If you’re a coffee addict trying to lessen the stranglehold of caffeine addiction, your options are dismal. Quitting cold turkey gives you withdrawals that transform you into an exhausted, irritable monster. Most decaf coffees are depressingly tasteless. Sure, you could just drink less, but who wants to do that?
One new coffee company thinks it's cracked the code. This year, college friends Emilie Simmons and Sharon Pieczenik debuted a line of low-acid, decaf, half-caf, and quarter-caf coffees with a distinctive twist: their better-for-you coffees actually taste good. “I’ve tried a lot" of decaf and low-acid coffees," Simmons told The Feast. "Decaf coffee doesn’t generally taste as good as regular coffee, and low-acid coffee also doesn’t taste as good. Ours does, and that’s what we hear from our customers.”
Their secret? A coffee roaster who shared the pair's vision of a deliciously complex cup of coffee, without all that caffeine. While most roasters remove caffeine by washing it with a series of solvents, Simmons and Pieczenik’s uses a combination of two chemical-free techniques: washing it with water, and injecting it with non-toxic carbon dioxide. After going through a proprietary, convection-style roasting process to preserve the nuances of the coffee’s flavor, they mix it with full-caf beans to build their blends.
Simmons and Pieczenik (pictured above) created their line for pregnant women, who are supposed to limit coffee consumption—hence the brand's name, Mommee Coffee. During her second pregnancy, a drained Simmons started mixing decaf and regular coffee to create a mix her doctor deemed safe for her baby, and she deemed tasty enough to drink. But soon after they launched, Simmons and Pieczenik were surprised to discover they had non-pregnant customers across the country who loved their coffee: people with acid reflux, IBS or those who simply wanted something easier on their stomach.
It’s gotten to the point where they’re forced to to explain that while their coffee is geared towards pregnant and breastfeeding women, less caffeine is good for everyone: “We get people who email us and say, ‘Is it ok for me to drink this, I’m not a mom, I’m not pregnant.’ We have to explain that it’s coffee, it doesn’t make you pregnant,” Simmons said with a laugh.