Info Wanted: Can Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

Kids Drinking Coffee

If you are a parent who loves drinking coffee, most probably, your kid will request to take a sip. Coffee is not advisable for kids, but can kids drink decaf coffee? Coffee contains caffeine, and kids cannot handle the caffeine responsibly compared to adults, but sometimes decaf coffee is safe for kids.

Kid drinking from a coffee mug

Can Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

What is decaf coffee? Decaf coffee is decaffeinated; you remove 97% of the caffeine content from coffee beans. Decaffeination can be through the use of chemicals or a natural way, using swiss water.

Chemical Method

In the chemical process, you soak coffee beans in the water before adding chemical or organic solvents. You use methylene chloride as the chemical. These solvents help remove the caffeine from the bean and stick to the solvent; then, you wash the beans to remove the solvents. 

This process has been considered safe by the FDA, but there is a high chance your coffee will contain residual methylene chloride. Always consider this factor when choosing your decaf coffee.

Natural Method

The natural method of decaffeinating coffee is the water processing method or swiss water process, which provides honest and chemical-free decaf coffee worldwide.

This process is simple: With time, water, and a carbon filtration system, green coffee beans are soaked and washed, and you remove the caffeine from the beans through diffusion. This process removes 99.9% of caffeine and is more effective than the chemical method.

Decaf coffee is safe for kids, although it is not advisable for kids under 10. Some brands might put more caffeine content in decaf coffee. People think hot chocolate is a nice treat for kids, but it contains about 0.0002oz (5mg) of caffeine, equal to the amount of caffeine in a cup of decaf coffee.

Parents who give their kids decaf coffee sometimes receive judgment from people and accusations of being bad parents. They claim decaf coffee contains mind-altering drugs that you need to avoid. Thus, we know even potent coffee is not that mind-altering. 

You should know coffee, or decaf, contains acidity and, when consumed in large amounts, can cause heartburn and indigestion. Therefore, it’s important to moderate your child’s intake of coffee and decaf. Decaf coffee also has pros and cons:


  • Decaf coffee has less caffeine; you won’t struggle to sleep after taking coffee at night.
  • You will not experience side effects of coffee, such as headaches, heart palpitations, withdrawal, and insomnia.
  • Coffee has improved cognitive function and memory; if your child is struggling in school, a cup of decaf coffee will help them concentrate and retain information.
  • Decaf coffee has a lot of antioxidants to help fight free radicals and prevent diseases.


  • The scientist notes that decaf is often made with lower-quality coffee beans with higher fat content, contributing to more elevated cholesterol. 
  • Mostly decaffeinated coffee is through a chemical method that leaves a bitter, artificial taste after drinking.
  • The natural decaffeination process tends to be more expensive for the consumer. 

Is Coffee Bad for kids?

Is coffee bad for kids? Kids can drink coffee but in limited quantities. The caffeine in coffee is a major health concern for children; it is a stimulant and may lead to health issues. Coffee intake depends much on the individual child, and Infants should not drink coffee; it is not advisable. 

Many people wonder should kids drink coffee. Or is coffee bad for teenagers? We know coffee is not advisable for kids, but a teenager can drink coffee; a cup of coffee daily won’t harm a kid over 12 years, but they should avoid other sources of caffeine. Kids and teens can consume caffeine from energy drinks and beverages.

Coffee can also make kids feel jittery, anxious, or nervous, and sometimes over-caffeinated drinks make kids and teens feel like they have used illicit drugs. There is an old myth that kids drinking coffee stunt growth. However, there is no actual amount of coffee a kid should take.

Young boy drinking coffee

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drink Coffee?

If you are wondering how old do you have to be to drink coffee? Just know there is no suitable age for one to start drinking coffee. When children see their parents drinking coffee, it’s natural they want to be like them and may develop an interest in trying coffee. 

Children between 10 to 12 years can drink coffee in small doses and not frequently. They can have up to 0.002oz (45mg) of caffeine, you should introduce them to decaf coffee, and later on, you can teach them about coffee. They can start by drinking frappuccinos, flavored lattes, and Starbucks, not just black coffee.

If a 10-year-old drinks straight espresso, that might be dangerous for their heart; that’s too much caffeine for a child.

Too much coffee consumption is harmful to kids’ and teenagers’ health.

