Decaf Coffee Demystified

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the leaves, seeds, and fruit of many plant species including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao seeds. If you’re a part of the 83% of US adults that enjoy starting the day with a cup of coffee but want to limit your daily intake of caffeine due to personal preference, sensitivity to caffeine, or pregnancy, decaffeinated coffee may be an excellent choice for you. Here are five common decaf coffee questions answered.

1. What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in plants. Alkaloids are organic compounds containing at least one nitrogen atom that have physiological effects on humans and other living creatures. Caffeine acts as a stimulant in humans but can also serve as a plant’s natural defense against bugs and animals. Other well-known alkaloids include drugs like quinine, morphine, and nicotine.

The amount of caffeine in a single serving of coffee depends on the type of bean and preparation. It can vary from about 40 milligrams in a single shot of espresso to more than 200 milligrams in a strong cup of coffee brewed via drip or French press. It’s also important to know that decaf coffee does not mean caffeine-free. Decaf coffee may still contain 2-4 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

2. When was Decaffeinated Coffee Invented?

German chemist Friedlieb F. Runge is often considered the godfather of caffeine because he was the first scientist to isolate caffeine from coffee in 1820. In 1906, Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee salesman, patented the first decaffeination process for commercial use which involved steaming green coffee beans with water and various acids and then using Benzene as a solvent to dissolve the caffeine. Roselius’s method is no longer in use because Benzene, an organic chemical compound, is now recognized as a carcinogen by the American Cancer Society.

3. Is Decaf Coffee Healthier than Regular Coffee?

When enjoyed moderately, both regular and decaffeinated coffee are packed with health benefits. Coffee is full of essential vitamins like B5  and nutrients like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Coffee also contains antioxidants which have been proven to reduce inflammation and protect the body from free radicals. However, caffeine is a stimulant so if you have trouble sleeping or are looking to decrease your overall caffeine intake, decaffeinated coffee may have additional benefits for you.

4. How is Decaf Coffee Made?

Caffeine is removed from coffee beans while they are green. Green coffee beans are beans that have been harvested, removed from the fruit, and dried but have not yet been roasted. Once green coffee beans are ready for decaffeination there are a few different methods for removing caffeine in use today.

Solvent-based decaffeination utilizes Ethyl acetate (found in ripening fruit and alcohol) or Methylene chloride solvents applied directly or indirectly to green coffee beans to dissolve the naturally occurring caffeine. The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that neither of these solvents poses a health risk, but some coffee connoisseurs find that coffee decaffeinated with a solvent-based method has less flavor and depth than coffee decaffeinated by other means. If you see the words “naturally decaffeinated” when you buy decaf coffee online or at the store, it is likely that coffee was decaffeinated using Ethyl acetate.

5. Where Can I Buy Premium Decaffeinated Coffee?

Our decaffeinated coffees have the rich, full-bodied flavor of regular coffee without caffeine. For premium decaffeinated coffee, hand-selected from the finest growing regions try these best-sellers:

Whipped Coffee Recipe

Are you looking for a way to jazz up your morning coffee? Or perhaps a special weekend treat? Meet the dalgona coffee, also known as whipped coffee. Instant coffee, sugar, and water are the only ingredients required to make this creamy creation from the comfort of home, no barista needed! Follow these easy steps and enjoy a sweet and delicious frothy coffee today.

Ingredients

hills bros. instant coffee

Directions

Combine equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar, and water in a mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously by hand or with a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Fill a glass with ice and one serving of your preferred milk or cream. Spoon the whipped coffee over the milk and ice and enjoy. Whipped coffee can also be enjoyed hot – just serve it over warm or steamed milk instead.

Variations

The fun thing about whipping up your own dalgona-style coffee is the opportunity to experiment. Do you like mocha or chocolate in your coffee? Try whipping cocoa powder or chocolate hazelnut spread into your mixture. If you like a more caramel-y flavor in your coffee, try using brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar.  Milk makes a fun variant as well. Try sweetened condensed or evaporated milk for a Thai or Vietnamese-inspired coffee treat.

Whipped Coffee Around the World

The recent popularity of fluffy coffee may have started in Korea, but whipped coffee drinks have long been enjoyed around the world.

India: Phenti Hui (beaten coffee) – Whipped coffee in India is called Phenti Hui. It is very similar to the dalgona coffee, except the milk is poured over the coffee instead of the coffee topping the milk.

Greece: Frappé – In Greece, instant coffee, sugar, and water are shaken in a cocktail shaker or whipped with a hand mixer to create a thick foam that is served over ice and water or condensed milk.

Italy: Creamy espresso slush – In a cocktail shaker, combine two shots of espresso, and two teaspoons of sugar. Pour half of the shaken espresso into a glass and combine the other half with whipped cream. Spoon the whipped cream mixture over the cold espresso in the glass and enjoy an Italian-style whipped coffee!

Keep Those Coffee Grounds – Uses Around the House, Garden and More

Even if you’re not a fan of composting, you may find that using your spent coffee grounds in your garden is not only a convenient way to dispose of them, but it can also provide many benefits to your plants and flowers.

