Taste test: decaf vs. real coffee

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    Reanimator Coffee Head Roaster Matt Scottoline brews up some decaf in The Pulse's studios

    Reanimator Coffee Head Roaster Matt Scottoline brews up some decaf in The Pulse's studios

    With coffee connoisseurship on the rise, can we even distinguish between regular and decaf coffee? Let’s find out.

    In Matt Scottoline’s eyes, most of us see coffee as “that brown liquid that you pour into your body to start your day.” As the head roaster at Philly-based Reanimator Coffee, it’s his job to think about coffee as something more than a caffeine-delivery “utility,” as he calls it.

    Reanimator is part of coffee’s “Third Wave,” which centers around the idea of coffee connoisseurship. And Scottoline thinks decaf coffee drinkers should be drinking great coffee? Why?

    “I always feel like decaffeinated coffee should taste good, because anybody drinking it is drinking it just for the flavor,” he says.

    Scottoline admits that Reanimator’s decaf sales pale in comparison with their sales of the real deal (he estimates the ratio of caffeinated coffee sales to decaf sales at about 99 to 1), but he says that the proliferation of great coffees in recent years has meant better and better decaf.

    “There’s a lot of really great decafs out there that you could drink for pleasure whether you knew that it was a decaffeinated coffee or not,” he smiles.

    And he was in our studio this week to prove that few can even discern the difference between a modern decaf and a regular cup of coffee. So he brought in a caffeinated single-origin Colombian coffee and water-processed Mexican decaf, brewed up a cup of each by hand, and challenged us to a taste test.

    Listen in to see how we did…

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