Best Decaf in Canada?
November 8, 2011 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I've recently been forced to switch to decaf because of medical issues (supraventricular tachycardia). I have no interest in giving up coffee completely, and I really enjoy my one cup of decaf per day. I think I'd enjoy it more, though, if I knew I were having the best decaf I could get my hands on. What are the best decaf beans available in Canada?

I've seen this question, but shipping on the Peet's, for example, is $23.50/pound. I currently drink Ethical Bean, but their decaf isn't as great as their other roasts and I'm sure I can do better. What should I try?
posted by smilingtiger to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've been drinking Community Coffee decaf while pregnant, and think it's one of the better options out there. I do the "coffee club" which means they send me 4 lbs. of coffee every 60 days (for a while, 2 lbs. of the Between Roast and 2 lbs. of decaf, since my husband doesn't need to drink decaf, and I've just adjusted it to go back to all non-decaf, since the baby is due soon).

Not sure if they ship to Canada, though I see no indication on their website that they don't. If they do, I'm not sure what they'll charge for shipping. I can say that, for me, in the US, my every-60-days order runs about $28 with shipping via UPS (and that includes a discount for ordering multiple pounds at a time).
posted by devinemissk at 7:13 PM on November 8, 2011

I like Reunion Island's Colombia Decaf Dark.
posted by backwards guitar at 7:31 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was given a tin of illy brand decaf while pregnant by a friend in the high end restaurant biz who really has a good palate - it was the best store ( not too specialty) that I found. I think I've seen that brand in Toronto .

I also found that using a bit more fat content in the milk than I normally would, or using cream made the decaf seem more indulgent. Good luck.
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2011

I'm a big fan of Kicking Horse decaf. It the closest to the real thing that I've found. There are two good ones in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory but I doubt they will be of much practical value for you - Midnight Sun Roasters and Bean North.
posted by YukonQuirm at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2011

Yoka's Coffee. They used to be in Kits (Vancouver) but decided to move to Victoria because the rent here was staggering. Really really good beans - Yoka roast them herself right in the rear of the storefront with a traditional roaster.

They do mail order, and carry swiss-water decaf beans. Both of the owners are very knowledgeable and happy to chat; you could probably email them if you wanted to ask anything about their beans.

I highly recommend asking if they can ship you a set of samples of their decaf selection.
posted by porpoise at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2011

Jinx, YukonQuirm - and I'll second you. Yoka's was more expensive than the store beans, but was more than proportionally better. However, Kicking Horse is what I drink now, and I stock up when its on sale for ~$12-13 a bag.
posted by porpoise at 7:56 PM on November 8, 2011

Where are you located?

I buy beans within a few days of being roasted and notice that after a week the quality really drops off. If there is a local place that you can get a fresh roast it will probably be better than the week old coffee shipped from Vancouver.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm in Vancouver, actually, so if you know any good roasters, especially downtown, please let me know! Thanks!
posted by smilingtiger at 8:44 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Illy brand mentioned by cestmoi15 is at London Drugs, FYI. I haven't tried it myself. I do like Kicking Horse and Salt Spring decaf, both also at London Drugs, as is your Ethical Bean.
posted by sillymama at 9:04 PM on November 8, 2011

Nthing Kicking Horse (I don't drink coffee, but my wife does, and quite likes it). It may be on sale as of Friday the 11th at any London Drugs. (I say MAY because the flyer lists Kicking Horse coffees on sale for $10 a bag, but the decaf is more expensive than all the other varieties, so I'm not sure if they mean that too).
posted by birdsquared at 11:25 PM on November 8, 2011

Kicking Horse's is not bad, but the best I have had is "damn fine decaf" from Ideal Coffee. Not available in the West, but you can order online.
posted by SNACKeR at 4:41 AM on November 9, 2011

Definitely try some 49th Parallel roasters coffee.
posted by conrad53 at 8:37 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great! Thanks - I will give these a try.
posted by smilingtiger at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2011

Good roasters make good decaf. Please avoid Kicking Horse and Reunion Island, which are terrible roasters that burn their beans to a crisp. Neither puts roast dates on their bags- sign of a roaster to be avoided. Same goes for all the crap roasted by Canterbury, Starbucks, Blenz... if there's not roast date, DON'T BUY IT. If there IS a roast date, don't buy if that's more than a month ago.

Illy is great - if you're in Italy and are getting it fresh. Illy in North America is overpriced and stale before it even gets on the shelf.

IDeal is fine by Toronto standards. Western Canada has much higher standards.

You're in VANCOUVER. You have some of the best roasters in North America. 49th Parallel and JJ Bean are available all over dt Van.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:19 PM on November 9, 2011

Oso Negro here in Nelson makes some good decaf, and I know that you can get it in Calgary, so it should be available in Vancouver.
posted by sauril at 4:27 PM on November 9, 2011

Response by poster: For the benefit of future searchers: I have tried 49th Parallel and Kicking Horse so far. I love the Kicking Horse, but the 49th Parallel was horrible. I'm not sure whether I got a bad batch, but once ground, it tasted and smelled rancid and turned my stomach. I had to throw it all out.

Thanks again for the replies! I will continue taste-testing.
posted by smilingtiger at 4:23 PM on November 23, 2011

Response by poster: Since this is still open: the best decaf, and the one that's stopped my search, is JJ Bean's. Very happy with it, no need to look further.
posted by smilingtiger at 6:10 PM on May 22, 2012

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