependency and/ or addiction. This is exactly what the brands out there would want you to believe because it suits their needs. But you should be well informed about the things you consume, and this blog is all about equipping you with the right knowledge.

By law, all the brands are supposed to declare all the information about drinks. So the next time you visit a café, you can ask them for information about the caffeine content and they should divulge it. Don’t be content with the word ‘decaf’ written on your cup.

What Is Decaf Coffee?

It tastes almost similar (bitterer sometimes) to your regular coffee. However, there’s a huge difference between their caffeine content. Decaf coffee has around 3% caffeine as compared to a regular cup.

You might think it’s very less, but if you are having 4-6 cups a day, you could easily get hooked to the drink before you know it.

For most people, it’s a good starting point to cut back on their caffeine intake.

Related post: How Much Caffeine in Double Espresso? Stats Simplified

How Is Decaf Coffee Prepared?

There are many methods to prepare decaf coffee, however, we’ll discuss the three most important ones used around the world.

Chemical Solvents Process

There are two methods under chemical solvent processes. The first one is the direct method, in this one, chemical solvents are made to react with the caffeinated coffee beans to extract caffeine.

The process is repeated for maximum effect, however, caffeine is not the only ingredient being extracted from the beans, the chemical reacts with the flavor profile as well, and hence you might notice the dullness in your decaf coffee.

The second one is the indirect method. In this one, instead of reacting with the coffee beans, the beans are first soaked in water to take out caffeine content. Then the water is decaffeinated using chemicals and finally, the beans are again soaked in the same water to complete the process.

Swiss Water Process

If you are a fan of the safe decaffeination processes, this one is by far the best one. There are no chemicals used in it.

The process involves removing flavor and caffeine by boiling the beans. The beans are then removed from the water and the water left behind is called Green Coffee Extract. This extract then passes through a filter filtering the carbon molecules. This results in decaffeination.

This is considered the most efficient method in terms of quality.

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Process

This is quite a technical process. It involves removing caffeine from coffee beans using carbon dioxide under high pressure and temperature.

Because of the high pressure and temperatures, this method has been named the supercritical carbon dioxide process.

The beans are soaked for a long time before subjecting to this process, it achieves maximum decaffeination without compromising or altering the flavor profile of the beans. It’s very targeted in that sense.

Signs and Causes of Addiction

There’s no way of finding out whether or not you are addicted to something until you try to stop having it. If you are hooked to a cup of Joe in the morning, you’d only know it when you don’t get it.

Some of the signs and symptoms include headache, anxiety, irritability, and overall a depressed mood. This also varies from person to person but these are most common. Moreover, they are severe in the beginning and subside with the passage of time.

Therefore, it’s advisable to not stop having coffee all of a sudden, rather you should cut back on your intake gradually. The symptoms will be mild and you’d be able to cope better.

The defining factor causing addiction is caffeine. It gets you hooked and messes with your bodily chemicals in a way that your body starts to expect the intake at certain times. If it doesn’t get that amount at the defined time, it starts to act up and you have a hard time.

Also check out this related post: How Much Caffeine in Nespresso Decaf

What Is The Purpose Of Decaf Coffee?

People choose to go for a decaf version of the drink for a variety of reasons:

Caffeine Reduction

Reducing caffeine intake is the foremost purpose of decaf coffee. People go for decaf because they “believe” it’ll help them do away with a coffee addiction. It could be a good first step, but transitioning to decaf can be an addiction in itself, so beware.

I’ll be honest with you here, it does taste awful at first, but your taste buds would develop a taste for it eventually.


Some people prefer to maintain a healthy lifestyle and want to cut their caffeine intake. This could also be a purpose for choosing decaf coffee.

Show off

This might sound funny, but I’ve seen people taking pride in ordering a decaf version of the drink just for the heck of it. They are neither trying to cut back on their caffeine intake or want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

They just do it to sound classy (Ha ha!)

Does Decaf Coffee Help With Caffeine Withdrawal?

Yes, it does help with caffeine withdrawal only when you are actively trying to cut back on your intake. You’ll be significantly reducing your caffeine intake if you decide to go for decaf versions of the coffee.

A study suggests that 89 out of 120 adults found decaf coffee as a great option for caffeine withdrawal.

Which Decaf Coffee Has The Least Caffeine?

Out of the processes mentioned above, the Swiss Water Process is the best method to decaffeinate coffee. It ensures that 99% of caffeine content is extracted from the beans.

The only problem is, that you can’t do this process at home since it involves maintaining high pressures and temperatures to do the filtering process. But you could buy the ready-made versions of the decaf coffee from your nearest supermarket easily.

Is Decaf More Expensive Than a Regular Coffee?

Of course, since decaf coffee preparation involves intricate processes and additional resources, it’s slightly more expensive than the regular versions available. If you are avoiding caffeine for your well-being, you must be willing to pay the extra bucks.

But the benefits of switching to a decaf are definitely worth it.

Can Kids Ingest Decaf Coffee without Being Addicted

Yes, why not? Kids can definitely have a cup of decaf coffee without being hooked to the drink. The only catch is to have it in moderation. If a kid is having 3 or more cups of decaf coffee per day, they might develop an addiction.

So keep a close watch on the number of cups your kid consumes throughout the day. Also, it’s OK if your kid has 4-5 cups occasionally and not daily. Addiction or dependency develops through a prolonged habit and is not an overnight process.

Final Words

The post discussed various questions related to is decaf coffee addictive. We also highlighted which decaf coffee has the least caffeine and whether or not kids can get hooked on decaf coffee.

I hope you found value in this information, do you have any comments or questions? Let me know in the section below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Have a great day!

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