I love a good cup of coffee but also need to limit my caffeine intake, so I understand the struggle to find a satisfying decaf coffee option.
Lately, Starbucks decaf iced coffee drinks have become my favorite.
Starbucks uses a Swiss water process to decaffeinate its coffee. This process is chemical-free and environmentally friendly, plus there’s no loss in taste.
Read on for more Starbucks decaffeinated coffee tips.
What is Decaffeinated Coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee, or decaf for short, has had most of its caffeine removed. It retains all the other health benefits of regular coffee and usually tastes like caffeinated coffee.
Decaf coffee requires various processes that remove the caffeine from the coffee beans. Some methods use natural filters, while others involve adding a chemical.
The procedure removes much of the caffeine and typically leaves less than 3 mg per cup.
It’s important to remember that decaffeinating coffee removes most, but not all, of the caffeine.
If you can’t consume any caffeine, it’s best to choose options where coffee flavoring has been added rather than actual coffee.
Can You Make Decaf Iced Coffee?
Yes, you can undoubtedly make decaf iced coffee!
Starbucks decaf iced coffee is just decaffeinated coffee with ice added to cool it down.
Since decaf coffee usually tastes the same as regular coffee. Starbucks decaf iced coffee is a popular choice among customers who want to enjoy the same taste of iced coffee without caffeine.
Iced coffee at Starbucks involves several decaf coffee options, too.
From simple iced coffees to more elaborate handcrafted drinks that involve syrups, flavorings, and toppings, it’s becoming easier to enjoy coffee without caffeine.
Does Decaf Iced Coffee Have Caffeine?
While decaf coffee has had most of its caffeine removed, it’s not entirely caffeine-free.
Coffee processors can use any of the decaffeination processes.
This means that Starbucks decaf iced coffee still contains some caffeine, but significantly less than regular coffee, making it a suitable alternative for caffeine-sensitive people.
If you’re looking to avoid caffeine altogether, we’ll explore other delicious drink options at Starbucks later.
Of course, if you’re unsure exactly how much caffeine a particular drink contains, check out the nutritional information on Starbucks’ website.
How Does Starbucks Decaffeinate Coffee?
Starbucks uses natural decaffeination to decaffeinate its coffee beans. The method depends on the roaster, bean type, and processor.
Each method works for a different reason depending on the coffee. Let’s look at each technique and explore its pros and cons.
The Swiss Water Process
The Swiss Water Process is a natural method of decaffeination that uses water and activated carbon filters to remove caffeine from coffee beans before they’re roasted and ground.
Since this process is chemical-free and doesn’t use solvents, it’s become popular for those looking for a more natural decaf option.
It also has the added benefit of smoothing out the taste of the beans, so anyone who prefers a less bitter coffee might enjoy Swiss-water processed coffee.
The Methylene Chloride Process
The Methylene Chloride Process is a chemical method of decaffeination that uses a solvent called methylene chloride. The chemical removes caffeine from coffee beans.
They extract the solvent after removing the caffeine.
This process is more efficient than the Swiss Water Process, but some people are concerned about the potential health risks of using methylene chloride.
Although the processors remove the solvent before selling the coffee, it can be dangerous for those working with it.
The CO2 Process
After removing the caffeine, carbon filters can remove the CO2, leaving just the decaf beans behind.
This process is one of the most effective and environmentally friendly decaffeination methods. It uses no chemicals or solvents but is more effective than other natural methods.
The Ethyl Acetate Process
Another chemical method of decaffeination is the Ethyl Acetate Process.
This process begins with washing the green beans in rounds of water and steam and then using ethyl acetate to extract caffeine from coffee beans.
The beans are then rewashed in water to remove the chemical solvent.
It’s similar to the Methylene Chloride Process, but with a different extractor.
Ethyl Acetate works just as well as Methylene Chloride but without the potential health risks that Methylene Chloride can carry.
What Drinks Can Be Made Decaf At Starbucks?
While Starbucks is known for its coffee, plenty of decaf drink options are available.
Many are simple substitutions for popular drinks, while others have never had caffeine to begin with.
Let’s look at some of the most popular decaf drinks at Starbucks that skip the caffeine without cutting the flavor.
Decaf Iced Espresso
Decaf iced espresso is an excellent option for those who love espresso’s bold, rich flavor but want to avoid caffeine.
Making espresso involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. This results in a concentrated shot of coffee. If the beans are decaf, the resulting brew is also decaf.
A decaf iced espresso is a simple drink of just decaf espresso and ice.
