Decaf Vs Regular Coffee: Pros & Cons

No matter if you have a go-to coffee order or are always switching it up, you’ll still have to consider whether to go for a decaf or caffeinated drink. Caffeinated coffee is the default, providing that energy boost many of us are after, but the merits of decaf shouldn’t be ignored either.

So, whether you’re ordering from your local coffee franchise or enjoying a brew at home, here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of decaf and regular coffee.

What is Decaf Coffee?

As the name suggests, decaffeinated coffee is coffee with the caffeine removed. Generally, 97% of the caffeine derived from coffee beans is removed to create a decaf coffee.

As such, it is not entirely free of caffeine but contains around 2-7mg of caffeine per cup. A regular cup of coffee contains much more caffeine, with the average cup having 70-140mg, depending on the strength of the drink.

The debate around regular and decaf coffee is hotly contested among coffee aficionados. While some may only have eyes forthe real deal, others may greatly benefit from drinking less caffeine while still getting to enjoy a good coffee.

Coffee cup with Scrabble tiles spelling good morning

The Pros of Drinking Caffeinated Coffee

  • Energising
  • Health benefits
  • Plenty of choices

1. Coffee is Energising & Helps Wake You Up

Coffee is famous for its energising properties, as for a lot of people, a good morning brew is an essential way to start the day. Some people feel they can’t function without a rejuvenating cup of joe – and the caffeine in the drink is what provides this energising effect.

2. Coffee Offers Various Health Benefits

Although there are potential negative side effects of excessive caffeine, when consumed in moderation, caffeine can provide numerous health benefits. Coffee contains large amounts of antioxidants, which can help inhibit cell damage, manage weight and improve brain function.

3. There are Plenty of Choices

Whether you want a light, medium, or dark roast, regular coffee offers so many different flavour options. Creamy and sweet, sharp and acidic or bold and earthy, you can have your pick.

Light roast vs dark roast coffee

The Cons of Drinking Caffeinated Coffee

  • Acquired taste
  • Side effects from too much caffeine

1. Coffee Can Be an Acquired Taste

Taste is subjective; for some, coffee is an acquired taste due to its strength and bitterness. Because of the unique taste, it can take someone quite a while to start appreciating such a distinct flavour.

If you don't love the taste of coffee but still want the benefits of caffeine, matcha is a great alternative. See our guide on matcha vs coffee to see if it's the drink for you!

2. There are Side Effects to Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Too much caffeine can have adverse effects. Any more than around 4 cups of coffee will probably set you over the recommended daily amount of caffeine. Exceeding the recommended limit can:

  • Increase anxiety
  • Make you jittery or agitated
  • Increase blood pressure and heart rate
  • Worsen kidney disease

If you experience these downsides, you might not have to cut out caffeine completely, but just be more moderate with how much you consume.

Two colourful cups of coffee

The Pros of Drinking Decaf Coffee

  • Can be healthier
  • Drink more
  • Can aid sleep
  • Milder taste

1. Decaf Coffee Can Be Healthier

In your quest for the healthiest coffee, decaf coffee may be ideal for reducing caffeine intake. Try switching a caffeine-filled beverage for a decaf once in a while if you start noticing any negative side effects.

2. You Can Drink More Decaf Coffee

What gives decaf an edge over regular coffee is that you can drink far more of it and won’t have to limit yourself to four or fewer cups a day. This way, you can get the comfort of a warm beverage without any of the more negative effects.

3. Decaf Coffee Can Aid Sleep

Caffeine is well-known as an energising ingredient, so it isn’t exactly the best option to have when you’re trying to get to sleep. A nice cup of decaf is far more suitable as an evening drink as it won’t keep you wired all night.

4. Decaf Taste Has a Milder, Sweeter Taste

As mentioned above, taste is very subjective. Some actually prefer the milder, sweeter taste that decaf provides. Decaf still provides a hot, comforting coffee taste with none of the caffeine crashes.

A woman drinking coffee and relaxing

The Cons of Drinking Decaf Coffee

  • No caffeine benefits
  • Fewer options
  • Weaker

1. Decaf Can’t Provide the Same Caffeine Benefits

As there is minimal caffeine in coffee, it can’t offer the same energising effects, so won’t be much good if you want something to perk you up when you’re feeling tired.

2. There are Fewer Coffee Options For Decaf Drinkers

As caffeinated coffee tends to be the standard, there are a lot fewer options when it comes to decaf coffee which can be pretty limiting to people who enjoy variety.

3. Decaf Coffee is Weaker

For some, decaf coffee can feel quite pointless considering it generally contains only 3% caffeine. Many drink coffee because it makes them feel energised, or they simply enjoy the strong flavour, so such a low amount of caffeine can make people wonder why they don’t just get some water if they need an alternative.

So, ultimately, which is better comes down to preference and what you want from a steaming cup of coffee – if you want to feel energised, go for regular, but if you want the experience of coffee without any adverse caffeine-related side effects, go for decaf!

No matter what your coffee of choice is, why not find out where your local Esquires store is to enjoy all your favourite cafe treats?