There are more considerations than you might know, and this article covers them all to give you the best coffee for black coffee.
Some coffee snobs will insist that consuming coffee should be done without anything to alter the flavor. However, not all coffees taste the same when prepared black.
There are many factors behind what makes great black coffee — everything from roast to brew type and more. Whether you’re just trying to cut calories or gain a deeper appreciation for the beans themselves, black coffee doesn’t need to be scary or unpleasant.
While everyone’s taste is subjective, if you’re looking to find the best coffee to help you start ditching cream and/or sugar in your coffee, this is the article for you.
What Makes A Good Black Coffee?
People take their coffee black for a lot of reasons. Some people don’t like or can’t tolerate milk or milk alternatives, while others want the stimulation coffee provides with as few calories as possible.
There are also those people that genuinely prefer the taste of coffee without anything else added to it. Whatever the reason, it helps to find coffee that is genuinely pleasant to drink without anything added to it, and that means looking at a few criteria.
If you’re starting to drink your coffee black, light and medium roasts are likely to be a better choice than darker roasts. While many advertising dollars have been invested in convincing consumers “the darker, the better,” light and medium roasts tend to taste better without anything added to them.
Darker roasts tend to be more bitter, and they lose some of the acidity and lighter-bodied nuances that light and medium roasts retain. Light roasts highlight the fruity, sweet, and floral notes, whereas medium roasts show off more of the spicy and caramelized flavors that appear in coffee beans.
You might also find our espresso shot guide helpful.
Brew Type Plays A Role
If you’re looking to start drinking your coffee black, it may be worthwhile to shift your brew type as well. It took me a while to appreciate black coffee from an automatic drip machine, but it was way easier for me to enjoy it from a cafetière or in espresso format.
A medium to dark roast in these two brew types gives a better result than lighter roasts; however, the overall logic remains the same. So, if you’re experimenting with black coffee for the first time, think about how the roast and grind interact with the brewing method you’re going to choose.
Light roasts are all around your best bet for black coffee when it comes to automatic drip coffee. The brewing method lends itself very well to lighter roasts as it is, and the same qualities that make light roasts better for filter coffee come to the forefront, even more when you drink it black. Whatever your brewing method, your initial choices for black coffee should ease you into the flavor experience as gently as possible and give you room to build from there.
Choices For The Best Coffee For Black Coffee
I have a confession to make: I don’t usually drink my coffee black. However, after years of Barista training and experimenting with different brewing methods, different roasts, and so on, I have reached a point where I can have and enjoy black coffee. When I decide to have my coffee black, there are a few tried-and-true beans I seek out.
1. Oren's Daily Roast Two Bridges Blend
A friend, proud New Yorker, and coffee fiend introduced me to this blend, which strikes a balance between light and medium roast level. The combination of Caturra, Castillo, and Bourbon beans creates a balanced sweetness and acidity that is delightful to drink all on its own. It’s slightly fruity, with just a hint of caramel-like sweetness, and great for a morning cup.
2. Pilon Gourmet
A rare dark roast that performs well without any cream or sugar added. Pilon is a Cuban-American for a good reason. While the flavor is strong and intense, this coffee is smooth and avoids overly bitter flavors, with a sweet finish that generations of coffee lovers have appreciated.
- Freshly Roasted
- Rich Dark Roast
- Cuban Style
- Not Ground
- Miami's Best
Available in whole bean and espresso grind, it’s an excellent coffee for a Moka pot or espresso machine. It even makes a decent drip coffee if you grind at home.
3. Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA
There’s a good reason for Kenya’s status as one of the best producers of coffee in the world, and Volcanica Coffee’s Kenya AA showcases the strength of that reputation. Kenyan beans are known for bright acidity and fruity flavors.
Even at a medium roast, this coffee lives up to that reputation. The AA designation marks the largest beans produced in Kenya, with the richest saturation of flavorful oils; all in all, this is a solid choice if you want black coffee that’s still got the body to it but isn’t overwhelming.
- 100% Pure Kenya AA Coffee: With a rich body, pleasant vibrant acidity, fragrant aroma and flavor notes of raspberry, cranberry, fresh-cut redwood, alyssum-like flowers in aroma and cup.
- Flavor Notes: Raspberry, Cranberry, Fresh-cut Redwood, and Alyssum-like Flowers
- Roast Profile: Medium/Light roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
- Highest Grade: The "AA" grade marks out the very largest beans that naturally contain the largest amount of aromatic oils that are so integral to the coffee-drinking experience
- Freshly Roasted: We fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.