Poor decaf coffee can’t catch a break. Coffee enthusiasts often dismiss it as “not real” coffee simply because the caffeine has been removed. But even as the bar for coffee — both regular and decaf — rises, the methods of decaffeinating coffee actually haven’t changed much. To break it down simply: There are two basic methods, chemical or water. Either a chemical solvent directly or indirectly removes the caffeine from unroasted beans, or beans are soaked in water. Both methods are time-consuming and costly, which is another reason good decaf can be hard to come by; it just takes more time to make. Each method has pros and cons as well: The water method removes other flavor chemicals that have to be reintroduced to the beans after the caffeine is removed. The chemical method, on the other hand, darkens the beans, making it harder to roast well since they’re already dark.