The Naturally Caffeine-Free Coffee Plant

This weekend several coffee websites were abuzz about the Coffea charrieriana (or Charrier Coffee), which is a coffee plant that naturally has no caffeine. This made the Top 10 species list by The International Institute For Species Exploration and rightfully so. A coffee plant that can produce coffee without caffeine is a major breakthrough.

Some people won’t understand the significance of this story. They might scoff that we already have methods for removing the caffeine from coffee beans. Yes we do, but it comes with a cost. All that additional processing to coffee results in reduced flavor. Every coffee roaster knows this. So instead of roasting to maximize flavor, the roaster will go darker and strive for more body. This is all fine and dandy if you always prefer darker roasts, but not great if you like tasting all the unique flavors found at the lighter roasts.

High Caffeine Content
High Caffeine Content by Todd Zapoli. From Inanimate Objects #21.

When I explain to people how exciting this could be they look at me in disbelief. I am reminded that I typically down 4-5 doppio espressos a day and I can handle caffeine just fine. True, I can handle that level of caffeine just fine. But perhaps I’d like the option of drinking espresso later in the day without fear of disrupted sleep. Or maybe I want to drink 10 espressos a day! I’d also like a tasty way to detox from caffeine prior to leaving the Pacific Northwest for vacations.

Cameroon map
Cameroon – The location of where the new caffeine-free species was discovered.

It will be interesting to see how many years it will take for this plant to make its way around the globe. If decaffeinated coffee ever tastes as good as regular coffee, I may be drinking coffee all day long.


IISE – Top 10 Species List

Accelerated Caffeine Detox – A fast way to get your caffeine intake under control.

Pre-Surgery Caffeine Detox – A specific approach to caffeine detox.

Michael Allen Smith

Michael Allen Smith fell in love with coffee while attending college. Shortly after graduating college, he found himself in the Tampa Bay area far away from the good coffee he had at The Ohio State University. That is when he starting home roasting coffee. Less than a year later in April 1999, he launched the coffee website has been going strong ever since with hundreds of articles and tutorials submitted by over one hundred contributors.

In 2007, Michael moved to America's coffee capitol Seattle, Washington. He has visited close to three hundred different coffee places in Seattle, Portland,Vancouver and San Francisco and met many of the top roasters and baristas in the country. Since 2009, Michael has been the Organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle, which is a Meetup group of over 800 coffee enthusiasts. Besides the social aspect of the group, the Coffee Club of Seattle partners with local coffee professionals for educational events such as coffee cuppings, brewing demonstrations and roasting tours.

Unrelated to coffee, Michael has a personal blog at which covers several topics including fitness, cooking and economics.