Best Coffee to Drink Black – Our Top Picks

If you’ve tried black coffee and weren’t impressed, it’s probably because you were drinking the wrong stuff. Read a guide to the best coffee to drink black.

best coffee to drink black
Choose the best black coffee for you.

Some people swear by black coffee, but others find it hard to enjoy when compared to a cappuccino or espresso. There are many things to think about when choosing the best coffee to drink black, but once you’ve it, you’ll understand why this type of coffee is a great choice for any coffee drinker.

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. Let’s learn more!

Picking The Best Coffee To Drink Black

There are some specific things to consider when choosing a black coffee, but the most important is this: do not use mass-produced grocery store coffee (especially instant coffee).

A mass-produced coffee brand is generally low-quality and doesn’t have the richness and complex flavor profile you can find by drinking specialty coffee produced by independent roasters. Some can also leave behind a funny aftertaste.

The best Starbucks coffee tastes good, but it’s pricey. You easily brew quality black coffee at home. Once you know where to look, here are the main things to consider when choosing a good black coffee.

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, creamer, or milk alternatives, so don’t drink the likes of lattes. Others want the stimulation coffee provides with as few calories as possible.

There are also those people who 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 black coffee, light and medium roasts are likely to taste nicer than darker roasts, at least at first. Darker roasts tend to be more bitter, which can be off-putting to those new to black coffee and ruin the coffee experience. You might also find our espresso shot guide helpful.

1. Use Whole Bean Coffee

Coffee beans begin to lose their flavor once they’re ground. Then they’re packaged, shipped, and sit on a shelf until you buy them. After you bring ground coffee home from the coffee shop, it will sit in your pantry even longer.

That means that a significant amount of time will have passed from when the beans were ground and when you use them, and the coffee taste will be much different.

Get a manual or electric grinder and grind your coffee beans fresh right before you brew. A roasted bean is only fresh for about two weeks, so make sure you buy your dark roast coffee in small batches for the best flavor in your coffee grounds.

2. Look At The Flavor Profile

Something that a lot of people don’t realize about coffee is that it comes in so many different flavor profiles. You’ll find coffee with flavor profiles of dark chocolate, nuts, lemon, strawberries, and more. Some roasters also have really creative flavored coffee, like cookies and cream, s’mores, and more.

Most coffee you’ll come across will be 100% Arabica beans or a blend of Arabica and Robusta. Although Robusta coffee has more caffeine, it’s also more bitter, which is why new coffee drinkers may not like it. Choose a flavor that you know you like and give it a try, or look for a sampler and try a handful of different types until you find a winner.

Your brewing method will also influence the flavors, whether you use an Aeropress, pour-over, or prefer drip coffee.

3. Resist The Urge To Add Sugar

When drinking a strong coffee, you might be tempted to add sugar. Adding sugar removes the natural black coffee taste of the brewed coffee, which means that you’re not really enjoying the coffee for what it is. Plus, it can cancel out the health benefits like antioxidants.

For beginners who need to dull the intensity a bit and work up to drinking purely black coffee, use a little bit of steamed milk or cream to dull the flavor at first. Add less and less every time until you’re used to drinking it black.

4. Start With A Lighter Roast

light roast
Light roasts are slightly acidic and tend to be brighter and more floral than rich and dense.

Light roast coffee is a little less bitter and more palatable than dark roast coffee, so they’re a good choice if you’re not used to black coffee. Light roasts are slightly acidic and tend to be brighter and more floral than rich and dense. Start with light and medium roast coffee and work to dark roasts as you get used to the taste.

The Best Coffee For Black Coffee

1. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Peet’s Coffee may have grown to become a national brand, but the company continues to take pride in crafting premium coffee blends. Peet’s Coffee first developed Major Dickason’s Blend back in the 1960s, but it continues to be one of Peet’s most popular blends today. That popularity is due to the use of a variety of high-quality coffee beans to ensure a complex blend that is strong without any sourness.

Peet’s Coffee, Dark Roast Ground Coffee
$14.26 ($0.79 / Ounce)

Contains one (1) 18 Ounce Bag of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend Ground 100% Arabica Coffee

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02/06/2024 09:54 am GMT

2. Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

This single-origin coffee comes from one of the most legendary coffee-growing regions of the world, the Yirgacheffe Valley in Ethiopia. The small-batch roasting draws out the coffee’s lime notes that enhance the beans’ overall chocolatey flavor, resulting in an overall rich and decadent cup. This Ethiopian coffee is worth trying for anyone who appreciates a short citrus burst with a lingering sweetness.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee Whole Bean
$17.95 ($1.12 / Ounce)
  • Whole Bean Coffee
  • Freshly Roasted Coffee
  • Cubico Coffee
  • 16 Ounce
  • Single Origin Ethiopian Coffee
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02/06/2024 07:34 am GMT

3. Kicking Horse Coffee 454 Horse Power Blend

This blend takes some of the finest coffee beans from around the world and brings them together to create a high-horsepower yet well-rounded brew. Strong yet, sweet with hints of chocolate and nutmeg, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for an organic Fair Trade coffee that won’t disappoint. If you love dark roast coffee without any smokiness, 454 Horse Power Blend may be your new favorite coffee.

