Non-Toxic Living

The Best Organic Decaf Coffee 2023

Decaf. It’s not a word that’s in my vocabulary very often, but I’m a coffee lover, and there are times when I can’t have caffeine (like when I’m pregnant). Decaf coffee can be pretty bad for you and the environment though, so I’ve been on a hunt for the best organic decaf coffee, and I wanted to share my findings with you.

(If you don’t drink decaf, you’ll probably prefer reading our post about organic regular coffee.)

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.

The Best Organic Decaf Coffee

If you’re like me, and you’re kicking the caffeine habit (for health reasons or otherwise), here are our top organic decaf coffee picks in multiple categories. You can scroll down further for more information on each brand, or you can click the link to purchase it and decide on your favorite.

Best OverallKicking Horse Decaf
Best for the EnvironmentTiny Footprint Water Process Decaf
Best Decaf Dark RoastLifeboost Dark Roast Decaf Coffee
Best Decaf Medium Roast (tie!)Thanksgiving Coffee Songbird Organic Decaf & Volcanica Peru Decaf Coffee
Best Decaf Light RoastDon Pablo Columbian Decaf Light Roast
Best for Your WalletThrive Market Organic Decaffeinated Coffee
Best Decaf Coffee PodsJo Coffee No Fun Jo Decaf

Best OverallKicking Horse Decaf Coffee

There were a few brands in the running for this position, but Kicking Horse’s organic decaf coffee ended up winning the top spot. The brand really cares about the planet and the people who inhabit it, and they make great coffee too.

If you don’t normally drink decaf, Kicking Horse will give you a great place to start.

All of their coffee is shade-grown, fair trade, and the decaf is made using the Swiss Water Process (more on that below).

The company was also ranked as the best place to work in Canada, showing that they not only care for the labels on their coffee, but they also care for their employees. Their customer service is exceptionally quick and helpful as well!

You can buy it pre-ground, but we prefer their whole bean coffee for the freshest taste and best flavor.

You can purchase Kicking Horse’s coffee on Amazon, Thrive Market, and the brand’s own website. We’ve also bought our Kicking Horse from Imperfect Foods, but it’s not always available there.

Uses Swiss Water Method of Decaffeination
Shade Grown
Fair Trade

Best for the EnvironmentTiny Footprint Water Process Decaf

In addition to being shade-grown, Tiny Footprint adds to its positive environmental impact by planting a tree for every pound of coffee sold.

In partnership with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, they plant the trees along the Northwestern Andes in Ecuador where there are heavily deforested areas. Not only are the new trees removing carbon from the air, but they’re giving habitat to hundreds of native birds.

The coffee is organic and Swiss water processed, and most of the beans are fair trade. That being said, they actually partner with smaller family-owned farms that aren’t fair-trade certified, which helps those small farms stay in business.

Additionally, they offer classes to the public and to baristas to help you brew the perfect cup.

You can purchase Tiny Footprint’s decaf coffee on the Tiny Footprint website, and their caffeinated coffee is also available on Amazon.

Uses Swiss Water Process of Decaffeination
Partners with small farms that can’t get Fair Trade Certification
Carbon Negative

Best Dark RoastLifeboost Dark Roast Decaf Coffee

Lifeboost is on a mission to share the healthiest coffee with the world. All of their coffee is certified organic, fair trade, and shade grown, and they use the Swiss Water method of decaffeination.

Unlike other brands that only offer one or two types of decaf coffee, Lifeboost has a huge selection. This is because they roast the beans after you order them, so you get the freshest coffee possible, roasted in small batches, and you can buy ground coffee or whole bean coffee depending on your preference.

Lifeboost Coffee is quite a bit pricier than other brands (which is why they’re not my top pick), but if you’re looking for super fresh and tasty coffee, it’s a terrific option, and they offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not happy.

They also offer “Coffee Perks” and a coffee subscription, which will give you a steep discount of 30-48% off retail.

Read our full review of Lifeboost coffee.

You can buy their coffee on Amazon and through the brand’s own website. But we really recommend going with that subscription plan to save a little more money (and make sure you always have coffee ready to brew).

Uses Swiss Water Process of Decaffeination
Roasted to Order (Fresh!)
Money-Back Guarantee
Subscription Available

Best Medium RoastThanksgiving Coffee Songbird Organic Decaf

Thanks Giving Coffee’s organic decaf coffee is, “Not just a cup, but a just cup.”

All of the beans are shade-grown, and they’re decaffeinated with the water process.

