Drinking coffee isn’t all about caffeine. For many, it’s about the ritual, the flavor, and the feeling of warmth you get both physical and emotional from sipping on a hot cup of coffee each morning or afternoon, or evening.
But brewing up a whole batch of coffee for just you and your partner or you and a guest can be a lot of work. With instant decaf coffee, you can keep the flavor and the ritual without spending tons of time brewing and then possibly throwing away good coffee. You’ll be able to easily make a hot cup of coffee for you and your guest without the caffeine or the mess!
Choosing the perfect instant decaf coffee can be a hassle. There aren’t as many options as whole bean or ground coffee for your drip coffee maker and the quality may be far from your liking. Luckily, in today’s day and age, there are many more options for anyone who wants to cut down on the hassle and the caffeine and still have a steaming hot cup of joe with their morning cereal.
We’ve brought together some of the best instant decaf coffee varieties and brands to make your choice easier. All of these can be found online and a few will be available in stores for your sipping pleasure!
Waka Coffee Decaf Instant Columbian Coffee
Everyone knows that Folgers is part of your morning routine but when it comes to instant coffee, brands with less star power often pack a more flavorful punch. Waka is one of those brands that you may not find on your grocery store shelves but you’ll be amazed what this little brand can do.
In addition to regular coffee, Waka offers a sensational decaf instant variety. This particular strain of coffee is made of Colombian Arabica beans which are then medium roasted so the resulting decaffeinated coffee is balanced and smooth. The entire flavor profile revolves around sharp citrus notes that are characteristic of any Columbian beans you can find on the market.
Decaf coffee sometimes lacks a little pizzazz when compared to its fully caffeinated cousins. Waka has done an exceptional job lining up the decaf and caffeinated varieties when it comes to this instant cup. The company freeze-dries their coffee so the flavor and aroma are sealed in with freshness whenever you open up a bag.
The company is based out of California so their entire process including roasting and packaging is centered there. The entire process for making a full-bodied cup of instant decaf coffee is written on the packaging so getting the right ratios is more of a science than a guessing game!
What We Liked:
- Great flavor without the caffeine
- Packaged in the US
- Easy to follow directions on the package
What Could Be Better:
- Price is slightly high for package size
- Not many flavors available for different tastes
Mount Hagen Organic Freeze-Dried Instant Decaf Coffee
Mount Hagen has been making a name for themselves in the coffee market but their decaf coffee and especially their instant decaf coffee has been left out of all the fun. If you’re concerned about the world and the coffee market, not just the product you’re getting, Mount Hagen is fair trade and organic!
The company sources all of its beans from Papua New Guinea, Peru, and Honduras which gives every coffee in their repertoire a unique fruity, nutty, and spicy flavor. The process they use to decaffeinate their coffee claims to remove 99.99% of the caffeine. This is a high number for any coffee!
This is a group that knows coffee and has been in the business of organic fair trade coffee for a while. Their instant coffee is simple to make and tastes great when you want to eliminate the caffeine side of the equation and still make a good cup of coffee for just one or two people. You’ll be able to adjust the boldness of the coffee with just a few spoonfuls of the instant mix and being able to tweak the recipe for each person makes it easy for everyone to have their coffee and enjoy it too!
What We Liked:
- The company has been making coffee for a while
- Fairtrade and organic
- Easy to adjust the ratios
What Could Be Better:
- Price is a bit high for the amount of coffee you receive
- Not many flavors or roasts to choose from
Café Bustelo Espresso Instant Decaf Coffee
When you’re just dipping your toes into the instant coffee arena, several different brands have been in the business a long time and Café Bustelo is one of them! They’re remained a classic and well-loved coffee brand around the world and have even come into their own in the past few years with prime flavors and roasts.
With roots in the Cuban coffee scene, Café Bustelo offers a unique instant decaf coffee that is very similar to the full-bodied varieties that are seen on store shelves. The instructions from the company have you mixing the coffee granules with hot milk instead of water. This creates a café-con-Leche creation that’s similar to the coffee served in Café Bustelo’s home base.
If you’re not a fan of milk in your coffee, this instant variety can also be mixed up in the traditional way for a simple cup of black coffee. The instant coffee comes in single-serve packets or glass jars so you’ll have your pick of ways to mix it up. The coffee is freeze-dried to preserve the flavor and they also offer a supreme version that has a bit more punch than the typical variety.
