Is Decaf Coffee Addictive?

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Decaf coffee can be a fantastic alternative for anyone trying to cut back on their caffeine intake. I decided to make the switch once I realized how hooked I was on my daily coffee. Although, I always wondered if decaf coffee was addictive as well. The last thing I want is to switch one habit for another. After doing some research, I put together this article with all the answers.

Yes, decaf coffee is addictive if consumed regularly. The small amount of caffeine in a cup of decaf is enough to cause a dependency in individuals who rely on the drink in the morning or to accomplish daunting tasks. As little as two mugs of decaf coffee per day, consumed regularly, can get you hooked.

Decaf is certainly not as addictive as a real cup of joe. I found it a lot easier to stop drinking decaf than to skip my morning coffee.

It’s easy to think that removing nearly all the caffeine from coffee beans will make them less addictive, but it’s important to know there are other factors that make coffee addictive besides caffeine.

What Makes Decaf Coffee Addictive?

Many of us believe that decaf coffee is caffeine-free, which is not true.

Decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free. A standard 8-ounce mug consists of roughly 7mg of caffeine. The caffeine content fluctuates from brand to brand.

When compared to a regular coffee, and 8-ounce serving has anywhere between 70-140mg of caffeine.

Obviously, the tiny fraction of the substance in decaf isn’t as impactful but it’s enough to get people hooked. Especially after overconsumption.

Besides caffeine, it consists of several alkaloids that are responsible for addictions. Coffee beans consist of two main alkaloids that are known as caffeine and trigonelline.

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds that occur in some groups of plants. They are found in nicotine, morphine, and several other highly addictive drugs.

It’s no surprise that decaf coffee is addictive, even after most of its caffeine is removed, there are other particles within coffee beans that are as addictive as some of the most addictive substances on the planet.

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Side Effects of Decaf Coffee

There are advantages to consuming decaf coffee. It is loaded with antioxidants and contains nutrients too.

A cup of decaf coffee can be good for the body. A single cup of decaf coffee consists of 2.4% of magnesium, 4.85% potassium and 2.5% niacin, which is beneficial. It also consists of vitamin B3 that is very essential for the body’s growth.

Although, where we find benefits there also tend to be drawbacks. Several reports show that regular consumption of decaf coffee can cause several side effects.

As it turns out, caffeine isn’t the only part of your coffee that can have a negative impact on your body.

Too Much Decaf Can Lead to Heart Problems

Several studies show that excess consumption of decaf coffee can increase the levels of bad cholesterol, which is not a good sign. The same study was conducted for regular coffee too but there were no side effects such as an increase in the level of bad cholesterol.

Decaf coffee in general is responsible for the increase of specific blood fat that is linked to metabolic syndrome. However, decaf coffee may not be the problem itself, instead, it’s the chemicals used during the decaffeination process that are causing the issue.

Headache and Drowsiness

Headache and drowsiness are caused because of withdrawal symptoms. Individuals that have switched from regular coffee to decaf coffee can experience withdrawal symptoms that cause headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness.

In addition, another reason for headaches and drowsiness is the use of methylene during the decaffeination process. Continuous use of chemicals can slow down the nervous system. This can further result in headaches and drowsiness in individuals.

Stomach Discomforts

The acidity in decaf can lead to stomach issues, which are a result of increased serum gastrin concentrations. Gastrin is a hormone that triggers the release of stomach acid and is responsible for acidity. The results were different when tried with regular coffee.

May Enhance Rheumatoid Arthritis

Consumption of decaf coffee can cause side effects that are linked to the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. This risk was not seen in regular coffee, which confirms that decaf coffee can cause a risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Further studies need to be done to solidify the results of these tests.


When I decided to kick my coffee habit, I thought decaf was the perfect solution. Once I asked myself if decaf was addictive, I started to realize that switching one bad habit for another wasn’t the right answer.

Since decaf coffee doesn’t have the same amount of caffeine as a fully jacked cup of joe, it is significantly less addictive. Remember that overconsumption of decaf can lead to a dependency non the less.

Believe me, quitting decaf is a lot easier than getting over your morning-pick-me up but don’t be surprised when the aroma and flavor of your new habit keep you coming back day after day.

Related Questions

Does Decaf Coffee Taste Different?

You can imagine the processing of decaf coffee beans alters their flavor. The change in taste is enough for an avid coffee drinker to notice the difference but not dramatic enough for a new coffee consumer to tell the two apart.

We have an entire article dedicated to the subject here.

Is Decaf Coffee More Expensive?

Decaf coffee beans are more expensive than regular coffee because of all the additional processing they need to go through during the caffeine extraction process.

If you wish to learn more about why decaf coffee is more expensive, click here.

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