Kicking Horse Coffee 454 Horse Power Dark Roast
$7.49 ($0.75 / Ounce)
  • 454 Horse Power
  • Dark Roast
  • Ground, 10 oz
  • Certified Organic
  • Fairtrade
  • Kosher Coffee
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02/06/2024 07:49 am GMT

4. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee Smooth & Sweet Blend

For those who prefer to make their coffee using the cold-brewing method, you can’t get much better than Bizzy Smooth & Sweet Blend. Roastmasters select premium organic beans from Central and South America to carefully roast and grind precisely for cold brewing. Customers describe Bizzy Smooth & Sweet blend as having slight caramel and hazelnut notes, although this is not a flavored coffee.

Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
$29.99 ($0.94 / Ounce)
  • Coarse Ground Coffee
  • Micro Sifted
  • Specialty Grade
  • 100% Arabica
  • 2 LB
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02/06/2024 07:34 am GMT

5. Death Wish Coffee Company Cups

Okay, so using K-cups is probably not the best brewing method if you want a gourmet cup of coffee, but it is difficult to argue with the convenience. If you insist on using K-cups to make coffee, you should choose a great blend like Death Wish Coffee.

Don’t drink it because of ad campaigns that call it the “world’s strongest coffee,” but instead because it is the best-tasting coffee for those who need a wake-up call. It offers a rich flavor with naturally low acidity.

Death Wish Coffee Single Serve Pods
$12.99 ($1.30 / Count)
  • Dark Roast Coffee Pods
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Fair Trade
  • Arabica and Robusta Beans
  • 10 Count
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02/06/2024 07:54 am GMT

6. Stumptown Coffee Roasters Trapper Creek Blend Decaf

Alright, decaf coffee may not be for most coffee snobs, but for those who want to partake of coffee sans caffeine, it is difficult to beat Trapper Creek Decaf from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stumptown’s Swiss water decaf process preserves the authentic taste of the coffee beans and helps to create a blend with the faint aroma of coffee cake, and although unflavored, the distinct flavor of raisins and caramel comes through.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Trapper Creek Decaf
$26.38 ($2.20 / Ounce)
  • Trapper Creek Decaf
  • Whole Bean
  • 12 Oz
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02/06/2024 07:54 am GMT

7. Oren’s Daily Roast Two Bridges Blend

A friend, proud New Yorker, and coffee fiend introduced me to this Oren Coffee blend, which balances light and medium roast levels. 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.

8. Pilon Gourmet Restaurant Blend Espresso

A rare dark roast that performs well without any cream or sugar added. While the flavor is strong and intense, this Pilon coffee is smooth and avoids overly bitter flavors, with a sweet finish that generations of coffee lovers have appreciated.

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 it at home.

Pilon Whole Bean Restaurant Blend Espresso Coffee, 32 Ounce
$42.99 ($1.34 / Ounce)
  • Whole Bean
  • Restaurant Blend Espresso Coffee
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02/06/2024 07:09 pm GMT

9. Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA

There’s a good reason for Kenya’s status as one of the world’s best coffee producers, and Volcanica Coffee’s Kenya AA showcases the strength of that reputation. Kenyan beans are known for their 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; this is a solid choice if you want black coffee that’s still got the body to it but isn’t overwhelming. 

Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee
$20.99 ($1.31 / Ounce)
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02/06/2024 10:59 pm GMT

Finding The Best Coffee To Drink Black

There are many things to think about when choosing a coffee to drink black. For one, don’t buy mass-produced coffee at the grocery store. Stick with small roasters that take the time to build delicious flavor profiles carefully.

Choose whole beans over pre-ground, and start with a light roast. They’re a little more palatable, which makes it easy to give up your cream and sugar.

You’ll learn to love a cup of black coffee in no time! Learn if you can drink black coffee while fasting.

FAQs On The Best Coffee To Drink Black

Is Drinking Black Coffee Healthier Than Drinking Coffee With Milk Or Cream?

Black coffee has fewer calories and less fat than if you add cream or milk. Each tablespoon of half & half adds 20 calories to a cup of coffee and almost two grams of fat.
In addition to protecting your waistline, some studies show that drinking black coffee in moderation can positively affect health issues, such as reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, lowering the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, and improving a person’s mood.

What is the Best Way to Brew Black Coffee?

Many people insist cold brewing is the best way to brew a rich, sweet cup of black coffee. Prepare a large batch and keep it in the fridge to use throughout the week. If you want a hot cup, heat it slowly on the stove or in the microwave.
Using a French press coffee pot is another excellent way to brew coffee without the possibility of overheating the beans and the resulting unpleasant taste. However, the less bold flavor profile you get from this brewing method may underwhelm someone who prefers a bold cup.
Since there is no dairy to cover up flavor issues caused by under or over-extraction during brewing, all mistakes are on full display. So, it’s all about your barista skills and coffee maker of choice.

Is There Anything I Can Do To Reduce The Bitterness And Acidity Of Coffee Without Adding Cream Or Sugar?

You can try a few popular tricks to improve your coffee taste. Add a pinch of salt or baking soda to your coffee. As silly as it sounds, it helps smooth out a rough brew without giving your coffee an odd taste.
Alternatively, you may want to brew with hard water or use paper filters. Black coffee is an acquired taste; your taste buds will adjust soon enough.


  • Jared B

    Jared Bernstein worked in the food industry for decades, starting as a barista in high school. He graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC and worked in some of the city's top-end restaurants. When he isn't writing about cooking or historical recipes, he's probably hanging out at a classic diner or cafe.