Have you ever asked yourself how much Caffeine is in Decaf iced coffee? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
It is no secret that decaffeinated coffee actually has a small amount of caffeine in it. So is there a difference in the amount of caffeine between decaffeinated hot coffee and decaffeinated iced coffee?
So, how much caffeine is actually in decaf iced coffee? The amount of caffeine in decaf iced coffee depends on many factors, such as the size of the drink and the caffeine extraction process. There will always be variability in the amount of caffeine in your decaf cup of coffee. However, in general, a decaf iced coffee will have between 2-15mg of caffeine per 8 oz serving.
Learn more about decaffeinated iced coffee, how it compares to caffeinated coffee, and how decaffeinated coffee gets made in the first place in this article.
What makes coffee decaffeinated?
Coffee beans naturally contain caffeine. In order to remove the caffeine, it must be extracted from the bean before the roasting process, while the beans are still “green”. There are three ways this is done:
This is the most common method to remove caffeine from coffee beans. With this method, coffee beans are repeatedly steamed and rinsed with a chemical solution to wash away the caffeine.
Then the solvents are rinsed away from the beans. The roasting process further evaporates the chemicals, leaving only trace amounts that are safe for consumption.
Swiss water process:
This method is commonly used to decaffeinate organic coffee beans, as it does not use chemicals. It uses osmosis and carbon filtration processes to create a “green coffee extract” that contains the flavorful, caffeinated components from an initial stock of beans.
Those beans are discarded and the extract is then filtered to remove the caffeine molecules. The remaining liquid is used to wash and filter subsequent batches of beans.
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method:
This method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and temperature. First, the beans are soaked in water. Then the carbon dioxide is injected into the bean and rinses away the caffeine. The caffeinated carbon dioxide then evaporates, leaving the flavorful components intact.
Decaffeinated coffee is actually regulated by governments. In the U.S.A., caffeine in food is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order for coffee to be considered decaffeinated in the U.S., it must have 97% of its caffeine removed.
How is decaf iced coffee made?
Iced coffee is made by brewing double-strength coffee using water that is just below boiling point. The brewed coffee is then cooled, poured over ice, and mixed with sweetener and a splash of milk.
Many coffee shops also serve it with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Iced coffee is different from cold brew coffee in that cold brew coffee never touches hot water.
Decaffeinated iced coffee is made using the same process, but with decaffeinated coffee beans. As mentioned earlier, coffee beans are decaffeinated while they are still green, before they are roasted and used for brewing.
How much caffeine is in decaf iced coffee drinks?
According to the FDA, decaf coffee contains between 2-15mg of caffeine per 8 oz serving. Compare that to the amount of caffeine in regular coffee, which is between 95-200mg per 8 oz serving.
You may notice those numbers span a wide range – there is a big difference between 2mg of caffeine and 15mg of caffeine in a decaf beverage, especially if you drink more than one cup a day!
Even though decaf iced coffee is made with decaffeinated beans that have 97% of their natural caffeine removed, the final amount of caffeine in the drink will vary depending on what type of bean was used, where you get your drink, what size you order, and how diluted your drink is.
Let’s explore these further:
What type of bean:
Coffee beans come from coffee-growing regions all over the world. Some are grown and decaffeinated organically, some are not. There is a wide variety of roasting processes as well (for example; light, medium, and dark roast).
Read Also: Does Decaf Tea Have Caffeine? (Best Tips!)
Therefore, decaffeinated coffee beans will naturally have varying amounts of caffeine and other substances in them, even ones grown in the same region.
Where you get your coffee:
There have been several studies comparing the amounts of caffeine found in coffee drinks across different coffee shop chains.
Not surprisingly, the amount of caffeine will vary depending on where you get your drink. For example, according to Caffeine Informer, a decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts will contain between 7-15mg of caffeine. Decaf coffee from Starbucks will contain between 15-30mg of caffeine.
What size do you order:
If you read the FDA’s description of the amount of caffeine in decaf coffee carefully, you will notice it says “per 8oz serving.” Now, most people do not measure their servings of coffee, and in fact, most coffee chains serve beverages larger than 8oz.
For example, while a Starbuck Short is 8oz, a Starbucks Tall is actually 12oz, a Grande is 16oz, and a Venti for cold drinks is 24oz. In contrast, a Small at Dunkin Donuts is 10oz, a Medium is 14oz, and a Large is 20oz.
This is important because you are probably consuming more caffeine by volume than you think when drinking decaf coffee. A Starbucks Tall (12oz) cup of decaf will have approximately 15mg of caffeine.
A Dunkin Donuts Medium (14oz) cup of decaf will have approximately 10mg of caffeine. A McDonald’s Large (24oz) decaf will have approximately 14mg of caffeine.
How diluted your drink is:
Iced coffee drinks may have strong, double-brewed coffee in it to start, but that strong coffee gets diluted when it’s poured over ice.
Some shops also add milk, cream, water, or whipped cream to their iced coffee drinks, which dilutes it even further. This decreases the amount of caffeine in decaf iced coffee.
Is there more caffeine in decaf iced coffee versus decaf hot coffee?
As mentioned earlier, iced coffee drinks are made by brewing strong coffee first, then pouring cooled coffee over ice. However, that does not mean decaf iced coffee has more caffeine than decaf hot coffee.
Brewing coffee double-strength will create a greater concentration of caffeine in a hot beverage. However, in the case of iced coffee, that concentrate is then diluted by pouring over ice.
There is less coffee per volume in a cup of iced coffee because the space is taken up by ice. The melted ice also dilutes the caffeine content in the drink.
Therefore, any increase in caffeine compared to a cup of hot decaf coffee is negated when the hot coffee is poured over ice.
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