If you’re in a hurry and just want the answer, then we recommend getting San Francisco Bay Decaf French Roast as the best decaf k cup.

One of the most convenient ways of making coffee these days is by using a K Cup. The quick and easy process it offers to make a fresh cup of coffee might be the reason why K Cups are so popular.

They are available in many different flavours from nearly every big brand. But not only regular coffee, they also do decaf for those times you want an evening coffee without the caffeine. In this article we will be looking at the best decaf K Cups on the market to help you find the perfect alternative to regular coffee.

Here are the decaf K Cups we are going to take a look at:

k cups in order of colour gradient

All You Need To Know About Decaf Coffee

Reasons To Try Decaf Coffee

I love a good three-course dinner in my favourite restaurant. It’s time for dessert and nothing goes better with something sweet than a cup of coffee. Unfortunately having a coffee at 8 or 9 pm will probably keep me awake all night. Thanks to decaf coffee I can enjoy my favourite beverage at any time of the day.

Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. An anxious feeling in your stomach or an irritated digestive system could indicate that you have had too much caffeine. If you suffer from acid reflux, heartburn or general stomach discomfort after having regular coffee, you don’t have to cut coffee completely out of your diet. Instead you could try replacing it with a decaf alternative.

How Is The Caffeine Removed?

To make sure it tastes just like the real thing there are different ways of removing caffeine from the coffee. The Solvent Method, the CO2 method and the Swiss Water Process are the three most common ones. Comparing regular coffee with decaf coffee pods, shows that these methods appear to remove at least 90% of the caffeine. Most likely there will always be a tiny amount of caffeine left in decaf products, hence the name decaf, and not un-caffeinated.

The Solvent Method

This method starts with soaking the green unroasted bean in water. In the next step the beans are processed with a solvent. The most commonly used chemical solvents are ethyl acetate or methylene chloride. These are circulated through the beans several times until the desired amount of caffeine has been removed. Once this process is finished the beans get washed with water, steamed to remove any remains of the solvent and dried.

Another option is soaking the beans in water only. This process tends to remove too much of the actual flavour. This is probably why the Swiss Water Process was invented. Solvents are popular because they are more precise, leaving more flavour in the bean. The natural chemical ethyl acetate is found in fruits, vegetables and coffee beans. Therefore beans treated with ethyl acetate are labelled “naturally decaffeinated”. Other solvents like methylene chloride may be harmful but should not be found in the final product, as it is removed in the evaporation process of drying the beans.

The Swiss Water Process

Developed in Switzerland, this process uses water as its only solvent. A batch of green beans is soaked in water to remove flavour and caffeine. These beans are sacrificed and thrown out after this step.

In the next step, to remove the caffeine, the liquid is filtered through activated charcoal. A new batch of green beans is then soaked in the liquid containing the flavour of the first batch. The caffeine of these beans is now washed out from the water, which is filtered several times until the desired level of caffeine has been removed. As a last step the beans are left in the liquid, soaking up all those tasty flavours. To finish the beans are rinsed and dried. Voilà – naturally decaffeinated coffee.

CO2 Method

Carbon Dioxide is the gas that makes your water sparkle. This gas doesn’t only make drinks bubbly, it can also make our coffee decaf. The rather expensive method leaves moistened green beans in a container of liquid CO2. Circulating through the bean, the CO2 is a solvent, removing the caffeine from of the bean. To finish the beans are dried which leaves us with another naturally decaffeinated coffee.

cup of coffee next to bag of spilt coffee beans

Finding The Best Roast For You

The roasting process gives the coffee bean aroma and flavour. That’s why finding the right roast for you is so important as different roast styles mean different tasting notes. A light roast coffee usually has a fruity smell and is high in acidity. If you like your coffee mild this roast could be a good choice.

Medium roast is a good middle choice. You get a nice balance of those light, fruity and floral flavours, while also getting notes of those deeper flavours, like nuts or chocolate.

Dark roasts are being roasted longer than medium and light ones. This leaves time for the sugars in the coffee bean to caramelize. These beans develop a full bodied rich flavour with a buttery finish. A dark roast coffee is very low in acidity with a significant amount of bitterness. The main flavour of this bean comes from the roasting process rather than the origin flavour. One of the K Cups we tested for you is a french roast coffee. It is a variety of dark roast that has a smokey and slightly sweet flavour.

If you would like to learn some more about coffee roasting have a look at this video:

Arabica Beans

All the products in this article are made of arabica coffee beans. Arabica coffee tastes sweet and soft with fruit and sugar aromas. 70% of the world’s coffee is made from arabica beans. The coffee plants are grown in higher regions around the equator, and as these beans are lower in caffeine than the second most popular Robusta beans, they are the preferred choice for decaf coffee.

The Best Decaf K Cups Reviewed

The Original Donut Shop Decaf

best decaf k cups

Key features:

  • Medium roast
  • Arabica beans
  • Brews up to 12 oz. coffee
  • Moderately priced
  • Extra bold

A medium roast coffee with a strong flavour and the perfect balance between acidity and bitterness, plus an average price for a better than average product. My highlight is that this coffee is extra bold which means the K Cup contains more coffee than regular K Cups, enhancing all those flavours.

