Many enjoy a cup of coffee but don’t like the jitters or other side effects the caffeine in regular coffee typically causes.
Half-caff is a delightfully balanced coffee blend that is an excellent compromise. But you may wonder what half-caff coffee is and what’s in it.
Half-caff is a blended coffee mixture made with equal parts caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee beans. This coffee blend has about half of the caffeine that’s typically in a regular full cup of coffee. Combining these two coffees will create a smooth and less bitter taste.
You don’t have to visit a fancy coffee shop to enjoy this blend because it’s easy to make in the comfort of your home.
This article will discuss what’s in half-caff coffee, the caffeine content, taste differences, and the benefits half-caff coffee provides.
What is half-caff coffee?
If you’re wondering what half-caff coffee is, it’s simply a 50/50 blend of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
This combination creates a cup of joe with about half of the caffeine you would consume from a regular cup of coffee.
Hence the name “half-caff.”
So, a typical 8 oz (236ml) cup of decaf coffee may contain about 2 mg of caffeine versus regular coffee, which can have about 95 mg of caffeine or more.
Of course, the amount of caffeine in a typical cup of regular and decaf will significantly depend on the bean quality and the process the beans go through before you take that first sip.
Regular coffee contains complex, natural bean flavors that include a generous amount of caffeine.
Decaf coffee undergoes a process that removes most of the caffeine in the coffee beans.
But decaf coffee typically keeps much of the bean’s natural flavors during the decaf process, depending on the extraction method used.
So, when you mix them together in equal parts, you’ll end up with about half of the caffeine a regular cup of coffee offers.
How much caffeine is in a cup of half-caff coffee?
There’s about 50 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz (236 ml) cup of half-caff coffee. An 8 oz (236 ml) cup of regular coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, and decaf contains about 2 mg of caffeine.
Half-caff is a 50/50 mixture of regular and decaf coffee, resulting in a decreased amount of caffeine.
Does half-caff taste different?
Because of what’s in half-caff coffee, the taste will slightly differ from regular coffee.
Some people describe half-caff as tasting smoother and less bitter. And that could be because caffeine contributes to coffee’s bitter taste.
Also, the quality of the caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee beans can significantly impact the flavors.
For example, lower-quality decaffeinated beans can taste sour due to the beans’ decaffeination process.
And some decaffeination methods will use chemical solvents that also eliminate most of the natural bean flavors and aromas.
How caffeine contributes to taste
Caffeine and how it contributes to the bitterness of tea, coffee, and sodas have been studied for decades.
There’s been a lot of controversy over caffeine actually having a bitter taste.
Caffeine is an alkaloid, and alkaloids are known to trigger bitter taste receptors in our bodies because they can be considered toxic substances.
So, caffeine does contribute to the bitterness in coffee by signaling your bitter taste receptors.
The caffeine also reacts with other components in the bean, which can change the level of bitterness, depending on the bean and roasting process.
Decaf bean quality and extraction method matter
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you know the taste in coffee bean quality differs. So, starting with quality beans is essential to prevent losing too much of the complex flavors and aroma.
There are several ways to extract the caffeine molecules from coffee beans, but decaffeination typically entails using liquids to “wash” the beans.
The beans undergo several washes until virtually 97% of the caffeine is eliminated.
But the bitter caffeine isn’t the only thing that’s compromised during the extraction process.
The acids, sugars, and most of the flavors will also be lost during the process as well, especially when the most common methods used involve chemical solvents for the decaffeination process.
The two natural methods used that keep almost all of the natural, delicious, and complex bean flavors are Swiss Water and the CO2 process (supercritical carbon method).
Is half-caff healthy?
An 8 oz (236 ml) cup of half-caff is healthier than an 8 oz (236 ml) cup of regular coffee because it contains less caffeine.
Research shows amounts lower than 400 mg of caffeine a day are beneficial for brain function. Larger amounts have been shown to cause short- and long-term health issues.
So, if you’re consuming large amounts of caffeine daily, you can significantly improve your health by decreasing your caffeine intake.