Since it’s so simple, it may be too intense for some people. If you wouldn’t order a shot of espresso on its own, choose a lighter drink like a shaken espresso or iced americano.
Decaf Iced Shaken Espresso
If a decaf espresso on its own is too strong and too bitter, decaf iced shaken espresso is a refreshing twist on traditional decaf iced espresso.
If the Starbucks you typically visit doesn’t advertise this drink, you can ask a barista to make it for you.
They already have the equipment necessary for other shaken drinks. The barista makes this drink by shaking decaf espresso with ice and simple syrup.
The resulting beverage is a frothy, refreshing drink with a hint of sweetness.
You can request more or less simple syrup to taste. Or, substitute in caramel or other flavored syrups to change the taste completely.
Decaf Iced Americano
Another alternative to the decaf iced espresso is the decaf iced Americano.
This classic coffee drink uses decaf espresso and is perfect for those who want a simple, refreshing coffee without caffeine.
To make a regular decaf Americano, add hot water to a shot of espresso, resulting in a smooth, rich coffee flavor with less bitterness.
Starbucks dilutes the espresso in an iced Americano with cold water to reduce how quickly the ice melts.
Note that decaf iced Americanos don’t contain milk or sweetener by default, so make sure to ask for modifications, if necessary, or add them yourself.
White Hot Chocolate
White hot chocolate is an excellent option if you’re looking for a sweet, indulgent drink without caffeine. The white chocolate sauce doesn’t contain coffee or any chocolate that could have caffeine in it.
To create this perfect winter warmer, steamed milk and white chocolate sauce is mixed and topped with whipped cream, resulting in a rich, creamy flavor that’s perfect for a chilly day.
If you’re looking for a caffeine-free drink for kids, it’s important to note that while the Starbucks white hot chocolate has no caffeine, it does have a lot of sugar.
Strawberry Funnel Cake Crème Frappuccino
The Strawberry Funnel Cake Crème Frappuccino is a must-try for those who love fruity, dessert-inspired drinks.
While some frappuccinos use a coffee roast base, others use a vanilla or cream base containing no caffeine.
This drink contains strawberry puree, whipped cream, and funnel cake-flavored syrup blended with ice and your choice of milk. The result is a sweet, indulgent treat without caffeine.
The Strawberry Funnel Cake Crème Frappuccino may not be available in every Starbucks, but the Strawberry Crème Frappuccino is a menu staple that you can alter to approximate this treat.
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino
If you’re a fan of caramel, the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino is another delicious decaf option.
The caffeine is replaced mainly with sugar, but it’s still a great pick-me-up in the morning or a great way to cool down in the summer.
This drink contains caramel syrup, whipped cream, and a crunchy caramel topping blended with the crème base, resulting in a sweet, creamy treat that’s perfect for any time of day.
All crème frappuccinos can be made using oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk if available instead of the traditional whole milk or 2% options.
Cinnamon Dolce Crème
For a warm, comforting drink without caffeine, the Cinnamon Dolce Crème is a great option.
This hot drink has steamed milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The result is a cozy, comforting flavor perfect for chilly days.
Along with the white hot chocolate and steamed apple juice, the cinnamon dolce crème is a great option for younger kids who can’t have caffeine but want to drink at Starbucks with their parents.
People who prefer the taste of coffee with their hot drinks could also add a shot of decaf espresso to the drink for an added charge.
Tip For Ordering In Store & On The Starbucks App
If you’re ordering a decaf drink in-store or on the Starbucks app, specify that you want it decaf.
Add the word decaf to the beginning of your drink order. Ask for “decaf iced espresso” rather than “iced decaf espresso.” You can also customize the drink in the Starbucks app.
Ordering a decaf drink correctly will ensure that the barista makes your drink with decaf coffee or espresso rather than the regular caffeinated option.
You can also ask for non-dairy milk, sugar-free syrups, or extra flavorings to create your perfect decaf beverage.
Can You Get Half-Decaf Iced Drinks at Starbucks?
Ask for half of the espresso or coffee to be decaf and half to be regular for a drink with half the caffeine content of a standard drink.
What Starbucks Cold Coffee Has the Least Caffeine?
Your best bet is to choose a decaf iced coffee or decaf iced Americano with just a single shot of decaf espresso.
Starbucks has plenty of decaf drink options. There’s iced espresso to sweet, indulgent Frappuccinos; just ask for decaf. Did we miss a great decaf Starbucks drink?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Remember to share this article with anyone who loves a delicious cup of Starbucks decaf iced coffee!