Does Starbucks have decaf espresso? (How does Starbucks make decaf espresso? + More information)

Your favorite Starbucks drink calls for a shot of espresso, but you’re reducing your caffeine intake. The natural question is, does Starbucks have decaf espresso? The answer is yes, and there’s more.

People ask for decaf coffee at Starbucks for health issues, the common issues being stomach irritation and heart problems. I needed to reduce my caffeine intake because I got somewhat jittery, especially in the afternoon when looking for a pick-me-up. Starbucks espresso has a bitter, almost sour yet sweet taste that I wasn’t ready to give up.

Starbucks knows its customers’ needs, so they have a decaf espresso on its menu. I can have my drink of choice that calls for espresso but not worry about the high amount of caffeine in the drink. However, you need to specify this to the barista or the app when making an order, as it’s otherwise assumed you’d like a shot of caffeinated espresso. There’s more to know about the decaf espresso at Starbucks, so read on.

What is a decaf espresso at Starbucks?

Starbucks make decaf espresso

The first thing to know is that espresso comes from your regular coffee bean and thus not a type of bean. What makes it espresso is the brewing method. Whether you’re using an espresso machine, a single-serve coffee maker, or a French press, the process is the same. It requires pumping hot water through ground coffee under high pressure.

Decaf coffee comes from the same green coffee beans as caffeinated espresso. The difference between whether the final product is caffeinated or decaffeinated is the processing of the beans themselves. In the decaffeination process, about 97 percent of caffeine gets removed. The process is similar to other decaffeinated coffee drinks.

Otherwise, the decaf espresso doesn’t taste much different from your regular espresso; it only has a slightly sourer flavor profile. That’s primarily due to how the beans get processed. The result is a concentrated drink rich in taste and aroma. That is constant whether the espresso is caffeinated or decaffeinated.

How does Starbucks make decaf espresso?

How does Starbucks make decaf espresso

To make the decaf espresso, Starbucks uses a chemical process called the decaf methylene chloride process. Compared to other processes, it is better for maintaining the original coffee flavor. Coffee beans get soaked in hot water to extract as much caffeine from the beans as possible. Methylene chloride gets added after removing them from the water, which binds with the caffeine. Once bonded, the methylene chloride bound to caffeine gets skimmed from the mixture, and the beans are then returned to reabsorb the liquid.

The bonding between the methylene chloride and caffeine doesn’t remove all the caffeine from the beans and liquid, but it will remove between 96 and 97 percent of caffeine from any processed batch. It might make some uncomfortable to think that decaf results from an unnatural chemical process, but there’s nothing to worry about. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed methylene chloride safe in the decaffeination process.

Ways to Order Starbucks Decaf Espresso Drinks

Since not everything is on the list, ordering at Starbucks can be overwhelming, especially when done in-store. However, do know that there are decaf options in all coffee drinks. Therefore, when ordering any drink that requires a shot of espresso, let the barista know that you’d like the decaf option and if you’re ordering via the app, under customization, select decaf espresso.

Keep in mind that you may not always get your decaf espresso at your local Starbucks. The availability is mainly based on demand, so you may find that it’s not part of their menu, or they only make them at certain hours. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get your decaf espresso at all; it only means you’ll have to wait a few minutes longer for the barista to make it for you.

Final thoughts

Asking for decaf espresso sounds somewhat of an oxymoron; we know people take espresso shots for that caffeine hit and the energy and alertness of it. However, the beauty of the improved coffee-making processes Starbucks uses is you can get the same beloved espresso taste without all the caffeine. I am all the happier because I can enjoy an afternoon coffee drink without worrying about having trouble falling asleep at night.

FAQ Section

What is decaf espresso called at Starbucks?

The decaf espresso at Starbucks is called Decaf Espresso Roast by Nespresso. It is a blend of Latin American and Asia Pacific coffees rich in flavor and has a caramel sweetness.

Is there any caffeine in Starbucks decaf espresso?

There is caffeine in the Starbucks decaf espresso since decaf is not synonymous with caffeine-free. There’s 12 mg of caffeine for every shot of decaf espresso.

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