What We Liked:
- Reputable brand in the instant coffee industry
- Freeze-dried coffee for freshness and flavor
- Suggestions for unique variations of drinks
What Could Be Better:
- Small size for the price
- Not many flavor options or roasts
Starbucks Via Italian Roast Instant Decaf Coffee
Starbucks has made a name for itself in the coffee world as the standard for fancy drinks and atmospheric coffee drinking. Even if you’ve never had a cup of coffee before, you’ve likely experienced this titan of the industry in some way, shape, or form.
While the majority of Starbucks ‘ business has been in the realm of brewed coffee, they’ve also got a sizable number of instant varieties available for anyone looking to mix up their coffee game. This instant decaf coffee is of Italian origin and has several different strains of Arabica beans in the mix. The extra dark roast lends itself to the deep, slightly sweet flavor of the finished coffee.
Many of the other brands on our list can only be ordered online and you’ll be lucky if there are any on the grocery store shelves. This is a brand that’s extremely accessible and can be found on many shelves and in Starbucks stores themselves. So if you want to try out several varieties without paying for extra shipping, this is a great option!
What We Liked:
- Easy to find
- Lots of different flavors to try out
- Relatively inexpensive
What Could Be Better:
- The flavor profile could be a bit more unique
Folgers Classic Decaf Instant Coffee
There’s a reason that Folgers has been on coffee shelves for decades is that it’s been a stand-out star since the beginning. There aren’t many bells and whistles when it comes to this Folgers decaf instant coffee.
This one is a straightforward coffee that is very similar to the Folgers drip coffee you’re used to. The caffeine has been virtually eliminated in this version so you’re able to sip on a hot beverage morning, noon, and night without the adverse effects.
You’ll be able to pick this one up in most grocery stores as well as online. The Folgers taste is one you can enjoy in both the instant and brewed coffee version. The cost is subsequently much less than others since Folgers is a large brand with national standing. You’ll be able to get your coffee fix for just a couple of bucks each day!
What We Liked:
- Super cost-efficient
- Consistent coffee flavor
- Years of experience with coffee and instant coffee
What Could Be Better:
- Not many flavors to choose from
- Flavor profiles may not be as unique with each batch
Before You Buy
If you’re just dipping your toes into decaf or instant coffee, there are a few things you’ll want to consider that are different from normal brewed coffee including the equipment you’ll need and the type of coffee you’ll want to be on the look-out for. Keep these things in mind as you shop around for your next favorite instant decaf coffee!
Instant coffee is created in two different ways, freeze-drying and evaporation. For both types, the brewed coffee mix is made on a large scale and then either flash-frozen or dehydrated depending on what the finished product will be. All of the liquid is removed through both processes and what’s left is the crystallized coffee. This is then soaked in water, or some cases, milk to rehydrate it and bring it back to life. Depending on the process used to create the crystals as well as the prep method afterward, your coffee may end up thick like espresso or can end up being thin and watery. You’re able to create the coffee you like without needing to brew tons and tons!
The flavor you’ll see with instant coffee can be all over the place. You’ll see changes in flavor when it comes to the way you brew it and the type of beans used in the original preparation. Instant coffee isn’t known for having the most flavor or being the best on the market. Anyone looking for unique flavors usually brews up a small pot of coffee!
Most instant coffee and instant decaf coffee is made with Robusta coffee grown in a low-altitude climate which results in a bitter coffee. For many instant coffee drinkers, the main event is putting lots of milk and sugar into the creation which cuts the taste and makes it a better cup overall. Instant coffees on the market these days are highly coffee-flavored and ones with an Arabica base are known to be pretty well-received in the larger coffee world.
There are several different ways to prepare instant coffee but the most common is to take the required amount of crystals and mix it with your preferred amount of water. This will result in a very coffee-flavored coffee in just a few moments. Some instant coffees ask you to prepare the brew with milk instead of water. This will end up resulting in a much smoother and more flavorful cup.
There have been several recipes on social media that have you using instant coffee to create whipped coffee. This is then mixed with milk and drank like a typical coffee! Instant coffee can also be used in many different recipes to give a coffee flavor without wasting an entire batch of brewed coffee.
Several big-name coffee brands offer instant coffee with caffeine and in a decaf form as well. When companies offer decaf, these aren’t completely without caffeine. Keep a careful eye on how the coffee has been prepared to ensure that as much caffeine is removed as possible.