And half-caff is an excellent choice to help achieve this because you’ll still get to enjoy the taste and aromas of that delicious cup of coffee while gaining the following benefits of decreasing your caffeine:
- You’ll notice an improvement in your health
- You can still enjoy the boost without the jitters
- It helps wean off caffeine dependence without severe withdrawals
How a caffeine decrease can improve your health
As previously mentioned, half-caff coffee has roughly half the amount of caffeine versus a regular cup of coffee.
So, this coffee blend is an excellent alternative for coffee lovers who want to reduce caffeine intake.
It’s also great for those wanting a quick pick-me-up without too much caffeine.
It’s recommended to have no more than 400 mg of caffeine daily, which is only about 4 cups of regular brewed coffee.
And there are also many common health issues associated with higher amounts of caffeine intake, especially if it’s prolonged.
The following are only some of the side effects of caffeine, which is why decreasing your daily intake can be beneficial to your overall health:
- High blood pressure
- Jitters and shaking
Prolonged consumption of higher amounts of caffeine is also said to be linked to a lower likelihood of long-term conditions and diseases such as diabetes, some cancers, and Parkinson’s disease.
You’ll notice an improvement in your overall health and sleep when drinking coffee with less caffeine, such as half-caff.
Enjoy a little energy boost without the jitters
Half-caff is also an excellent option for those who like an energy kick without the shakes and jitters large amounts of caffeine can cause.
Caffeine acts as a stimulant, increasing your adrenaline levels.
And consuming high amounts of caffeine for prolonged periods is shown to cause deficiencies, which can turn that jittery effect into nervousness, anxiety, and a sleeping disorder.
So, by consuming less caffeine, like what’s in half-caff, you can enjoy the refreshing energy boost while you start your day without suffering from the side effects.
Kick caffeine dependence without severe withdrawals
Your body can also become dependent on that caffeine when you’re a regular full-strength coffee drinker.
So, switching to half-calf is an excellent way to start weaning your body from more significant amounts of daily caffeine.
And weaning is critical when you want to kick the caffeine almost entirely.
When you stop caffeine abruptly, it can cause more severe side effects from caffeine withdrawal, which is recognized as an actual disorder.
And the following are just some of the symptoms you may experience if quitting caffeine cold turkey:
- Unable to focus and concentrate
- Muscle pain or stiffness
Where can I get half-caff coffee?
You can order half-caff at your local coffee shop or make it at home by purchasing it at the grocery store or online.
Ordering half-caff from your barista
Half-caff coffee can be made in any coffee shop you choose to visit. More than likely, it’ll already be on the menu as “half-caff,” “split shot,” or “half and half.”
But it’s always best to ask your barista so you don’t accidentally order the wrong thing.
If it’s not offered on the menu, your barista can still make it if you explain it’s a 50/50 ratio of regular and decaf coffee.
Making half-caff at home
You can skip the coffee shop visit and enjoy the taste and kick of half-caff right when you wake up in the morning by making it yourself.
Making half-caff at home is as easy as brewing regular coffee because it’s typically sold already blended.
To satisfy your brewing preference, many quality coffee companies sell half-caff in pods, grounds, or whole beans.
However, if you cannot find it already pre-blended, you can purchase regular and decaf coffee separately and blend it yourself.
It’s easier to use whole beans when you blend them yourself because you can add your 50/50 ratio to the grinder and grind them together.
This will help achieve a more even blend for that perfect coffee.
For a list of excellent decaf coffee recommendations to try at home, check out Best Decaf Beans (Great Coffee Without Caffeine).
Half-caff is growing in popularity because it only contains about half of the caffeine amount versus making a regular cup of coffee.
This is because you’re mixing equal parts, regular and decaf, into a single cup.
And when using higher quality regular and decaf beans for this 50/50 blend, the taste doesn’t differ much from regular coffee.
While it’s not guaranteed you’ll like the taste of half-caff, it’s worth giving a try because half-caff is also healthier.
It’s an excellent option to decrease your caffeine intake while still having that energy boost to help you tackle the day.