Best Coffee to Drink Black – Our Top Picks For 2021

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 a lot of things to think about when choosing the best coffee to drink black, but once you’ve it, you’ll understand why it’s a great choice for any coffee drinker.

Choosing 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 that you can find by drinking specialty coffee produced from independent roasters. Once you know where to look, here are the main things to consider when choosing a good black coffee.

1. Use Whole Beans

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 them home, they sit in your pantry even longer.

That means that a significant amount of time has 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.

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.

3. Resist the Urge to Add Sugar

When drinking a strong coffee, you might be tempted to add sugar. Don’t.

Adding sugar takes away from the natural flavor of the brewed coffee, which means that you’re not really enjoying the coffee for what it is. Sugar generally overrides the subtle notes and flavors in the coffee.

If you 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 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 a little more acidic and tend to be brighter and more floral than rich and dense. Start with light and medium roasts and work to dark roasts as you get used to the taste.

Lighter roast coffee
Resist the urge to add sugar to your black coffee

Here are some really nice medium and light roasts that you can try:

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 using a variety of high-quality coffee beans to ensure a complex blend that is strong without any sourness.

Peet's Coffee, Major Dickason's Blend - Dark Roast Ground Coffee - 18 Ounce Bag
  • Major Dickason's Blend: Conceived by Mr. Peet and his most discerning customer, Major Dickason’s Blend has become the coffee that epitomizes the rich, flavorful taste of Peet’s
  • Flavor and Roast: Incomparable world blend, rich, complex, and full-bodied. Dark roast. 100% Arabica Coffee. State of Readiness: Ingredient
  • Signature Blends: Alfred Peet was renowned for achieving perfection through his blends, bringing together coffees so exceptional, each could stand on its own. For unparalleled complexity and nuance, look no further than our signature blends
  • Our Commitment: To achieve our signature rich flavor, we source the world’s best coffee beans, hand-roast them in small batches, and uphold the strictest standard of freshness
  • Contents: 1- 18 Ounce Bag of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee

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 coffee is worth trying for anyone who appreciates a short citrus burst with a lingering sweetness.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee - Whole Bean Coffee - Freshly Roasted Coffee - Cubico Coffee - 16 Ounce (Single Origin Ethiopian Coffee)
  • 100% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee - grown on the sloping hills of the Yirgachaffe Valley in the famous coffee region of Sidamo, Ethiopia.
  • Freshly Roasted Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Beans - Cubico Coffees are roasted in small batches and our roasters sign and date each bag to ensure freshness
  • Cupping Notes - A smooth and creamy body, a complex citrusy with pronounced lime notes, floral flavor and a sweet chocolate finish.
  • Premium Ethiopia Whole Bean Coffee - Medium Roasted to preserve the coffee’s complex flavors and intense aroma
  • 16 oz. Whole Bean Coffee in a vacuum sealed bag to ensure freshness

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, fairtrade coffee that won't disappoint. If you love dark roast coffee, but without any smokiness, 454 Horse Power Blend may just be your new favorite coffee.

Kicking Horse Coffee, 454 Horse Power, Dark Roast, Ground, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
  • DARK ROAST, GROUND: Velvety, earthy, spirited. This smooth riding dark horse conjures up power from the depths of the shadows. This is the winner, the champion of taste
  • TASTING NOTES, BREW METHOD: Heavy body, sweet tobacco, earthy with a black licorice finish. Recommended methods: drip machine, pour over and cold brew
  • ORIGIN INDONESIA, CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA: Grown in a socially and environmentally responsible way, by farmers with sustainable businesses they can depend on
  • ORGANIC, FAIRTRADE, KOSHER, SHADE GROWN, ARABICA COFFEE: Coffee that is good and fair for the coffee drinkers, the farmers and the planet. 100 percent Certified
  • ROASTED IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS: It’s all deep, dark and delicious, roasted right below the towering Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks

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 Central and South American organic beans to carefully roast and grind specifically 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 | Smooth & Sweet Blend | Coarse Ground Coffee | Micro Sifted | Specialty Grade | 100% Arabica | 2 LB
  • ENGINEERED FOR COLD BREW - Coarse ground coffee optimized for cold brewing to give you a consistent, extra smooth cold brew
  • ENGINEERED FOR COLD BREW - Coarse ground coffee optimized for cold brewing to give you a consistent, extra smooth cold brew
  • BREW YOUR WAY - Brew your cold brew how you would like. Add more water for a less strong cold brew or less water for a stronger beverage.
  • 100% ORGANIC - USDA Organic, ethically sourced coffee from Guatemala, Peru, and Nicaragua.
  • SMOOTH AND SWEET - Arabica beans roasted medium with notes of caramel and hazelnut.

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, then you should choose a really 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 offers rich flavor with naturally low acidity.

DEATH WISH Death Cups [10 Count] Single Serve Coffee Pods, World’s Strongest Coffee, Dark Roast, Capsule Cup, USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Arabica and Robusta Beans
  • WORLD’S STRONGEST COFFEE: Death Cups are packed with our signature dark-roasted Death Wish Coffee that will instantly transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious, bold, and intense beverage that will revolutionize your morning. Get ready to wake up, feel focused, and be good to go.
  • EASY COMPATIBILITY: Death Wish coffee pods are easy to use and compatible with most coffee brewing machines.
  • BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile that's also low in acidity. We've carefully selected premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from around the world to deliver you a bold taste we know you'll fall for.
  • FAIR AND ORGANIC: Every single serve of Death Wish Coffee is bursting with Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost you can be proud to support.
  • DEATH CUP DESIGN: Our rigid single-use Death Cup capsule design is built to hold our best-selling coffee and won't easily slip out of your hands. And best of all, they’re recyclable, making you a hero for your mornings and a hero for the planet.

6. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Trapper Creek Blend Decaf

Alright, decaf coffee may not be, uh, my cup of tea, 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.

Sale
Stumptown Coffee Roasters Whole Bean, Trapper Creek Decaf, Whole Bean Trapper Creek Decaf, 12 Oz
  • Raisin, Buttery & Caramel
  • The sweetness of raisins pairs beautifully with caramel in this creamy, buttery cup.
  • Decaf shouldn't taste this good. But it does. In fact, it tastes great.

Finding the Best Coffee to Drink Black

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

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!

FAQs on the Best Coffee to Drink Black

Is drinking black coffee healthier than drinking coffee with milk or cream?

Right off the bat, black coffee has fewer calories and less fat than drinking if you add cream or even milk. Each tablespoon of half & half adds 20 calories to a cup of coffee and almost 2 grams of fat.

In addition to protecting your waistline, some studies show that drinking black coffee in moderation can have a positive effect on 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.

Which Brewing Methods Make the Best Coffee to Drink Black?

To get the best taste from your coffee, you need to brew it right. Since there is no diary to cover up flavor issues caused by under or over-extraction during the brewing process, all mistakes are on full display.

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 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.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the bitterness and acidity of coffee without adding cream or sugar?

Yes, there are a few popular tricks you can try to improve how your coffee tastes. 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.

Author

  • 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.