This Could Change What You Think About Decaf Coffee

For diehard caffeine guzzlers, mocking decaf is almost a sport; you can bet they're behind the social media memes that refer to the mellow beverage as "brown sadness water." These barbs don't faze avid drinkers of decaffeinated coffee, though, who take their java sans caffeine because they feel good about making a healthier choice. "A mug of decaffeinated coffee or cup of tea can be savored, because I don't need to gulp it just to clear the dust from my eyes," a decaf convert told The Kitchn. "Coffee tastes better, because it's a beverage now, not a drug."

We've got some surprising news for both the caf and decaf camps: There's caf in your decaf. Because it's been soaked in a solvent to extract caffeine, decaf has less caffeine than regular, but if you see coffee as a "drug," it's time for some real talk: you're still getting a "fix" from your decaf Folgers. To be labeled decaffeinated, the FDA requires that 97 percent of the caffeine is extracted, but if the beans started out with potent caffeine levels, you're still going to have a little more pep in your step than if you'd just had, say, a mug of warm milk (via Consumer Reports). In fact, a study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found that decaf Starbucks can contain more than 15 milligrams of caffeine, which is like drinking half a can of Coke (per Coca-Cola).

All types of coffee have health benefits

While decaf may not be caffeine-free, though, that doesn't mean it's unhealthy. The presence of caffeine in decaf is really only a concern for people who are truly sensitive to this stimulant and experience insomnia, anxiety, or nausea when they consume this beverage, according to Ajay Sampat, M.D., assistant clinical professor at UC Davis Health. "For the minority of people who are really caffeine sensitive, even that small amount can be a lot," he told SELF. For the rest of us who want to enjoy coffee but prefer to dial back the caffeine, decaf is a great choice, according to Sampat. "When it's such a small amount, most people are probably not going to experience noticeable effects," he explained.

Whether you like your coffee mild, or you want your morning joe to jolt through you like jet fuel, you can sleep easier knowing that the antioxidants in coffee beans offer some great health benefits. For one, coffee drinkers could even live longer than those who eschew the bean juice. Both decaf and regular coffee are linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and rectal cancer (via Healthline).