Drinking coffee can help older adults to live longer. That’s according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study showed that drinking decaffeinated or low caffeine coffee reduced the chances of suffering from respiratory disease, stroke, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even injuries and accidents.
However, there are various reasons you may want to avoid drinking caffeinated coffee.
- You have underlying health issues
- You’re pregnant or trying to conceive.
- You’re prone to panic attacks
- You’re breastfeeding
In such instances as those listed above, low caffeine coffee can be a perfect substitute. Here are simple ways of making a cup of coffee with minimal levels of caffeine:
Low Caffeine Coffee Beans
Although there are several types of coffee species, Arabica and Robusta are the most widely cultivated. According to ICO (International Coffee Organization), Arabica is more prevalent in today’s marketplace. It contributes to over 60% of the world’s coffee beans production.
Further, Arabica has a superior taste and lesser caffeine compared to other coffee species. While a 6 ounce of drip coffee brewed from Robusta beans can have up to 140–200 mg caffeine, a similar amount of Arabica yields about 75–130 mg of caffeine. So, be sure to buy Arabica beans for a flavorful cup of low caffeine coffee.
To be sure you’re buying 100% Arabica beans, check the country of origin. If the packaging reads Kenya, Tanzania, Guatemala, Columbia, or El Salvador, then no doubt that those are Arabica beans.
Uniquely, Robusta can hold crema; that’s why it’s commonly used for espresso. Therefore, ensure that your espresso has Arabica and not Robusta coffee grounds.
Since cheap often means compromised quality, it’s advisable to steer clear of low-cost coffee beans. Unfortunately, some coffee bean suppliers use Arabica beans as filler to minimize costs. As a result, the final product retails at a lower price, but in reality, you’ll be buying Robusta beans with an almost negligible amount of Arabica.
Its also great to be careful with European blends. Most contain Robusta coffee beans. Additionally, check the packaging for details about the coffee beans. If no information is available, consider searching online to be sure you’ve bought coffee Arabica.
The Right Size of Coffee Grounds
Finer grounds will release more caffeine, while course coffee grounds will give you lesser caffeine. Therefore, it’s best to use coarse coffee grounds when you require low caffeine coffee. When grinding at home, it might be challenging to know the right grind size. Here is a simple guide to help you achieve the right size:
- Extra Coarse: looks like rock salt (pretty chunky)
- Coarse: similar to sea salt (visibly chunky)
- Medium-Coarse: like course or rough sand (less chunky)
- Medium: similar to regular sand or kosher salt
- Medium-Fine: grounds size falls between table salt and kosher salt (small granules)
- Fine: finer than table salt (almost absent granules)
- Extra Fine/Turkish: feels like powdered sugar or flour (silt-like)
It’s essential to be careful with the brewing procedure. While fine grind brews faster, be sure to be slow with coarse coffee grounds. Otherwise, you might under extract and end up with a hollow-tasting cup of coffee.
Darker Roasts for Low Caffeine Coffee
Darker roasts have lower caffeine levels compared to light coffee roasts. Here is a breakdown of caffeine levels per scoop of coffee roasts:
- Light roast: 1.37%
- Medium roast: 1.31%
- Dark roast : 1.31%
Note that the above figures are only valid when you use scoops and not the weight of beans. Why? During roasting, beans lose about 20% of their water content, and they also swell. As a result, lighter roasts will be heavier but smaller in size. Conversely, dark coffee roasts are light and bigger.
In other words, using scoops as your unit of measurement means adding fewer coffee beans because they are larger in size. That translates to lesser caffeine in your cup of coffee.
You’ll want to avoid using weight as the unit of measurement when brewing. Given that darker roasts are lighter in weight, you’ll need to add more coffee grounds to achieve a similar weight as someone using light roasts. So, ensure you’re using scoops of dark roasts to brew low caffeine coffee.
Consider the Amount Coffee Grounds
Using a higher amount of grounds for your brew will give you a more concentrated beverage. So, why not try a lesser amount of coffee grounds and see whether you’ll like the resultant cup of low caffeine coffee?
Take Note of Your Brewing Time
The longer the brewing time, the higher the rate of extraction, which means higher levels of caffeine in your beverage. I recommend French press or Espresso Coffees–they are among the best ways to brew low caffeine coffee.
Note that high temperature plus longer extraction time result in a more potent brew. As a result, you expect espresso and French coffees to give you a concentrated beverage. However, that’s not true. Here is why:
French press is an immersion method that requires hot water when brewing. However, it’s among the best ways to achieve a low caffeine cup of coffee. Thanks to the fact that you can only use course grinds.
Espresso is served in smaller servings compared to other brewing methods. Therefore, you’ll consume lesser caffeine per a single serving of espresso and higher amounts of caffeine when you drink a mug of drip coffee.
You can also grab a cup of cold brew. It ranks first in low caffeine coffees (from the one containing the least to the one with the highest caffeine levels). Given that cold brew is an under extraction method, you extract about 75-80% of what you could get from a hot brew.
Remember, the hotter the water, the greater the extraction. Since a cold brew lacks the element of heat, the amount of caffeine present in your coffee is tiny.
Pro tip: A single shot of espresso will give you about 50-64 mg of caffeine. Simply make it an Americano by adding 4-5 oz. of hot water. Voila! You already have a cup of low caffeine coffee.
Instant Coffee—Why Not?
Another great option of brewing low caffeine coffee is through making a cup of instant coffee. USDA approximates that out of every 1.8 grams of instant coffee you drink, you’ll have consumed 57 mg of caffeine.
From its history, instant coffee is a simple product. Back in 1906, George C. Washington lived in Guatemala. A coffee enthusiast, he noticed that as a result of coffee build-up, the tip of his silver coffee pot was turning black. A Chemist by profession, he decided to experiment using dried brewed coffee grounds and thus invented instant coffee.
As seen from history, it’s easy to make instant coffee at home. You only need to brew coffee beans then freeze-dry them to remove water. You’ll end up with a concentrated powder which you can add to a cup of hot water, and enjoy your low caffeine coffee. If you like, you can use milk, add creamer and sugar, or even make iced coffee.
Alternatively, you can buy commercially produced instant coffee. However, be sure to confirm that it is made from Arabica coffee beans. Remember, you’re avoiding high levels of caffeine.
The way to a cup of flavorful cup low caffeine coffee is easy. So, you really don’t need to skimp on your favorite beverage because of caffeine. All you need to do is experiment with any of the above methods and see which one works best for you.