Far back in the mists of time of my student days, black coffee was my drink of choice, accompanied by my trusty Gauloises (oops). Fast forward to now, and I can rarely drink it due to caffeine-induced headaches. When I read about the Decadent Decaf Coffee * company over on the lovely Rebecca’s Reviews blog I was intrigued. So when the company put a callout on Twitter for taste testers, I volunteered immediately.
Decadent Decaf Coffee
DDC was set up by passionate coffee drinkers and experts in sourcing, importing and roasting. When they couldn’t find any great tasting decaf, they decided to make some themselves.
Co-founder, Guy Wilmot, says most roasters don’t use good quality decaf green beans and decaf coffee was produced using chemical solvents, resulting in weak, insipid or bitter coffee. The usual decaffeination process is expensive so low quality coffees (or old coffee from past crops) were used. Which is probably why every decaf coffee I’ve tried before has been disgusting, with zero aroma or flavour.
How is Decadent Decaf Coffee different?
DDC use the Swiss Water® decaffeination process which gently removes the caffeine and leaves the coffee flavours in the bean. Just using water means it’s environmentally friendly, chemical-free, and 99.9% caffeine-free. And using high quality green coffee beans which are then roasted in small batches in the UK means this is a really fresh cup of decaf coffee. So far, DDC have won five Great Taste Awards and been featured in The Telegraph Best Decaf top buys too.
Guy kindly sent me two packets of ground coffee to trial (we don’t have a grinder but you could opt for beans if you have one). The Columbia Medellin (strength 3) with a “sweet nuttiness, round body and balanced acidity,” and the Indonesia Sumatra (strength 5) with a “deep brown sugar body, smooth cocoa finish and intense aroma.”
When you open the packets, you’re immediately enveloped in that gorgeous freshly roasted coffee aroma. It’s been a while since we had proper filter coffee so I wasn’t sure how much to put in. After digging out and washing our beloved Alessi cafetiere, I added six heaped teaspoons on the premise that you can always dilute down once brewed. Tip: boil fresh water for maximum oxygenation (as for tea) but let it cool for a few minutes before pouring, as boiling water burns the coffee. After letting it brew for five minutes, we were ready to taste it.
We decided to try the Columbia Medellin first, and it was absolutely delicious. Rich, smooth, full flavoured and, yes, that hint of nuttiness. This was definitely my favourite.
Next we tried the Indonesia Sumatra, which was also lovely, full bodied, and a stronger cup of coffee. This was my husband’s favourite.
We’ve been trialling these coffees for a few weeks now. In all honesty, you would never know you were drinking decaf coffee. Friends, including some real coffee aficionados, couldn’t tell either. We kept the open packets in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place, as per the instructions to maintain flavour.
What are the benefits of decaf coffee?
Firstly, Flora has been able to try some. I would never normally let a child drink full strength freshly roasted coffee but because there’s practically zero caffeine in these packets, she’s been able to enjoy it along with Mummy and Daddy 🙂 So I could have drunk this while I was pregnant and breastfeeding too.
Secondly, as those of you who follow my gardening blogs may remember, used coffee grounds make an excellent soil improver, so we’ve not wasted anything we’ve used.
Other health benefits include the high levels of remaining antioxidants that may prevent conditions associated with cancer, and may also reduce the risk of incurring diabetes.
The polyphenols in coffee beans aren’t lost during the Swiss Water decaffeination process either. These can boost the brain’s cognitive abilities and improve memory. So drinking this decaf coffee may also contribute to the prevention of mental decline due to old age and Alzheimer’s disease. My favourite aunt, who celebrated her 92nd birthday recently, drinks a lot of coffee is as sharp as a tack so I think there’s definitely something in this!
Would I buy?
Yes. I’m not going to waffle or equivocate, I will definitely be buying more once we run out. I’m tempted by the bundle offer of all six bags with free shipping from DDC direct as I think they’d last us quite some time. Or, if you’re a real coffee lover, you could even take out a subscription or gift some coffee to a lucky friend. And you can also buy Decadent Decaf Coffee from Amazon with your book order or from Ocado if that’s easier.
I realise that decaf coffee won’t suit everyone. Some people thrive on the caffeine buzz and it can make them more productive. But the pleasure of drinking real coffee without the previously associated caffeine headaches is something I’ve really appreciated over the last few weeks. It’s lovely to be able to enjoy the coffee culture again, even if it’s only at home!
Have you ever tried decaf coffee before? Are you tempted to now?
* I was gifted these coffees in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review.