Discover the best coffee to drink in the morning in our guide.
The aroma of fresh coffee beans being ground, the rhythmic percolation of water through a coffee machine, the steam rising from a hot coffee mug – for many of us, these are the quintessential sights, sounds, and smells of a morning routine. Coffee is more than a beverage; it’s a ritual, a small act of self-care that can set the tone for the entire day.
Coffee aficionados and baristas pick what to drink first thing by brewing method, bean type, and roast blend. You can be sure they don’t mask the taste of good coffee with sugar, milk, and sweetener either. So, grab your brew and check out these recommendations for what type of coffee to drink in the mornings.
Types of Coffee Drinks For Morning
No one set way of drinking coffee is ideal for the morning; individual tastes vary too much. In Italy, the belief is that the morning is the only time to drink cappuccino and that after lunch, the only acceptable options are espresso, macchiato, and americanos. The classic American Cup of Joe is a cultural institution, and in France, the café au lait reigns supreme.
The best coffee for morning drinking will depend on what style of coffee drink you tend to prefer in the morning. It also depends on how you intend to brew it and what equipment you’ve access to. That said, the below are fine choices.
1. Colombian Coffee
Colombian coffee, a well-loved classic, is renowned for its balanced taste and robust flavor. Baristas say it has a bright acidity, medium body, and rich, fruity undertones that vary from caramel to nutty. This reliable and widely available variety is a fantastic way to welcome the morning.
Read our guide comparing Arabica vs Columbian coffee.
2. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
As noted in our coffee history article, this choice comes from the birthplace of coffee. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a single-origin coffee lauded for its vibrant and fruity flavor profile. With bright citrusy notes and a light to medium body, this coffee is a good choice if you want to drink coffee as it was initially intended.
3. Guatemalan Antigua
Volcanica Coffee’s Guatemala Antigua brew is a lively dark roast that will invigorate your senses. It was grown in nutrient-dense volcanic soil, which allows for more complex flavors to develop. This coffee is earthy and smokey with a hint of deep caramel.
4. Costa Rican Coffee
Costa Rican coffee is known for its bright acidity, medium body, and deeply satisfying flavor. Often described as having notes of fruit and nuts, this coffee is a good choice for those who prefer a balanced and smooth brew. It’s also a popular Starbucks drink, Pair it with your breakfast and you’re off to an excellent start!
5. Dark Roast Sumatra Mandheling
For coffee fans who enjoy a hearty, bold flavor, dark roast Sumatra Mandheling coffee is perfect. This Indonesian coffee features low acidity and a full body with complex notes ranging from earthy to slightly sweet. It’s an ideal companion for those cool, quiet mornings when you need a strong brew to start the day.
Read our guide comparing light vs dark roast coffee.
6. Kona Coffee from Hawaii
Kona Coffee from Hawaii has an exceptional reputation in the coffee world. Grown on the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa, this coffee offers a unique, mild, and smooth flavor with a hint of fruity sweetness. While it tends to be pricier than other varieties due to its limited production area, its unique taste makes it worth trying for special morning occasions.
7. Mushroom Coffee
Technically, it doesn’t contain the same kick as a strong dark roast, but Mushroom coffee is a good choice if you want something to perk you up without a caffeine crash. Three popular brands we tried include MUDWTR, Four Sigmatic, and RYZE. If you’re going down this road, best opt for a roast blend over an instant.
Otherwise, you’ll need to sweeten up, what can only be described as an acquired taste, with creamer. Read our guide to mushroom coffee brands.
8. Cold Brew Coffee
For those warmer days or if you prefer a less acidic brew, cold brew coffee is a delightful morning refresher. The slow steeping process used to make cold brew coffee reduces its acidity, resulting in a smooth and sweet flavor. It’s also versatile and can be drunk enjoyed plain, with a splash of milk, or even a flavored syrup.
And you can brew it the night before, saving time. Discover the best coffee grounds for cold brew coffee.
9. Keto Coffee
Keto coffee is blended with coconut oil, butter (or both!), and sometimes MCT oil. Added fats help keep you feeling full and provide energy that aligns with the high-fat, low-carb requirements of the keto diet. Some fans claim drinking this coffee in the morning gives them a mental boost and help them focus.
Read our guide to Keto coffee. Each of these coffee varieties offers unique flavor profiles and characteristics, so the best coffee for your morning will ultimately depend on your preference. One of the joys of coffee is its vast diversity, which means you can always try new varieties until you find the one that makes your morning shine.
10. New England Decaf
I like a caffeine hit first, but I recognize some drinkers want to reduce caffeine fatigue. For those sensitive to caffeine, decaf allows them to still enjoy the taste and ritual of coffee without any adverse side effects. Additionally, some people may prefer the taste of decaf.
If you must drink it, opt for a freshly roast blend like New England Decaf that you can brew with a French press or a machine rather than a cheap instant.
11. Death Wish Dark Roast
If your goal for morning coffee is to get as much caffeine in your system as fast as possible, Death Wish is the coffee for you. The dark roast is closer to what most roasters would associate with a medium roast level, meaning the coffee is smoother in flavor and easier on the stomach. It’s also certified as having the highest caffeine content available on the commercial market, so you’ll start your day with a strong coffee buzz.
12. Starbucks Breakfast Blend
The Seattle-based coffee company gave this blend of Latin American coffee beans its name for a reason. The medium roast balances the acidity that tends to come with Latin American beans, and the light flavor and clean finish make for a morning cup of coffee that satisfies and perks you up. Flavor notes of sweet orange and brown sugar pair beautifully with most breakfast foods as an added bonus.
13. Green Mountain Coffee Nantucket Blend
Often in the morning, you don’t want a cup of coffee that’s too demanding, heavy, or nuanced. Green Mountain Coffee’s Nantucket Blend brews is balanced and surprisingly mild, with toasty flavors and hints of sweetness. It’s a solid choice for those who take their coffee black and those who like a little coffee with their milk and sugar: utility coffee, with a smooth finish.
Morning Bellies Are Sensitive Bellies
After hours of not eating, most people’s stomachs aren’t ready for a total onslaught of complicated food and drink. Many people don’t even have the appetite for a real breakfast first thing in the morning.
So one factor to consider when choosing your morning coffee is how sensitive your stomach is when drinking it. The best coffee for morning drinking is a light or medium roast, with low acidity, for a few reasons.
Light and medium roasts tend to have a higher caffeine content (even if the difference is only slight) than dark roasts. Why? Caffeine is water-soluble because the roasting process evaporates and burns off coffee’s volatile components. So if you want to get the biggest caffeine buzz from your morning coffee, you’ll do better choosing lighter roasts for their higher caffeine content.
Low acidity is a factor to consider in your morning coffee as well. Early in the morning, your stomach will not likely be ready for an onslaught of acid – you haven’t eaten for hours, and everything is just waking up and getting going. Most low-acid coffee blends tend to have darker roasts, but it’s possible to find low-acid medium and even light roasts.
Whatever your morning brew of choice, the quality of the beans (or leaves!) will also greatly impact your coffee experience, so don’t skimp on your purchase. If you like this article, check out our companion piece profiling the best teas to drink in the morning.