Ignore the stating-the-obvious article title for a moment. Even ignore my latest tirade against unimaginative writers who use the caffeine riff as a synomym for coffee.

Today WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis, published a story on how they tested the caffeine levels of random decaffeinated coffee samples at five different retailers: wcco.com – Decaf Coffee Is Not Caffeine-Free. Although the NCA suggests that caffeine levels should be about 3 milligrams in an 8-ounce cup of decaffeinated coffee, WCCO-TV found the levels between 3-7 mg — with the exception of Starbucks.

The Starbucks decaffeinated coffee had a whopping 175 mg of caffeine — or pretty much the same as a cup of regular coffee. WCCO-TV even tried to see if they got the wrong stuff by mistake, but this curious bit of evidence suggests something I’ve wondered about all along: maybe Starbucks serves all their coffee drinks from the same spigot? For those fans of The Simpsons, I’m reminded of an epsiode where Homer tours the Duff Beer brewery. In the background of the scene, you subtly notice a single pipe feeding three storage tanks labelled “Duff”, “Duff Lite” and “Duff Dry”.

UPDATE: October 25, 2007
Perhaps asleep at the wheel the first time around, Consumer Reports jumped on this story idea and published an article in their November issue, per the New York Times: A Wake-Up Call for Coffee Drinkers – Well – Tara Parker-Pope – Health – New York Times Blog.