Sainsbury’s & Waitrose Decaf Coffee

Still on the hunt for the perfect decaffeinated, time to compare a couple of supermarket coffees against each other.  These two aren’t bad but there are differences between them.

Getting in touch with Customer Service….

With both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, I used their contact page on their websites to ask how the caffeine is removed from the coffee.  Both sent through a courteous reply pretty quickly with Sainsbury’s replying just ahead in saying:

“Our process uses supercritical carbon dioxide in its liquid form to remove the caffeine from pre-wetted green coffee. The liquid carbon dioxide is a very good solvent for caffeine yet is selective enough to maintain the flavour and aroma precursors in the coffee.  

The liquid carbon dioxide is recirculated hence preventing carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. The wet green decaffeinated coffee beans are dried by air before they are sent to coffee roasters for processing”.

For Waitrose, I had a more personal reply from a representative who commented on her own decision to give up caffeine and that was lovely to read.  For me having that personal touch is very much appreciated.  In terms of the process of removing the caffeine he said

“…. our decaffeination process we use Methylene Chloride (MC) to decaffeinate our tea, and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to decaffeinate our coffee. In each case these give the best quality result”.

So both pretty similar then.  The taste is, of course, the all important measure and the point of all of this.  Here goes:

Out of the two, Waitrose was definitely a nicer coffee, albeit more expensive.

The Sainsbury’s coffee was perfectly adequate, you wouldn’t feel short changed if you were served this in a cafe, especially with the right ambiance and surroundings.  It needs to be brewed and served very fresh as the aroma does fade quickly and this of course is directly linked to the taste.  So therefore I think Sainsbury’s coffee is fine for everyday use and at £2.00 it is fairly economical. Looking at the Sainsbury’s website there are a couple of reviews with one person really liking it, the other suggesting it was mediocre.

Waitrose was significantly more expensive at £3.25 although there is currently an offer where you get the second pack half price.  This deal is very attractive in my eyes!  There are a number of reviews on the Waitrose website and these are overwhelmingly positive.  One review which caught my eye was from a Bercoff in Hertfordshire who said “I love coffee, no decaff is quite the same, some are awful. But I was drinking too much coffee, too much caffeine, so kept looking. I have now found one that is close to real coffee. It’s expensive but worth it”.  This comment is the closest to my own thinking.

What makes the Waitrose better starts with the aroma, the smell: this is definitely much nicer.  The actual coffee drink is nice and smooth with little bitterness.  I like it either black or with milk – for myself, this is a good test of coffee.

Wrapping up

Waitrose has it for me.  I’m going to pop into the Ampthill branch on my way home from work in a few days to stock up and see us through the Christmas holiday.  As I said, the Sainsbury version isn’t bad at all, it’s very good value for money and widely available.  Waitrose also have the general reputation of having a more ethical approach to their business, although I do admit to being a tad out of date with the latest position of the main supermarkets.

So the Waitrose coffee is the best without a doubt.

Having said all that, the quest for the PERFECT DECAFFEINATED coffee continues!

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