Why is Caffeine Bad for Kids? 

Caffeine has a dose-response effect; children have small body sizes, and it takes less to impact their functioning. Children’s and teenagers’ bodies develop daily, and the impact of caffeine on their nervous systems and cardiovascular systems is not fully known. 

Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, acid reflux, sleep disturbance, increased heart rate, dehydration, diarrhea, moodiness, seizure, and blood pressure. A high intake of Caffeine is dangerous and toxic for kids.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and it increases alertness. If you notice your child needs caffeine to go through a day, it would be better to visit a pediatrician to identify the root cause and what is creating it. The reasons why caffeine is bad for kids:

It disrupts sleep

People who only drink decaf in the afternoons probably have trouble sleeping after drinking late-day caffeine, difficulty falling asleep, short duration of sleep, or waking up frequently.

Caffeine is risky for kids and teenagers because they are still developing and growing, and sleep disruptions can cause health issues. 

Kids below 12 need to sleep more than 10 to 12 hours, and caffeine acts as a stimulant and can disrupt their sleep. Inadequate sleep is a source of children’s development problems, such as low alertness or attention span at school.

Reduced Appetite

Caffeine can suppress appetite, affecting kids’ growth and development. Kids need nourishment in their growth more than adults.

Trouble Concentrating

Caffeine is known to boost productivity and concentration in adults, but it can impede kids’ ability to concentrate. It can make them hyperactive from the burst energy and interrupt their learning.


Caffeine is a diuretic; it leads to the loss of water from the body. Kids who consume coffee can experience dehydration, especially if they do not drink water frequently.

Add Sugar Intake

Kids don’t like the taste or flavor of black coffee, so they add sugar or milk. Sugar increases calorie intake daily, and they risk gaining weight. Sugar can cause diseases such as insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

Low Calcium Absorption

Children need calcium for the healthy growth of their bones. Studies show that your loss of 0.0002oz (6mg) of calcium to 0.0035oz (100mg) of caffeine intake can lead to detrimental growth of bones in children.

Tooth Damage

Coffee is acidic; it leaves stains and diminishes enamel on the teeth. Frequent intake of coffee can cause oral health issues and cavities.

Boy showing his teeth

Caffeine is Addictive

Caffeine is addictive; if you frequently take coffee daily and miss an intake, you will probably have headaches or lack concentration. Kids can experience withdrawal if they habitually drink coffee and suddenly stop.

Studies show that children between 5 to 12 years have higher anxiety levels when they consume 0.0033oz (95mg) of caffeine daily.

Parting Words

Decaf coffee is not 100% safe for kids, and parents should track how much coffee a child consumes. It’s important to know that decaf coffee’s health benefits are primarily for adults, and there is no evidence to show that it harms children. It’s also important to remember that children should get their nutrients from healthy food. 

If a child has an undiagnosed arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, caffeine increases heart excitability, which can worsen the arrhythmia.

Energy drinks and soda drinks contain caffeine; reports have shown the amount of caffeine in energy drinks is about 0.0006oz (17mg) to 0.009oz (242mg) and an average serving of coffee contains 0.0035oz (100mg) of caffeine.

Children are smaller than adults; hence, they have lower tolerance levels; caffeine can affect them more than adults. Caffeine is a safe drug, but it is a stimulant that awakens the nervous system.

Coffee affects adults differently and has different tolerance levels; most adults can drink three to five cups of coffee daily, but there is no such assurance caffeine level for children.

If you are sensitive to caffeine or are taking medications that react to it, it is best to avoid coffee altogether, even decaffeinated coffee. Even though we consider decaf less caffeine than regular coffee, it still has caffeine, and you should be cautious.

It is best to research the exact amount of caffeine in the coffee you are drinking by looking online or reading the labels. Some brands have more caffeine content than others. Decaf coffee is unsafe for kids, but an occasional sip is not harmful.

Caffeine is wonderful, but it affects people differently. Our bodies and genetics are different, and the effect of caffeine becomes personal. Many people claim caffeine doesn’t have the same effect. Some people may react to caffeine others don’t; our bodies adapt to chemicals differently.

Knowing the effects of caffeine and the symptoms of a caffeine overdose will help protect a child’s health. No amount of caffeine is proven to be safe for kids.