In previous posts I’ve alluded to the fact that I haven’t previously had a particularly high regard for decaf, in fact it’s fair to say that I see decaffeinated coffee as a similar substance to non alcoholic lager and wine. I was a TV extra for a few years, on Hollyoaks and coronation street amongst others (I did shameless once, that was fun!) so I did quite a bit of drinking fake lager and wine. My favourite was the Rovers on corrie, as the beer on pump there (before it moved to Salford) was actually Shandy Bass, which is quite nice, but when we were doing scenes in the Bistro, it was caliber or some other shocking tasting fake lager which has no right to be anywhere near a label with the word “lager” on it, in my opinion. So you could say that I’m an ex professional in drinking fake beverages, kind of.
Thankfully though, I never had to pretend to enjoy decaffeinated coffee – but I have always held decaf in the same light as non alcoholic beer, and wine, in that it is a poor fake. Recently though I’ve been proved wrong, thanks to the lovely folk at pact coffee.
Pact do decaf, and my kids are nearly 13 and nearly 14 (yes they’re close together, and we started young too, I’m only 21 😉 ), and are developing a taste for coffee. I’m still a bit funny about them drinking proper coffee, in that I will let them drink it but not too much, and obviously not later on in the day, and the same with coke etc. When I started to get my coffee from pact, the kids tried it and were just as impressed as I was, and just as spoiled as I was for the normal ground coffee that we would buy from the supermarket, which comes from who knows where and was roasted and ground who knows when?
One of the really helpful folk at pact coffee noticed from my blog that I have kids, and suggested that I might want to try their decaf for the kids, so I can let them drink it without worrying too much. I know that decaf still has some caffeine, but it’s greatly reduced – I don’t think that at their age they should be prevented from consuming caffeine at all, but I do think it’s right to encourage them to go easy on it, especially my son who bounces off the walls without any kind of external stimulation!
So we got one of the wonderful pact coffee pouches in the mail, this time the decaf Las Flores, which pact coffee expert Will describes the taste as thus: “From the first sip of this coffee I am struck with a rich toffee flavour and aroma. There is a mild apple-like acidity and a well-balanced caramel sweetness with a subtle raisin-like aftertaste. This coffee reminds me of a delicious sticky toffee pudding.”
So, with an open mind I brewed this decaf in the cafeteiere (or would that be decaffetiere?) and – I got a shock, it tasted like proper coffee! I have to admit, I wasn’t quite expecting that. I’m not quite sure what to make of this, I kind of feel ashamed of myself for enjoying something that part of me feels I shouldn’t enjoy.
When you think of what coffee is, and where it came from, it’s all down to the effect it has on the body, which is in no small part due to the caffeine that coffee beans (actually they’re not beans, they’re seeds, did you know that?) naturally contain.
In fact the word coffee is though to come from the Arabic words qahā which means to lack hunger, or to suppress the appetite, and quwwa which means “Power”, or “Energy” – and legend has it that the consumption of coffee dates back to around the 10th century to ancestors of the oromo people, when they noticed goats becoming energised in some way when eating coffee cherries. I’m doubtful that these goats would have become excited, and that coffee would exist now if it wasn’t for the energizing properties of the naturally occurring caffeine, and the oromo people. Thank you Oromo people… 🙂
Having said that, is there a place for decaf coffee, actually yes I do believe there is, for kids, for people who want to drink coffee later in the day and the evening (as I would prefer to) but who don’t want to struggle sleeping, for pregnant woman who want to follow the advice which is given to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy, and for people who want to limit caffeine consumption for other reasons.
Anyway going back to the taste of the decaffeinated las flores from pact coffee; the first thing I notice is that it has a slight powdery mouth-feel, not unpleasant at all, in fact on the contrary, I like it. I can’t quite make the association that Will makes with sticky toffee pudding, but my kids can, in particular my son very much agreed that this is what it tastes of, thus proving that my kids have a better defined pallet than me! I do notice some caramel sweetness, some acidity and a slight aftertaste of raisins, only slight though. Overall it’s a really nice tasting coffee, about a zillion times nice than I ever expected from a decaf.
I’m not sure why I expected decaf to be so poor, whether it’s just the fact that it doesn’t seem right, or maybe as a youngster I tried an instant decaf and it just happened to be terrible. I’ve been a coffee drinker from birth… well for as long as I can remember anyway, at least since I could speak. My first word was Coffee. Actually it wasn’t, I just made that up, it was probably a swear-word given that I have an older brother.
In conclusion, this las flores decaf from pact is extremely good, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell it was decaf from the taste. Will it have the same effect on me in terms of the positive effects I enjoy from consuming coffee, I’m not sure, but that’s not really the point – I can drink full caffeine coffee whenever I want, but now I have the choice of decaf if I want a decent tasting coffee without the caffeine, although I don’t think this pouch is going to last long!