Additionally, many of their coffees support various wildlife causes. This one one in particular benefits the American Birding Association’s programs in Central America. (Hence the name “Songbird.”)

The medium roast is rich, nutty, and complex, and it’s a great way to start your morning.

Uses the Swiss Water Method of Decaffeination
Supports Wildlife Causes

Best Medium Roast – Volcanica Coffee Peru Organic Decaf Coffee

Volcanica Coffee reached out to us recently and let us try a few of their coffees, and we were quite impressed. (Read our full review of Volcanica.)

Their decaffeinated coffee is a flavorful coffee crafted with low acid and a smooth, medium roast. It’s the perfect choice for anyone looking for high-quality amazing coffee while watching their caffeine intake.

The brand doesn’t have their USDA organic certification yet (which is why they’re not at the top of our list), but they’re in the process of getting it.

The beans are decaffeinated through the Swiss water decaf process, ensuring maximum flavor for the best decaf coffee with all the flavor of regular coffee.

Swiss Water Processing
USDA Organic Certification In The Works
Subscription Available

Best Light RoastDon Pablo Columbian Decaf Light Roast

Don Pablo Coffee is a family-owned and operated business based in the U.S. (Miami, Florida).

Since the family has roots in Columbia, so they have many strong relationships with the farmers there, which allows them to pick the best beans available.

The brand grows, picks, and processes their own coffee beans in Columbia, and they roast it after you complete your order, which gives you the freshest, best-tasting bag of coffee possible.

They also have another brand of organic coffee — Subtle Earth Organic, which offers another delicious medium roast.

Uses a Chemical-Free Water Process to Decaffeinate
Family-Owned & Operated in the U.S.
Roasted to Order (Fresh!)
Organic Decaf Coffee Available

Best for Your WalletThrive Market Organic Decaffeinated Coffee

Thrive Market’s organic decaffeinated coffee tastes great and is easy on your wallet.

It’s certified organic, non-GMO, and ethically sourced from farmers in Peru.

Thrive uses the Swiss Water Process of decaffeination, which is chemical-free and removes 99.9% of the caffeine from the beans.

Coming in at under $8 for a 12oz bag, it’s one of the least expensive decaf organic coffees we’ve found.

If you don’t have a Thrive membership, you can sign up here and get a discount on your first order.

Uses Swiss Water Process of Decaffeination
Low Price

Best Coffee PodsJo Coffee No Fun Jo Decaf

Jo’s Coffee is one of the highest-rated organic coffee brands on Amazon, and they offer a variety of coffees, including these decaf coffee pods.

While coffee pods aren’t exactly the best for the environment, Jo Coffee’s pods are a little bit better. They’re plant-based and fully compostable, so these are perfect for the office if you have a Keurig available.

The decaf coffee is USDA certified organic, fair trade certified, and Kosher.

It’s a full-bodied medium-dark roast with sweet undertones, and it has incredible reviews from customers.

Uses Swiss Water Process of Decaffeination
Fair Trade
Plant-Based, Compostable Pods

why should you buy organic decaf coffee?

Why Switch to Organic Decaf Coffee?

Over 150 million cups of coffee are consumed in the U.S. each year. It’s one of the most popular drinks on the planet, and it can be good for us too. In a 2017 study, researchers found that moderate coffee drinkers (those who drink 3-5 cups per day) had fewer premature deaths from all causes.

That being said, coffee isn’t always healthy for us. As much as we love to get our caffeine fix in the mornings, decaf coffee might be a better option at times, especially for those who are pregnant, nursing, or have heart problems. Caffeine can also contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety in many people.

Conventional coffee is one of the most heavily treated crops in the world, and some of those pesticides might get into our bodies when we consume our daily cup. It’s unclear exactly how much can get into our coffee cup, but it definitely affects the environment

Decaf coffee, specifically, is treated and processed quite a bit more than conventional coffee. That’s because decaf coffee doesn’t grow on trees — there’s really no such thing as “decaf” coffee. Instead, the caffeine is removed through chemical processes after it’s harvested, which can further interrupt its health benefits.

That’s why it’s best to choose USDA-certified organic when possible. Not to mention the fact that organic coffee is grown in richer soil, which gives your daily cup more nutrients and antioxidants too.

There are plenty of organic coffee brands on the market, but organic decaf coffee is harder to find.

What to Look for in Organic Decaf Coffee

Head to your local farmer’s market, and you can meet the farmers who grow your fruits and vegetables. You’re able to ask them questions about their standards and growing practices, and you can get all of the details on their particular crop. Doing something like that isn’t quite as easy for coffee though. Most coffee beans are grown in Africa, India, Central America, and South America, so the farmers aren’t as accessible to those of us in the U.S. and Europe.

