Is there such a thing as decaf coffee that doesn’t taste like an inferior substitute for the real thing? “I think your best local coffee shop would be the place to go for a decaf that doesn’t taste like decaf,” says Pei. “For me, in San Francisco, it’s Peet’s Major Dickason’s Decaf. In San Francisco or Los Angeles, Graffeo stores tout their chemical-free decaffeination process. Neither place over-roasts their coffee (I too generally dislike French roast).”

“And it’s not quite decaf, but I mail-ordered some Community Coffee from Louisiana,” adds Pei. “It has chicory in it, so it’s only about half the caffeine. It’s smooth, full bodied, with a sweet light aftertaste. I haven’t tried decaf yet, but it’s only about $5/lb.”

Amazing decaf (and regular coffee) is available by mail order, such as toodie jane‘s favorite, Mavericks Midnight Ride Decaf. However, all specialty mail-order coffee suffers from the same problem: cost, both the beans and the shipping.

“Coffee is just really personal,” says stephanieh. “Over the last six years or so, I did a lot of my own ‘taste-testing.’ I went through every decaf Gevalia offered, then every decaf in my supermarket, at World Market, and at one of our larger local specialty stores. One day, when I didn’t have time to go to a different store, and it was a new one on the shelf, I picked up Dunkin’ Donuts decaf. It’s now my favorite after all I’ve tried.”

Discuss: Best decaf coffee?

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