Decaf: The underdog?
Maybe it’s time to give it a second crack.
By Bernadette Lawler
Ladies and gentlemen prepare to be astounded, I am here to enthuse and entice the thirst of the third wave coffee surfers. I will use mere words to attempt to disprove years of decaf slandering and to crush the witless jeers. No more will cruel memes haunt your Google searches such as ‘drinking decaf is like wearing a training bra’. My aim is to show decaf is ready to stand loud and proud as great tasting coffee, sans caffeine.
Confession time: I’ve come into this article quite one-sided and am just a fledgling in this industry. But I always back the underdog, so when I came across the fiery rage for the black sheep of the coffee family, I thought I’d give it a chance.
Everyone raves about the amazing health benefits of coffee, antioxidants being one. But anti-oxidants have nothing to do with caffeine levels; they come from the polyphenols which remains in the bean beyond caffeine removal.
“But decaf tastes funny” I hear you say? Not necessarily, it comes down to the quality of the beans and the way they are roasted. Historically decaf was always roasted darker as it was quite a temperamental bean to work with but roasters are continuing to develop new ways to roast the beans lighter, allowing the flavours time to develop.
Here at Climpsons we use the Swiss-water process, which is 100 percent chemical-free, accepted by organic certification standards. It’s simple: coffee, time and temperature are the only elements Swiss-water uses to remove caffeine.
“Bold statements” naysayers will neigh, but consider this: if the ‘third wave’ of coffee is about moving beyond coffee as a pick-me-up, to more of a taste sensation layered with delicate flavours, then why should we disregard decaf, a coffee brave enough to stand alone on these traits?
So if you haven’t ordered decaf in a while, maybe it’s time to give it a go. After all it is still coffee, just without the post-midday shakes and punishing sleepless nights. I vote we quit it with the misguided negativity, and vote we focus our bullying on those who really deserve it: the people who order hot chocolates over the age of 10, the soy chai addicts, and, worst of all, the mocha sissies. I mean, come on! After all, decaffeinated coffee has come a long way since that first pour of ‘brown water’.
By Bernadette Lawler, November 2015