Best Instant Decaf Coffee in 2022

Best Instant Decaf Coffee

Decaf and instant coffee might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but if you’re sensitive to caffeine and enjoy instant then we’ve got a great lineup below featuring some of the best Instant Decaf Coffee around.

Decaf is a bit of an outcast amongst caffeine addicts, but many of us are sensitive to caffeine. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a great cuppa Java. Decaf is also good if you struggle with insomnia; swap your late afternoon and evening coffees for decaf and you can get the best of both worlds. A good night’s sleep and a soothing cup of coffee.

It is true that you lose some of the flavour and aroma during both the decaffeination and crystallisation processes. So yes there will be a compromise, but you have to pick your poison right?

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Top Picks: Best Instant Decaf Coffee

While you get methods that extract caffeine from coffee it’s unlikely that it will remove 100% of the caffeine, so if you’ve got a severe sensitivity it might be better to give up coffee and tea that contain caffeine. You might be better off drinking caffeine-free teas such as red bush tea, a South African tea that is naturally caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants.

The Origins of Decaf Coffee

Coffee was first decaffeinated by accident by German coffee Merchant Ludwig Roselius who ran the coffee company Kaffee HAG. During the transit of his coffee shipment, Roselius discovered that his coffee leached caffeine into a sweater. He realised that the caffeine disappeared but the flavour remained. 

He then worked on a process to replicate it on an industrial scale by steaming the beans with acids and then using benzene to remove the caffeine. But unfortunately little did he know that benzene is carcinogenic.

Our Picks for the 7 Best Instant Decaf Coffees

1. República Organic Decaf Instant Coffee

  • Roast Level: Medium
  • Speciality: Arabica Beans, Organic, Fairtrade
  • Tasting notes:  Smooth caramel & medium-bodied flavour

Enjoy a nice and velvety cup of South American gourmet instant coffee. Made from 100% Arabica beans (that’s the good stuff), it’s a beautiful gourmet coffee that is sustainably sourced, certified organic and fairtrade.

The jar is made from recycled materials so unlike coffee packets it locks in freshness and looks after our beautiful planet. Republica is a 100% female-owned company who strive to bring awareness and equality to the coffee industry. We’re told that this brand is very popular in Australia, and we’d agree with the Aussies – good choice mate!

Once you’ve added water, the coffee granules melt in the water without the hassle of little bits that float to the top. We’d say that it’s not an ordinary decaf instant as it’s well rounded and full of flavour.

DELICIOUS & SMOOTH INSTANT COFFEE: Enjoy every velvety sip of our gourmet South American instant coffee with its smooth caramel & medium-bodied flavour –the connoisseur’s coffee in an instant.


2. Waka Coffee Decaffeinated

  • Roast Level: Medium
  • Speciality: Arabica Beans
  • Tasting notes:  Well balanced, smooth-bodied with notes of citrus

WAKA is made from high-quality Colombian Arabica beans, which is freeze-dried to preserve flavour. It’s a nice medium roast that is well balanced and smooth and is rated as one of the best instant decaf coffees around. It’s perfect for making whipped, hot or iced coffee.

This coffee easily dissolves without leaving any sediment behind. It’s not just a great decaf it’s a great instant all round. With this coffee, it’s possible that you might not even miss the caffeine. 

And as a bonus, through WAKA’s add water give water campaign the company donates 4% of its profits to clean water charities in countries around the world. So you’ll be doing your bit for the greater good if you buy WAKA.

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Just like our caffeinated instant coffee, the decaf version is also freeze dried to preserve aroma and original flavor of the beans.


3. Highground Organic Instant Decaf Coffee

  • Roast Level: Medium
  • Speciality: Arabica Beans, Organic, Fairtrade
  • Tasting notes:  Deliciously well-balanced flavour profile

Highground is made from organic Arabica beans that are sustainably sourced and fairtrade certified. It’s a nice middle ground mild-medium roast that delivers great flavour for a tasteful cup of instant. This coffee is chemical-free, no solvent extraction to be found in this little jar as they use a Co2 extraction process!

Highground is a good quality coffee that is robust and ethically made. It’s nice and strong when you make it as whipped coffee it dissolves quickly without much fuss. One downside to this coffee is that the lid on the jar doesn’t close tightly so make sure you keep it upright and store in an airtight container if you’re a slow coffee drinker. 