If you’re not sure what type of roast you like, the flavourful smooth tasting Original Donut Shop Coffee could be just perfect for you. Although this is a medium roast you will barely taste any acidity, instead you can enjoy sweet chocolatey tasting notes.

There are some reports of a slow output which could be related to the amount of coffee in the K Cup, but I guess thats not a big problem.

Check price on Amazon

Peet’s Coffee Decaf House Blend

best decaf k cups

Key features:

  • Dark roast
  • Artisan roasted
  • Arabica beans
  • Decaffeinated by solvent method
  • House blend
  • Moderately priced
  • Origin Central and South America

This house blend decaf tastes lively and sweet with citrusy elements. Typical for a dark roast there is some sweetness in a cup of this coffee. The beans have been hand roasted which means every cup has had a top quality roast.

Having a cup of this made me double check which K Cup I used, to be sure it is decaf. Yes! Decaffeinated by the solvent method this coffee leaves you with a decaf that tastes just like regular coffee. The Arabica beans for this coffee are grown in Central and South America and mixed in Peet’s own signature blend.

Some customers reported that the lid of the K Cup comes off while brewing and spills coffee grounds inside their machine. If you’ve been using K Cups for a long time, you’ll know that this is the law of averages and its bound to happen to you at some point. Most people love the smooth and flavourful taste of this dark roast, and complement it for its very low bitterness.

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San Francisco Bay Decaf French Roast

best decaf k cups

Key features:

  • Dark French roast
  • Cheap
  • Uses swiss water process
  • Arabica Beans from Central and South America
  • Compostable cup
  • Family owned company
  • Fair trade & sustainably sourced

This family owned company pays high attention to fair trade and sustainability. No doubt that their product is compostable. The Cup looks different from regular K Cups, instead of a compressed container it stores the coffee in a tea bag-like looking compartment. Don’t worry – this little wonder cup is compatible with any K Cup machine. The swiss water process is environmentally friendly and doesn’t use any chemicals.

Their Arabica beans are being grown at an elevation of 1200 to 2000 metres. The dark french roast creates a flavorful rich and smokey flavour with notes of toasted cinnamon. This coffee really has it all! Environmentally friendly and natural decaffeinated decaf coffee at a low price.

There are some people that had issues with the compatibility as they reported that the cup wasn’t compatible with the machine. Others say that the cups seem to be slightly overfilled with the coffee being pressed together very tight. By gently tapping the cup on a hard surface the coffee gets loosened which should make the brewing easier. Some users said that the design affects the taste of the coffee as it could lose its freshness being unsealed. However, we didn’t have any problems.

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Green Mountain Decaf Coffee

best decaf k cups

Key features:

  • Light Roast
  • Breakfast Blend
  • Arabica Coffee from Central American and Indonesia
  • Cheap
  • Flavour: bright, crisp, clean

A light roast coffees’ taste relies on the flavours contained in the little green coffee bean. In their breakfast blend Green Mountain Coffee mixes crisp citrusy Central American beans with sweet full bodied Indonesion beans. At a cheap price you get a bright crisp and clean tasting breakfast blend coffee.

Tasting this cup will once again make you wonder whether this is decaf or not. It is a great mix of smooth, mellow coffee with no bad aftertaste.

Some people recommend to use this coffee for small amounts only as they find there is a lack of flavour and describe its taste to be similar to instant coffee.

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Tim Hortons Decaf Coffee

best decaf k cups

Key features:

  • Arabica beans
  • Expensive
  • Medium roast
  • Signature blend
  • Decaffeinated by the swiss water process

Canandian Hockey player Tim Horton opened his first shop in 1964. With this K Cup you can enjoy your favourite Hortons decaf in the comfort of your own home. Their coffee beans are grown in Central and South America. They have created their own signature blend and have a quality control team in place that tastes up to 500 cups a day. Plus, their beans are roasted in their own roasteries.

Following every production step Tim Horton makes sure to know where their coffee is from and how it is processed. Using the swiss water process they extract the caffeine in a flavour friendly way. This creates a coffee that is aromatic and tasty with no bitterness.

All this quality comes at a price. This K Cup is definitely on the more expensive side.

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Conclusion

And the winner is… San Francisco Bay Decaf French Roast! I love strong flavourful dark roast coffee! Reducing my environmental footprint whilst drinking fair trade coffee is more than I can ask for.

Knowing that the beans weren’t treated with any chemicals is a big plus! San Francisco Bay is very transparent and gives plenty of information about their product. All this awesomeness comes at a cheap price too!

Everyone has a different taste. This is my clear winner because I prefer a dark roast. All the coffees we reviewed make a good tasting cup of coffee.

We’ve got plenty of Keurig coffee maker reviews to help find you your perfect K Cup machine!

Let us know which flavor you went for in the comments!

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Tom Bolland

Tom Bolland

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