Review of Decadent Decaf Coffee company’s decaffeinated coffee range.

By Chilli Jam Food Blog

Surprisingly, after speaking to many people, there are clear divisions by some about whether we should be drinking coffee at all.  Some are steadfast that decaffeinated is the only way to go.  Others are dead against decaffeinated coffee, saying it’s sub-standard, or a chemically produced, artificial product.  

For many, it comes down to personal taste.  Some consider health reasons, while other say it can have benefits.  Opinions are very definitely divided as to whether they are any real benefits.  Some of those opinions are outweighed by the processes used to remove the caffeine.   There was an interesting article recently in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper sighting likely health benefits.  

My review of Decadent Decaf Coffee Co is not about making any health claims, but simply the quality and taste that Decadent Decaf delivers.   So why do I choose to drink decaffeinated coffee?  The answer is simple – I was advised to switch to decaffeinated coffee for health reasons.   I soon realised that supermarket choice is very limited.  Shelves swamped with caffeinated products, with little attempt to support decaffeinated drinkers!  I have tasted some nasty decaffeinated products over the years; bitter, lacking flavour and very weak!   An afternoon online looking for decaffeinated coffee, soon made me realise that some companies offered a token gesture of decaffeinated coffees.  After reading about the Swiss water process, I realised I hadn’t been buying the best decaffeinated coffee!  

I stumbled across Decadent Decaf Coffee Co., based in the UK.  I was suspicious at first to the claim that their coffee didn’t contain any chemical processes.  Then I read about the Swiss water process, which was once considered expensive and uncommon.  Having read Decadent’s entire website and data on the Swiss water process, I decided to try three of their varieties on this basis.   A benchmark test, having travelled to a coffee plantation on the Kenyan/Tanzanian border in Arusha (base of Mount Kilimanjaro), was Decadent’s Kenya AA coffee.  I added to that their Ethiopian Sidoma and Indonesian Sumatra Mandheling coffees.  Four out their five varieties are all single origin beans.  This is so important in flavour purity.  That said, it doesn’t mean that blended coffee is inferior, if quality beans are used.  

As soon as i ripped open the foil sealed pack, I was transported to another part of the world.  A purely heavenly smell and something that smells as coffee should, despite the Swiss water process.  Under a blind taste test, I doubt anyone would highlight it’s decaffeinated.   Kenya AA is harvested on the slopes of Mount Kenya and is my favourite so far.  This variety is a well balanced, medium-bodied coffee that awakens the palate and has a very pleasant after taste.  Strength 3   Ethiopia Sidamo is a small Arabica bean from Southern Ethiopia, is only harvested once a year, has citrus undertones, but that does not overpower the balanced after taste and no bitterness in sight.  Strength 3   Indonesia Sumatra Mandheling is harvested in Western Sumatra and has a has a deep brown appearance that gives a smooth, sugary body with both depth and subtlety, without treacle similarities like some stronger coffees.  Strength 5.

Whatever choice of region you decide upon, Decadent Decaf only use Arabica bean, which has the most flavour-some and is harvested from high altitudes, unlike the lesser used Robusta bean, used for freeze-dried and instant coffees.   They offer three options for grinding; whole bean, cafetiere/filter grind and Espresso grind.  Postage is worldwide, but FREE in the UK.  Their price point is higher than UK Supermarkets, but quality, taste and variety in comparison wins through!  You will be pleasantly surprised if you’re trying decaffeinated coffee for the first time.  You may pass over previous misconceptions on taste.   I did a blind taste test at work, using Decadent’s Indonesia Sumatra Mandheling and everyone assumed they were drinking caffeinated coffee and not my decaffeinated.  I have been convinced that drinking decaffeinated coffee does not mean a loss in quality and flavour.  I can now enjoy the flavour and taste that those drinking caffeinated coffee also enjoy, but with health benefits.  It is not about the HIT for me, but the enjoyment that comes with taste!   Decaf taste: Score 9/10

July 27, 2015 — Gary Carruthers

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