Decaf drinkers tend to be on a perpetual quest for a more flavorful cup of coffee. And for good reason. Regardless of the method used, decaffeination results in a significant loss of flavor, aroma, and acidity. Despite advanced technology, researchers have yet to find a way to remove caffeine from a fragile coffee bean without compromising much of its flavor in the process.
There is some good news though. Specialty coffees (the top 2% of Arabica beans grown worldwide) already contain half the caffeine of robusta beans used in less expensive "supermarket" coffees. To balance a preference for less caffeine with the desire for increased flavor, many decaf drinkers view "half caff" coffee as a viable alternative.
"Half caff" refers to a coffee blended with a 50/50 mix of caffeinated and decaf beans. It offers half the caffeine of a regular specialty coffee and one-fourth the caffeine of a robusta coffee. Also known in espresso bars as a "split shot" or a "half and half," the half caff option affords decaf drinkers an opportunity to enjoy a cup that's considerably lower in caffeine with bigger and more complex flavors. All the flavor with half the caffeine? Sign me up!
Many coffee drinkers blend their own half caff by purchasing two bags of coffee—one "regular" coffee and the other its decaffeinated counterpart— and then combine the two. Try it the next time you're on the hunt for a more flavorful cup.