Ground from carefully selected organic Arabica coffee beans, roasted to perfection. Fair Trade Certified for equitable and sustainable farming and labour practices


4. Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Coffee Packets

  • Roast Level: Dark
  • Speciality: Arabica Beans, Fairtrade
  • Tasting notes:  Roasty and sweet with a rich, deep flavour and notes of caramelized sugar

We don’t need to say much to convince you when it comes to Starbucks, by now you know whether you like their coffees or not. The Via Instant Decaf comes in coffee packets so might not be the best option if you’re trying to reduce waste in your life. But the contents of each packet is pretty darn good and it’s ethically sourced. 

Made with 100% Arabica beans, as you’d expect from a Starbucks instant coffee it is quick to dissolve for you to enjoy any time, anywhere. It’s their quintessential Dark roast with a deep full-bodied flavour

With this coffee, you’ll get the Starbucks Italian Roast taste they are known for. 

Starbucks VIA Instant Decaf Italian Roast Coffee is roasted and sweet with a rich, deep flavour and notes of caramelized sugar


4. Maxwell House International Coffee French Vanilla Cafe

  • Speciality: Flavoured
  • Tasting notes:  Rich french vanilla

If you enjoy a sweet and flavoured coffee, then this could be the one you’ve been looking for all along. Make it with milk instead of water for extra creaminess. 

This coffee is strongly vanilla flavoured with a hint of coffee, resembling a dessert drink rather than a punchy cup of coffee. The blend contains decaf coffee and a powdered non-dairy creamer. Even though it says non-dairy it still contains Sodium Caseinate which is derived from milk, so it won’t be suitable for vegans for example. 

We think this is a good alternative to hot chocolate if you’re looking for a sweet treat. It does contain 60 calories per cup so perhaps not the best coffee if you’re hoping to shed a few lbs or if you drink a lot of coffee as it can all add up. But this post is about great taste so on that front it scores!

Rich and creamy coffee with a dash of vanilla flavour, inspired by the cafes of Europe


6. Folgers Classic Decaf Decaffeinated Instant

  • Roast Level: Medium
  • Speciality: Sustainably sourced
  • Tasting notes:  Rich aroma

Folgers Classic Decaf comes in a flip-top jar that is easy to open but unfortunately also made of plastic so not great in the sustainable packaging department. But moving past the packaging Folgers coffees are well balanced for a rounded aroma that will please your senses. You can also find this coffee in a single-serve instant packet.

This coffee is the perfect way to satisfy your coffee needs without keeping you up at night. It’s not the strongest coffee, but you can double up for extra punch if you need to. 

Delicious taste and rich aroma of Folgers medium roast coffee, ready in seconds — no coffee maker required


7. Tim Hortons Premium Instant Coffee

  • Roast Level: Medium
  • Speciality: Arabica Beans, Fairtrade
  • Tasting notes:  Smooth, well balanced and medium-bodied

Tim Hortons has a real roasted flavour that is not too strong or bitter, yet it’s not too light. It’s a well balanced, medium-bodied decaffeinated coffee with a nice and smooth finish. The beans are 100% Arabica and sourced from the rich volcanic soils of Colombia.

This premium coffee blend is naturally decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process which helps to preserve flavour. It’s a tasty cup of coffee, perfect for a worry-free nightcap. 

A well balanced medium-bodied coffee. Made with 100% Arabica beans


How do they Make Instant Decaf Coffee?

To investigate the process of making decaf instant we’ll need to start with the caffeine as that’s how the journey begins. Removing caffeine from coffee isn’t exactly straight forward. Most coffee companies use specialists to help decaffeinate their beans. 

The caffeine is normally removed while the coffee is still green and before the coffee cherries are roasted. 

When it comes to decaffeination you have a few options, the most used is soaking the beans in a solvent such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. You also get the Swiss Water method, which is a more natural process. And the last method is one that uses liquid Co2, more on that below.

Solvent Soaking Method

To separate the caffeine, coffee cherries or green coffee are usually soaked in one of two solvents.

Methylene chloride, which is also used for making paint stripper and degreasers, this can sound alarming right?

Ethyl acetate on the other hand is a fruit ether most often made from acetic acid. Acetic acid is the cornerstone for making vinegar but can also be used n nail polish remover. Although that might sound scary, it’s a natural acid.

