Is there Caffeine in Decaf?

caffeine in decaf

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #71CCD5;”] D[/dropcap]id you know that decaf coffee and tea actually still contains some caffeine?

You did?

Why didn’t you tell me?!

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my sleep again over the last few months.

And while I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out sooner, I’m happy to have made the connection now.

Apparently the decaffeination process reduces the amount of caffeine.

But doesn’t completely eliminate it.

There’s still 20-30% of the caffeine in decaf.

It’s ‘de-caf’ not ‘non-caf’.

Make so much sense now.

No more ‘decaf’ for me in the afternoon or at dinner!

More on Sleep


  • I usually stop drinking coffee around 2 pm otherwise it affects my sleep; and I avoid ‘decaf’ anything because of the extra processing. True coffee is mostly (now) decaf using a water method but as far as I know tea is decaffed still with solvents. If I need something without caffeine I use Roibos tea which has enough body to feel like real tea even though it is technically not a real tea (go figure). Once when I really tired and had a 1.5 hour trip home I went to Tim Horton’s (coffee chain) and ordered a mix of decaf coffee and hot chocolate. It was only slightly sweet and drinkable, did the trick of keeping me awake but did not prevent me falling asleep when I got home. Who knows? Sometimes I have trouble sleeping when I have had no caffeine after 10 am.

    • I’ve been getting into Roibos as well Miriam – love the flavour and apparently it has some antioxidant / phenolic properties – so good on that front as well!

  • There is one other unfortunate cause of sleeplessness due to caffeine: chocolate. When I was having a lot of problems sleeping (which were probably mostly due to having mature cataracts), my doctor pretty much took me off chocolate. These days I limit the amount of chocolate and don’t have any after about 2:00 PM. Since I know you love chocolate, you might want to consider limiting your time frame for eating it.

  • Hi Jules,
    Lately my sleep has also been *not great*.
    I’m starting to notice that I’ll consume coffee more out of habit than necessity, and keep forgetting that that odd afternoon soda will still have caffeine consequences 6+ hours later.
    The other challenge is that i enjoy tracking my sleep with an app on my phone, but that means keeping it in the same room as i sleep, something others have recommended against.

    One little trick that’s worked for me is a tonic made of hot water, raw honey and apple cider vinegar. If i haven’t had too much caffeine and especially if i’ve exercised that day, it works like a tranquilizer :P

    • Thanks for sharing your tranquilizer Tobin – sounds interesting.

      Hope your sleep is better soon. The biggest thing that has helped me is limiting my time in bed. So only going to bed when I’m sleepy. Amazing how well it works.

  • I knew about the caffeine in decaf because I can feel right away when I’ve had caffeine. Lately, I’ve started using the same decaf tea bag from the time I wake up until I go to bed. It’s Barry’s (ask Your Irishman about Barry’s) so it starts out strong but it gets less strong and, more importantly, less caffeinated as the day goes on. By the end of the day I’m pretty much drinking hot water with cream.

    • ooh we love Barry’s Cheryl! My Irishman’s mother sends us over boxes – and I’ve been getting her to send their decaf which is lovely! I love your idea of reusing the bag thoughout the day :)

    • Thanks for sharing Jess!

      I actually did an experiment with 2 weeks completely caffeine-free and my sleep wasn’t any better. So I’m happy to stick to my current decaf :) Andhave started drinking white tea (my fave) in the mornings!

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