Our industry, like so many others, is bursting at the seams with buzzwords and fads. One of the latest additions to the lexicon is half caff coffee, a term popular in the United States for some time but only recently arriving on British shores.
So what does it even mean? Are there benefits to drinking half caff coffee, or is it just another flash in the pan?
All the taste, without staying up all night?
The principle of half caff is simple - blend a regular coffee with a decaf, giving you less caffeine per cup. This can be done at the grinding stage, the pouring stage (if you’ve doubled up on cafetieres, for example), or even theoretically at the roasting stage.
We suggest the former, giving you control over the ratio and allowing you to experiment to find your favourite balance of caffeination and taste.
What’s wrong with just drinking decaf?
Nothing at all! We love our house decaf from Colombia, which is processed in an environmentally sustainable way without nasty chemicals or unnecessary food miles.
It’s a classic chocolatey espresso roast that works well in a variety of brew methods. But what if you want a coffee with brighter acidity, that would suit something like a V60 filter or even a cold brew?
In our experiments at the roastery, we’ve concluded that the best coffees to mix with decaf are very distinctive tasting roasts, such as our natural processed El Salvador El Cipres or Ethiopia Nano Challa. The strong fruity notes of these coffees are distinct enough to shine through the more subdued base flavour of the decaf, maintaining a beautifully balanced cup.
What recipe should I use?
You can get as nerdy as you like with your recipe - anything from a scoop of each, right up to painstakingly micro-managed ratios using jewellers scales and a calculator.
Despite living and breathing coffee, our team members are not immune to the effects of caffeine - a 50/50 half caff El Salvador can often be found on the go if it’s after 3pm. This is a great ratio to start with, allowing you to adjust either way for taste or caffeination. There’s never a wrong answer, as long as it’s tasty!
What are the benefits of half caff coffee?
For those who are sensitive to caffeine, drinking half caff can open the door to experiencing a wider variety of different flavours and roast styles in coffee. Mixing in a good decaf should bring caffeine levels down while preserving much of the original flavour profile. Don’t forget that all our coffees are 100% arabica, which naturally contains less caffeine than the robusta species.
And if you just love the taste of coffee but limit yourself to a set number of cups per day, then it’s definitely worth giving half caff a try… you can just drink more coffee!
Do you have any questions about recipes, or have you tried any of our coffees as a half caff? We’d love to know what you think! Get in touch with us on our social (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) accounts, or drop us an email.