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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cheap Decaf and Low Caffeine Options

Cheap Decaf and Low Caffeine Options

After publishing my second book and installing the copper supply lines myself for a kitchen remodeling project, I now have time to check my mail.  Today, I'll discuss cheap options for hot beverages that don't have too much caffeine.  Here's the question from a reader:

Dr. Penny Pincher,

You mention coffee in some of your articles and indicate the cost, preparation and taste of the coffee. Very interesting articles.

Do you have any suggestions for folks that want to limit their intake of caffeine by drinking decaf coffee or tea???  We don't seem to hear much about decaf these days.

Thank you-

A. Follower


Dear Follower,

Thanks for your question- I'll throw out some of my thoughts on decaf and low caffeine beverages and how to save money.

Cheap Decaf and Low Caffeine Options
Cheap Decaf and Low Caffeine Options
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Drink Less Caffeinated Coffee

A simple way to spend less on coffee and to get less caffeine at the same time is to simply drink less coffee.

A couple years ago, I cut back on my caffeine intake.  I used to drink two 16 oz cups of coffee every morning and cut back to one.  As they say, caffeine is habit-forming and you can get headaches if you suddenly change your caffeine intake.  I gradually reduced my coffee drinking over two weeks a little at a time.  Here is an article that describes in more detail how to lower your caffeine consumption.  I now spend 60 cents per day rather than $1.20 per day on coffee.  This adds up to $219 per year.

Tea is Cheap and has Little Caffeine

Tea is really cheap and has a lot of health benefits from the high tannin and antioxidant content of tea.  Black tea has about 1/3 as much caffeine as coffee and green tea has even less caffeine.  You can even get decaf tea- I sometimes drink decaf Earl Grey tea.  You can get tea bags for around 10 cents each or more for higher quality tea.  You can also get loose leaf tea and use an infuser to steep it- loose leaf tea can have a lot more flavor than tea bags.

Coffee Alternatives

When I was trying out ways to reduce my caffeine intake, I tried out some coffee alternatives that were pretty good.  I found some chickory and carob coffee substitutes at the organic food store.  These are grounds that you brew like coffee and they taste sort of like a blend of coffee and hot chocolate with some nutty flavor.  My favorite was a brand called Teeccino.  It is sort of expensive, but is an interesting change from coffee and has no caffeine.

Here is an article that goes into coffee substitutes in detail.

How to Make Cheap Decaf Coffee

One of the simplest ways to get less caffeine and have a cheap beverage is to drink cheap decaf coffee.  If you make your own coffee at home, you can get cheap ground decaf coffee and make your own for about 11 cents for 16 ounces.  As with regular coffee, you can pay more and get higher quality coffee grounds or even get whole bean decaf coffee and grind it yourself.  Making good coffee from whole beans costs about 60 cents for 16 oz.  This article goes into detail about the cost to make coffee.

Decaf Coffee Costs the Same as Regular Coffee
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

It is hard to beat drinking coffee, but too much of a good thing is still too much.  Hopefully the ideas here can help you enjoy hot beverages without spending too much or getting too much caffeine.


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