Decaf Coffee Isn't Caffeine-Free
Study Shows Drinking Decaf Doesn't Eliminate Caffeine
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 11, 2006 -- Sticking to decaf isn't going to eliminate caffeine from
That's according to a new study that shows even decaffeinated coffee comes
with at least a small dose of caffeine.
"If someone drinks five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of
caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup or two of caffeinated
coffee," says researcher Bruce A. Goldberger, PhD, of the University of
Florida, in a news release.
Researchers say caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, and
coffee is a major source. Despite this, there are few guidelines about how much
caffeine is too much, and even low doses may adversely affect some people.
People with certain medical conditions, including high
blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, as well as those
taking certain prescription medications are advised to avoid or limit
In an effort to abstain from caffeine, many people turn to decaffeinated
coffee, but researchers say they may be unaware that these decaf beverages also
There's Caffeine in My Decaf!
In the study, published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology,
researchers set out to find out how much caffeine is likely to be found in
popular decaffeinated coffees.
Researchers purchased 10 16-ounce decaffeinated cups of drip coffee from
coffee shops and restaurants and analyzed them for caffeine content.
They found all but one -- decaffeinated Folgers Instant, purchased at a
Krystal fast-food restaurant -- contained caffeine. The caffeine content ranged
from 8.6 milligrams to 13.9 milligrams.
That's about a tenth of the caffeine found in an 8-ounce cup of regular
drip-brewed coffee, which contains about 85 milligrams of caffeine.
Next, researchers tested several samples of decaffeinated espresso shots and
decaf brewed coffee from the same Starbucks location to determine if caffeine
content varied in the same drinks from the same location.
The results showed that the caffeine content of the decaffeinated espresso
shots varied widely -- from 3 to nearly 16 milligrams; the caffeine content of
the decaf brewed coffee ranged from 12 to 13.4 milligrams per 16-ounce
Researchers say even though the caffeine content of decaffeinated coffees is
low, people could develop a dependence on them.
"The important point is that decaffeinated is not the same as
caffeine-free," says Roland Griffiths, PhD, a professor of behavioral
biology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in the news
release. "People who are trying to eliminate caffeine from their diet
should be aware that popular espresso drinks such as lattes (which contain two
shots of espresso) can deliver as much caffeine as a can of Coca-Cola -- about