The decaf stigma is alive and real. Swiss Water Coffee Studio—a decaffeinated-only coffee bar—opened in New York Monday for a weeklong trial run, and the response on the internet was downright vitriolic. Will the poor souls who love the taste of java but can’t handle the buzz ever find peace?
Chris Vigilante, who owns Hyattsville roasting business Vigilante Coffee Company, can sympathize with the plight of the decaf coffee drinker. “A lot of times speciality coffee bars will just offer you a decaf Americano,” he says. “There’s not a high demand of decaf coffee throughout the day. The customer that’s forgotten is the decaf customer.”
Vigilante Coffee Company roasts and sells La Serrania, a decaffeinated blend from Colombia. But if you’re heading to a coffee bar in DC or don’t have the right brewing equipment at home, Vigilante also has a few suggestions for how to get a killer cup of decaf.
First off, be aware of freshness. Because decaf coffee only produces a sparse amount of business, Vigilante says shops will often brew a large amount of it in the morning and let it sit around for the balance of the day. Therefore, he recommends ordering a cup that’s made via pourover, Aeropress, or French press.
And as far as specific coffee bars go, Vigilante endorses these places:
This U Street coffee joint can serve nearly all menu items in decaf form, including anything that’s espresso-based. However, Vigilante says the simple decaf pourover is best.
An offshoot of local favorites Baked & Wired, A Baked Joint puts time and effort into its decaf creations while working with a variety of reliable roasters, Vigilante says.
Vigilante is extremely biased toward this place (from Toki Underground chef/owner Erik Bruner-Yang) as his business runs and operates an on-site coffee bar. This also means they brew his own La Serrania, which means you can get a cup of the choice decaf blend without having to purchase the beans yourself.