While all of the caffeine can’t be removed, many remove up to 99.9% of the caffeine so you won’t be dealing with big jolts of energy throughout the day and you can more easily enjoy a cup of coffee in the evening or afternoon. Your caffeine consumption through your instant coffee will also depend on how potent you’re making your brew, to begin with.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you may not be a coffee expert, or even if you’re a brewed coffee fanatic, instant coffees can feel like a world of their own. Navigating your way to a good cup of coffee in just moments rather than waiting for the proverbial pot to boil is one of the great perks of instant coffee! Being able to consume this coffee in a decaf form late in the day with friends or your partner is even better!
Is Decaf Coffee 100% Caffeine Free?
To be able to legally have the label decaf anywhere in the world, 97% of the caffeine must be removed from the coffee itself. Within the EU, typically the standard is 99.9% for the most part. Mass-produced coffee adheres to this standard and you’ll be able to deal with very little caffeine in your cup of instant decaf coffee.
Is There a Taste Difference in Caffeine Coffee?
There may be a bit of a taste difference when it comes to decaf coffee as the process to remove caffeine ends up messing with the chemicals in the coffee itself. It’s very difficult to remove that much of the chemical caffeine without affecting some of the chemicals that make up taste. Many instant decaf coffees use the same type of beans and the flavor is very consistent across the board. Since coffee pulls lots of its flavor from the way its brewed instant coffee has a distinct taste and decaf has a different palate as well.
Do all Coffee Beans Have the Same Caffeine Level?
When it comes to coffee beans, not all beans are created equal. Some beans have a higher caffeine content than others with Coffea robusta having some of the lowest levels of caffeine known right now. Decaffito coffee is just now being explored as it has some of the lowest caffeine but isn’t in the major market right now.
What’s the difference between Arabica and Robusta beans?
Arabica beans are known around the coffee world for having vibrant and complex flavors that lend themselves to every type of preparation level. Robusta coffee beans are often seen as richer and have a roaster taste for the way the beans are used. These beans are usually prepared with milk which gives them a creamier taste and cuts the bitterness that they might have.
How many Calories in a Cup of Instant Coffee?
This all depends on how you prepare it! If you add milk, the calorie count will be higher but if you just go with a black coffee mixed up as the instant blend, you’ll deal with zero calories per cup. This is one of the best drinks to have when you need to cut calories and save on time as making the instant coffee only takes a few moments to finish.
What Is Fair Trade Coffee?
Fairtrade coffee is created and farmed by a cooperative of farmers who follow specific standards when it comes to how the coffee is grown and harvested. This stamp of approval guarantees that whoever was involved in the process was held to the highest standards including the way wages was set for farmers, the practices used to grow the coffee were at the peak and working conditions were deemed safe for everyone involved.
Is Coffee Bad for You?
Coffee can be a positive force on your body and may end up reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes, improve the way your metabolic rate works when you’re resting, and can even reduce your risk for cancer. The addictive properties of coffee are often associated with the caffeine included and if you’re choosing instant decaf coffee you’re addictive properties are reduced by quite a bit. Too much caffeine can have several negative effects on your body.
Can You Have Coffee While Pregnant?
You can have coffee while pregnant! The biggest thing doctors and hospitals ask you to limit when you’re pregnant is the amount of caffeine you consume. If you’re choosing instant decaf coffee you’ll be able to have several cups throughout the day without breaking the 200 mg caffeine threshold. Switching to smaller cups of coffee and decaf will help you keep up with your coffee habit and the communal feel for a cup of coffee without putting yourself or your child at risk.
Where Does Most Coffee Come From?
The majority of the coffee consumed around the world is grown in just a few places. These are typically Brazil, Columbian, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Mexico. The beans are harvested from the trees as cherries then go through the entire process before being sent to large or small roasters around the world! They’re then roasted to perfection and sent back to you in bags or canisters that you can then mix up or use to brew your favorite cup of joe.
Instant Decaf coffee has made a comeback in recent years within the coffee community! Being able to have your coffee without waiting for a coffee pot to brew or boil is one of the best things about instant coffee and weaning yourself off of your caffeine habit is one of the side effects of this easy-to-use brew method.
There are tons of different instant decaf coffees on the market but the ones on our list have consistently been good choices when you’re looking for your next big coffee move. Our team recommends Café Bustelo as the coffee they use is high-quality and the company has been in the coffee game for decades. They turn in a consistently good set of crystals that you’ll be able to use to make a delightful cup of coffee morning, noon, and night.
Choosing instant coffee can feel like a shortcut but when you’re trying to get your coffee for the day, why wait for the pot to boil? Start with a simple cup for you and your partner and you’ll soon be craving those crystals all the time!