The first step of removing caffeine from coffee beans is to soak them in a solvent containing water which works to extract the caffeine. This whole process might not sound like the most healthy option, but both these solvents have received the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration who classed the risk to health as low. 

The Swiss Method

The Swiss method is often seen as an environmentally and human-friendly way of removing caffeine from coffee. With this method, the beans are soaked with water. The caffeine solution is then strained using activated carbon. This captures the caffeine. 

This process of caffeine extraction was developed in Switzerland during the 1930s and later commercialised in the late 1970s. Many premium coffee brands prefer this method as it eliminates the use of solvents. 

The Liquid Co2 Method

This method is a little bit more high tech than the Swiss method as it involves soaking the beans and then putting them in a stainless-steel extractor which is sealed while pressurised liquid Co2 is blasted into the container. The Co2 then binds with the caffeine, extracting them from the green coffee. To finish the process the pressure is lowered and the caffeine is left in a separate chamber. 

It’s a clever method for extracting caffeine, but it’s also an expensive method.

How is Instant Coffee Made?

Once the caffeine has been removed they will start the roasting process. The roasting process is highly individualised by brand and roast level and comes down to personal preference in the end. Once roasted the beans are ground and then brewed using an industrial pressure controlled process. 

After the coffee has been brewed the water is removed to produce the recognisable instant coffee granules. This is done using one of three methods.

Freeze Drying: Here the brewed coffee is frozen to around -40C. Once frozen the ice is shattered and dried using a vacuum. This sublimates the ice leaving you with the coffee granules.

Centrifuge: This type of process involves spinning the container to apply a centrifugal force which separates the water from the coffee solids, clever right?

Spray-Drying: Brewed coffee is sprayed into a stream of hot air from a height. As the drops fall they dry and become a fine powder by the time they get to the bottom. 

And that’s how they make decaf instant in a nutshell.

The Darker Side of Caffeine

Even though caffeine has many health benefits it can cause reactions and side effects in some people. So it’s not uncommon for people to switch to a decaf coffee based on their doctor’s advice. 

Caffeine can cause anxiety, muscle tremors or the shakes, stomach upset and diarrhoea, sweating and heart palpitations. It’s also suspected of causing bladder weakness. 

For some of the most dedicated coffee fans, this can be a shocking and painful experience as coffee drinking is a habit ingrained over many years and it’s hard to break that routine. Caffeine is also a stimulant so quitting it abruptly can cause withdrawal headaches.  

And for that reason, we’d recommend that you slowly reduce your coffee intake unless your doctor advised you otherwise of course. In that case, listen to them, they’re the experts when it comes to your good health – we’re just coffee fans over this end.

Who Should Drink Decaf Coffee?

You should avoid caffeine and go for decaf coffee if you experience any of the symptoms described above such as stomach upset, muscle tremors and heart palpitations, or if you have been advised by your doctor to avoid caffeine. If this is the case then yes it’s best to stop drinking coffee altogether or to switch to a decaf coffee. 

Given that caffeine can be extracted using solvents, drinking decaf coffee for non-medical reasons might not be the best idea – unless you buy decaf that has been produced using the Swiss or Co2 method of course. Caffeine also has a long list of potential benefits that you might miss out on if you switch to Decaf for no particular reason.

The Benefits of Coffee

Caffeine has a long list of benefits, but it is also stimulant so drinking 10 cups a day is probably going to give you the shakes – so keep your coffee drinking in check. 

In moderation, coffee contains a lot of antioxidants so can be good for you! According to Medical News Today coffee can help with:

  • Weight loss, by suppressing your appetite or stimulating thermogenesis so that the body generates more heat and energy
  • Alertness, even though coffee is not a substitute for sleep it can make you feel more alert
  • Sports performance, caffeine can improve endurance during exercise but the effects on short bursts of high-intensity exercise are inconclusive
  • Brain function and memory retention
  • Lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, kidney stones, strokes and certain cancers

And now you know everything you need to know about instant decaf coffee, how it’s made and which ones we feel are worth your time and effort. 

If you’re a complete coffee fanatic like we are, then we don’t see why you shouldn’t have a cup of decaf to keep the night time insomnia away. Perhaps just go for a more natural caffeine extraction method such as the Swiss or Co2 method to keep the chemicals at bay. 

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