Royal New York

Brewing 101: Your Guide to Decaf Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew has grown significantly in popularity over the last few years and has served as a great option for those who want a more flavorful alternative to traditional iced coffee. Cold brewing extracts most of the same compounds you’d find in a cup of hot coffee, but without extracting the oils that occur as a result of the roasting process, leading to a lower acid, smoother cup of coffee. While cold brew’s low acidity level makes it an easy drinker and particularly appealing to those with sensitive stomachs, there is significantly more coffee required to make a cup of cold brew than to brew a cup of hot coffee. As a result, the caffeine level in cold brew can be a little intense for some people, which has lead to some roasters seeking out cold brewed decaf.

Why should you have a decaf cold brew?

The problem with decaf is that it can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought since it’s not quite as popular as fully caffeinated coffee. It can be challenging at times to find a good quality decaf. The thing is, decaf drinkers still represent a decent sized chunk of the population here in the United States. As much as 15% of the cups of coffee consumed in the United States are decaf! So why should this population be relegated to drinking low quality coffees just because there aren’t as many of them?

The Royal Selects

We think decaf drinkers deserve a good cup of coffee just as much as the next guy, so we offer our Royal Selects program. Royal Selects are coffees that we contract specifically for decaffeination. This allows us to bring in great quality, fresh crop offerings as opposed to just buying leftover inventory directly from the decaffeination plants.

Testing coffee to use for decaf cold brew

After seeing a recent uptick in roasters asking about cold brewed decaf, we decided to run some tests to find out the best brew ratio, extraction times and most flavorful beans to make a low caffeine cold brew option that still drinks like it’s fully caffeinated. Since cold brew has a tendency to bring out every part of the coffee to the forefront, for better or worse, we used our water processed Royal Selects to make sure we started with good quality beans.

We tested out multiple coffees at different roast levels, then ran some test batches using different brew times and coffee to water ratios and eventually landed on a winning combination. Of all the coffees tested, we found Sumatran water processed decaf to be the most balanced cup. Brewing at a 6:1 water to coffee ratio for 15 hours yielded the best results, producing a clean and sweet cup with a creamy, chocolatey body and an almost piney finish.

Our best decaf cold brew recipe!

Coarse grind our Sumatran Royal Select Mountain Water Processed Decaf and add it to your container (we use a Toddy Cold Brew System)

Add water to your container, making sure to add 6 parts of water for every 1 part of coffee

Store refrigerated for 15 hours

Strain and enjoy over ice!

Shop Royal Select Mountain Water Processed Decaf

But what about decaf cold brew tea?

Hibiscus Berry is the supreme caffeine-free blend.  This tea has it all. It’s sweet, tangy, refreshing and fruity.  It is an absolute treat without any sugar or caffeine. 

Organic hibiscus takes center stage with a supporting cast of rosehips, orange peel, rooibos, and fruit flavors.  Bonus: it cold brews at lightning speed.  For an individual serving, steep 4 grams in 12 oz cold water for 2-4 hours.  For a big batch, we recommend 2oz tea per gallon of water. 

Shop Hibiscus Berry