So how do you pick your coffee? Well, you’re already one step ahead of many people. Do a little research on different brands before heading to your local grocery store to grab a bag of the good stuff. Here are some things to look out for:

Blend or Single Origin?

Single-origin coffee comes from one region. It typically has stronger and more distinct flavor profiles that highlight regional differences.

Blends, on the other hand, are a combination of different coffee beans from multiple regions. Blends are more difficult to get “right” because it takes a lot of skill to know which beans will taste good together.

When you’re picking organic decaf coffee, you can choose a blend or a single-origin. We prefer the taste of single-origin decaf coffee, but it’s harder to find.

Learn more about organic coffee production from Grounds for Change. Fair trade. Learning about your coffee is difficult because most coffee is grown in Africa, India, and Central and South America, which means you can’t talk to the farmer directly to ask about their growing practices. Shade grown

Decaffeination Methods

Swiss Water Process

If you’re looking for chemical-free organic decaf coffee, this is the best method of decaffeination because it’s a more natural and pure method. Plus, the Swiss Water Company’s decaffeination facility in British Columbia is the only facility that’s certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), which is the world’s largest organic certification agency.

So, how does it work? First, green coffee beans (fresh, unroasted beans) are soaked in water to dissolve the caffeine. Unfortunately, the water dissolves other chemicals in the beans that give the coffee its flavor and aroma (like proteins and natural sugars), so the water is filtered through an activated charcoal filter. Because caffeine is a larger compound, the caffeine is filtered out, and the other compounds stay in the water.

Then that water is used to soak the next batch of green coffee beans. Because the water has the sugars and other compounds in it already, only the caffeine is removed from the beans. This results in a chemical-free 99.9% decaffeinated coffee bean.

Here’s a video from the Swiss Water Company that explains how the Swiss Water Method works and how it’s chemical-free:

Carbon Dioxide Process

The carbon dioxide process soaks green coffee beans in highly-compressed carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 extracts the caffeine from the beans, and then the caffeine is removed using an activated carbon filter.

The filter is then reused to remove the rest of the caffeine from the coffee beans.

The carbon dioxide process removes 94-98% of the caffeine from your cup of coffee.

Direct Solvent-Based Process

In the direct solvent-based process of decaffeination, the coffee beans are steamed for about 30 minutes until their pores begin to open up. Then they are rinsed in methylene chloride or ethyl acetate for about 10 hours. These chemicals bond to the caffeine, which makes it easier to remove from the coffee.

After that time has passed, the beans are drained and then steamed again to remove leftover residue.

The direct solvent-based process is often called the “natural decaffeination method,” even though it uses chemicals, but scientists do not believe the chemicals can survive the roasting process.

With this method, 94-98% of the caffeine is removed.

Indirect Solvent-Based Process

The indirect solvent-based process of decaffeination is very similar to the direct solvent-based process.

Instead of the beans being steamed, however, they’re boiled in methylene chloride or ethyl acetate for hours. Afterward, the beans are heated, which evaporates the caffeine and the solvent. Then they’re soaked in the original liquid again, which gives them back their flavor.

The indirect solvent-based process of decaffeination removes 94-98% of the caffeine.

Shade Grown Coffee

Coffee is one of the most environmentally-destructive crops on the planet because we drink so much of it.

Historically, coffee has grown best in the shade. It grows slower in the shade, which gives it a more robust flavor profile. However, when we started drinking more and more of it, production needed to increase.

So a new variety of coffee was produced. It grew faster, but it preferred the sun, so many coffee farmers cut down their trees and started growing the new stuff. According to Earth Easy, “Of the 6 million acres of coffee lands, 60% have been stripped of shade trees since 1972.”

Obviously, this contributes to deforestation, but it also makes the coffee crops more susceptible to pests, which, in turn, makes farmers use more pesticides and chemicals.

You can help make a change by only buying shade-grown coffee. Production follows demand, so if more people buy organic shade-grown coffee (regular or decaffeinated), more shade-grown coffee will be produced.

Fair Trade Certified

When you see the Fair Trade Certified label on your bag of coffee, it means that the farmers have been paid well for their work, that all people involved in the process worked in safe conditions, and they’ve earned additional money to support their communities.

Fair Trade decaf coffee is good for the environment and good for humans, so you should choose it when possible.

Hopefully this guide was helpful to you! Now, go enjoy your cup of Joe.

the best organic decaf coffee

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