But did you know that used coffee grounds have other uses you may never have heard of? Read on and we’ll give you the skinny on how to use coffee grounds in your garden, around the house and other interesting and functional ways.  

Slow Release Fertilizer

Did you know that coffee grounds such as Hills Bros.® 100% Colombian are an organic matter? While fresh grounds have more acidity and may make more effective fertilizer for acidity-friendly plants like hydrangeas and azaleas, even the spent grounds can add a dash of nutrients to the soil. Over time, you can actually amend your soil by feeding it organic material like used coffee grounds.

Although you can simply sprinkle the grounds on the soil surrounding your plants, you may find that brewing coffee grounds like tea is even more effective for fertilizing your garden and landscaping. To make this tea, simply add two cups-worth of brewed coffee grounds to a five gallon bucket of water and let the mixture steep for 8-12 hours. Then use it as a liquid fertilizer.

Mulch Additive

Mulching is a great for your lawn and landscaping because it helps soil retain its moisture and also helps prevent the growth of weeds. Adding used coffee grounds to your mulch mixture can make it even more powerful. Coffee grounds enhance your topsoil by adding nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus while also trapping moisture for your plants.

Compost Bin

If you compost, you know the benefit of adding compost to your garden and plants. After you brew a pot of your favorite Chock full o’Nuts coffee, don’t hesitate to add your coffee grounds to the mix. Simply toss them in the bin, where they’ll turn into compost along with other organic matter like egg shells and vegetable scraps, giving you a rich, dense compost that feeds your soil and plantings with a wealth of beneficial nutrients.

Attract Worms, Repel Bugs

Did you know that worms are coffee lovers too? Who knew? Many gardeners use coffee grounds to attract helpful worms to their gardens. Adding coffee grounds to the soil attracts earthworms, which help mix, aggregate and enhance the nutrients in the soil. Their movement in the garden allows more oxygen to penetrate the garden soil and enhances soil drainage.

While earthworms are a win in the garden, other bugs are not as welcome, and may be repelled by coffee grounds. Just as certain plant scents can deter pests and mosquitoes, coffee grounds also deliver a strong scent that many bugs will try to avoid, protecting your plant life.

Exfoliate Your Skin

Coffee grounds, with their abrasive quality, can move from the kitchen to the bath with ease as an effective skin exfoliator. Enjoy your pot of coffee and then simply mix your coffee grounds with water or coconut oil. Then, use the mixture to exfoliate your skin. Additionally, the antioxidants contained in the grounds may provide some benefit for your skin. You can even rub the grounds on your scalp to exfoliate and remove shampoo build-up.

Face Mask

Consider making yourself a coffee ground face mask. Coffee grounds are known to help reduce dark circles from under eyes. They can exfoliate and brighten your skin, and may even reduce the appearance of cellulite. You can make your mask by mixing coffee grounds with olive oil (use equal parts). Apply to your face and let it sit for roughly 30 minutes before rinsing.

Create a Meat-Tenderizing Rub

To enjoy a tender cut of meat, you can rub freshly used coffee grounds onto the meat. You can also mix the grounds with other ingredients to form a flavorful rub. As the meat cooks, the grounds and other rub ingredients will cook onto the meat. They’ll help lock in moisture while creating a crisp outer crust that’s dark and rich. Ideally, you should rub the meat with the grounds two hours before cooking. Simply leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

So, after you’ve had your pot of morning coffee, be sure to give another life to your coffee grounds by collecting them to use in one or any of the ways listed here. It’s just one more way to enhance your garden, and lead a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle.

5 DIY Coffee Crafts

Coffee isn’t just a comforting hug in a mug – it can also spark your creativity! From cooking and crafting to body care, sewing and gardening, you can use coffee grounds, beans, and repurposed containers in a variety of coffee crafts.

Try these at-home activities and show us your creations! Upload your pictures on Facebook or Instagram and tag your favorite brand.

Coffee Craft #1: Coffee Can Planter

Upcycle your ground coffee cans into planters and vases to fill your home or office with greenery.

coffee can crafts, coffee can planter

What you need:

  1. Empty Chock full o’Nuts®, Hills Bros.® or MJB® Coffee canister
  2. Spray paint
  3. Twine or string
  4. Hot glue

How to create:

  1. Empty and rinse your coffee can and remove any attached labels or stickers
  2. Spray paint the exterior of the can with your color of choice. Two or three coats may be necessary to completely coat the can.
  3. Once the paint is dry, add a drop of hot glue to the bottom of the can to attach twine.
  4. Wrap twine around the can to desired height or pattern.
  5. Add soil, water, and your favorite houseplant, herbs or flowers.

Coffee Craft #2: Be a Stay-at-Home Barista or Coffee Chef

If you occasionally grab your morning cup of coffee from a local shop and are missing your favorite barista, now is the time to brush up your stay-at-home coffee skills. You can use your favorite beans and brews to make barista-quality drinks at home. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Coffee Craft #3: Single-Serve Pod Seed Starters

Get your garden growing by repurposing single-serve coffee pods into seed starters! Follow these easy steps:

  1. Gather 10-12 used single-serve coffee pods.
  2. Remove the lid and dump out the coffee grounds. If you compost at home, coffee is a safe and nutrient-rich addition to your compost.
  3. Place the empty pods in a shallow box and fill them with potting soil.
  4. Place seeds of your choice into each pod and water according to seed package instructions. You should have healthy sprouts in a few days to a few weeks that you can use to start your garden!

