The taste of decaf coffee isn’t the same as caffeinated, in the same way that Diet Coke, vegetarian bacon, or high-end MP3 players aren’t the same as what they started out as.
It’s good we call out differences between the original products and their derivatives, but at times it can seem a bit odd. As vegetarians, we enjoy a meat-like substance that resembles strips of bacon, but bacon it is not. Were it actually animal flesh we would not eat it.
The fact it isn’t what it purports to be is the reason we engage with it.
Take for example a product said to have a tube-like sound. We ignore the fact it is 100% solid-state because that description might not connect with our image of good sound any more than a package of Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Adzuki Beans, and Buckwheat Groats seems appetizing.
It’s bold indeed to produce products that stand on their own merit and challenge stereotypes: AC regenerators, separate phono preamplifiers, CD transports, vibration control feet, active grounding systems.
I love the taste of a great cup of coffee, caffeine, and all.