How Much Caffeine Is In Your Decaffeinated Coffee?

How decaffeinated is your decaf exactly? That’s what Consumer Reports aimed to uncover when they sent their shoppers to sample 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee from 6 locations of Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Seattle’s Best Coffee, 7-Eleven and Starbuck’s near their headquarters in Yonkers, NY. See the results, inside…

CR says that an average cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine. While all decaf will have some caffeine, there are no laws that dictate how much caffeine is allowed in decaffeinated coffee.

Their results,

More than half of our decafs had less than 5 mg of caffeine, but some had quite a bit more. One of the six cups from Dunkin’ Donuts had 32 mg; one from Seattle’s Best had 29 mg; and one from Starbucks had 21 mg. Levels of caffeine in the decaffeinated coffees we tested varied within chains, but in our sample, McDonald’s decaf consistently had less than 5 mg.

Our shoppers bought caffeinated coffee at the same chains, and we found a surprise there, too. Caffeine per cup ranged from 58 mg to 281 mg, providing less or more of a java jolt than you might expect.

We suppose it would be more correct to call the stuff “partially decaffeinated” coffee. If you are someone who is trying to avoid caffeine, you might want to limit yourself to one cup of decaf per day and not drink any before bed. Of course, most of our readers would probably prefer a caffeine IV if such a thing existed.

Is it really decaf? [Consumer Reports]