The love of coffee has spread from the streets of Italy to the hustle and bustle of London, so much so it is now part of a large majority of people’s daily routine. And for some people, decaf coffee is just the way they like it. Luckily enough, finding decaf coffee has become a lot easier.
Purchasing a packet of decaf even five years ago would have been a tall order in all but the most well-stocked of shops. But these days decaf is actually widely available across the UK.
It’s in our culture to be spoiled for choice and coffee is no different. Coffee shops are booming – the sector grew by 7.5% in 2012 – and there are now more than 15,000 coffee spots in the UK. As the market grows, customers are demanding more choice in the kind of coffee they consume – and they’re getting it.
That is why Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero, the three companies with the largest market share of the coffee industry in the UK, now offer decaffeinated coffee on their menus with any of their coffee-based drinks.
These chains are reaching out to the market’s long tail and offering consumers a choice. But what’s fascinating to us is that they don’t state that they do decaf coffee on their menus. Rather, they leave it for customers to ask. This may be because it is assumed most coffee lovers want regular coffee, but let’s not fuss over spilt milk: at least the option is there!
It’s not just coffee shops getting on board with decaf, but supermarkets too. Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencers, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all offer a wide variety of decaf coffee. The shelves of our nation’s leading supermarkets feature everything from decaf instant coffee to decaf artisanal roasted and grounded coffee, to decaf cappuccino. Most of these supermarkets also offer a bit of variety, with a choice of brands such as Nescafe, Kenco, own-brand decaf coffee, Carte Noire and Douwe Egberts.
Curiously enough, decaf coffee tends to be harder to find in boutique coffee shops than it does in supermarkets. For example, the Fleet Street Bakery located in Holborn, London serves luxury Monmouth coffee but doesn’t offer a decaf option. For that, coffee lovers need to head to HQ: the Monmouth coffee shops in Covent Garden and Borough both offer a glorious decaf brew.
While decaf coffee is becoming more widely available across the UK , like most niche products, it’s much more readily available in larger cities where there are bigger supermarkets and more chains, like Starbucks and Costa.
But for those who live in smaller towns and villages where a cup of decaf is hard to find, take heart: as coffee spots draw more and more diverse groups of people, it’s natural that they will begin to cater to more diverse tastes. So if your local coffee place doesn’t offer decaf, ask. Your request just might be the tipping point.