• Nick Ashton

Decaf is not a swear word

Research shows there are positive short term benefits of caffeine. These include improved concentration levels, enhanced sports performance and greater alertness. Many sleep deprived parents the world over will vouch for the power of coffee in the morning, the drug of choice for the sleep deprived! Although the positive effects of caffeine cannot be understated and the taste of decent coffee is an essential for many people these days, for some, caffeine is really not a good thing.

Aside from children and pregnant women, where anything other than low levels of caffeine consumption are associated with negative health effects, there are plenty of other people who are just highly sensitive to caffeine. For some, consuming coffee can lead to a sense of panic, anxiety and stress. Whether this is due to genetic factors, underlying mental health problems or a lack of previous caffeine exposure, coffee just does not seem to agree with some people.

No one is immune to the effects of high caffeine levels, even those people who regularly drink a lot of coffee. Just take a look at the London Coffee Festival and you’ll see what I mean! Also, speaking from personal experience, coffee late into the day really isn’t helpful for those people who sometimes struggle to drop off at night. It might mean missing out on coffee ‘opportunities’ occasionally, but you don’t remember that the following day after a good night's sleep.

For those people who are sensitive to caffeine but still want a great coffee experience, the future looks bright! Speciality coffee roasters are recognising the need for better decaf and as a result the choice and quality today has moved a long way. The decaffeination processes being used now mean none of the undesirable side effects previously associated. Thankfully, the characteristics of the coffee beans are no longer being lost in a sea of chemical solvents.

We will be brewing Fazenda Klem decaf later in the month at our next event, The Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress. Roasted by James’ Gourmet Coffee and with a 91 point score in the Brazilian Cup of Excellence in 2017, this coffee is a great example of how far decaf coffee has come. Maybe decaf will never be commonplace at coffee competitions such as the SCAE World Barista Championships, but hopefully this side of the coffee industry will continue to grow and more and more people will give today's decaf the credit it deserves.

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