Coffee Craft #4: Body Scrub

You can also repurpose used ground coffee into a skin-smoothing body scrub. Just make sure to dry out the used grounds before making the scrub!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup used coffee grounds (dry)
  • 1 cup sugar or salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • Scented essential oils (vanilla, lavender or citrus make great additions)

Instructions

Combine the ingredients in a medium-size bowl and store the mixture in an airtight container in your shower or bath. Smooth the scrub on your skin and rinse off for an easy and eco-friendly skin saver!

Coffee Craft #5: Coffee Can Lanterns

Coffee canisters make great lanterns. Punch or stamp a pattern into the can, add a votive candle or electric tea light and enjoy! coffee can lantern craft

What you need:

  1. Empty Chock full o’Nuts®, Hills Bros.® or MJB® Coffee canister
  2. Paint
  3. Hammer
  4. Marker
  5. Clamps
  6. 2×4 or piece of wood you can clamp to your workstation to hold the can
  7. Nail or screwdriver
  8. Votive or electric candle
  9. String or rope (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Remove any stickers or labels from the can and paint your desired color
  2. When the paint dries, attach the 2×4 or piece of wood to your workstation with clamps. Make sure 2×4 extends from the end of your workstation by the depth of your can.
  3. Place the can on the 2×4 and mark out your pattern
  4. Use the hammer and small nail to punch the pattern into the can.
  5. Punch two holes into the top edge of the canister to add optional string or rope to hang your lantern.
  6. Add votive or electric candles and enjoy

Summertime Iced Cappuccino Recipe Ideas

Around 20% of Americans drink iced coffee and cappuccino, and if you’re part of that demographic, there’s no doubt that you’re looking for something new to try this summer.

If you’re not interested in spending all your money at cafes, you’ll love these summertime iced cappuccino recipe ideas. All you need is some simple ingredients, and you’ll have an impressive amount of cappuccino to keep you smiling.

Ready to get your summer really started? Let’s go!


1. Sweet and Simple Iced Cappuccino

Although this list has a handful of more adventurous drinks, it’s important to start with a simple recipe. Consider this your go-to beverage in the morning!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine 2 Tbsp of Hills Bros.® Instant Cappuccino Mix – Classic Cappuccino, 6-8 fl oz cold water and 4-5 ice cubes in a blender.
  2. Blend for 30-60 seconds until smooth.

That’s basically it! Again, this is the foundational recipe in your iced cappuccino journey. There’s plenty of ways to take it to the next level.


2. Garden Galore

If you’ve been exploring your local coffee shops, you might have noticed a surge in lavender or rose flavors. Some people are on the fence about this, but others love that it gives their iced cappuccino a unique taste. This recipe is simple, but also fun to make, and you’ll be sure to impress any visitors.

To make the lavender syrup, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean split in half
  • 2 sprigs of fresh lavender
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of dried culinary lavender

Directions:

Place the lavender, water, sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Fire it up to medium heat and let the sugar dissolve. Once it begins to simmer turn off the heat.

Set the saucepan aside, letting it cool completely. Next, use a fine, mesh sieve to remove the lavender. Add the vanilla extract and stir.  Store it in a sealed container in the fridge.

For the cappuccino portion, you’ll need:

Once you are ready for an iced treat, combine the iced cappuccino with the lavender syrup, and you’re good to go!


3. Cappuccino Ice Cubes

You’ll also need a drink for those days where the sun is really shining. This recipe is perfect for a day when you’re looking for the coldest cappuccino around.

First, let’s gather some ingredients:

Directions:

Combine cappuccino mix and hot water together. Let cool. Pour into ice cube tray and freeze until firm. Enjoy with your favorite Hills Bros. iced cappuccino drink.


4. The Dessert

Sometimes, you need a cappuccino drink that feels a little more like dessert. When that craving comes on, nothing hits the spot better than cappuccino eggnog.

Let’s begin with the ingredients:

Directions:

In a large bowl, whip the egg yolks at high speed. Add 1/3 cup sugar slowly. Reducing the speed to medium, add the milk and heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture. Add the cappuccino. Mix, until it becomes a custard consistency. Chill. Take egg whites out of the refrigerator, add 1 tsp. of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Take out the custard, pour into the egg whites, and mix until fluffy! Garnish with grated chocolate and enjoy!


5. Cappuccino Float

If you’re a fan of adding a little cappuccino to your dessert, this cappuccino float is perfect for you!

Gather the ingredients:

Directions:

In a blender, combine cappuccino, water and ice. Blend until smooth. Add 1 scoop of ice cream to glass, pour cappuccino mixture on top and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. Enjoy immediately.


More to Explore

Relaxing with an iced cappuccino during the summer is a great way to beat the heat. If you’re feeling adventurous make sure you check out our other cappuccino recipes!