What Is Black Coffee?

Are you wondering what is black coffee and why people choose it as their morning brew? If so, read this article to learn more about the drink.

What is black coffee?
Black coffee can boost your health, vitality, and productivity

Black coffee is just what it sounds like; coffee that is black in color because nothing but water has been added to the brewed coffee. There is no cream, milk, or sweetener added, and many people believe this to be coffee in its purest form.

Of course, black coffee is also popular because of its added health benefits. Unfortunately, the bitter truth about coffee is that adding cream and sugar could strip your daily brew of its health benefits. Indeed, black coffee can boost your health, vitality, and productivity.

Plenty of foods and drinks have health benefits, but they don’t all taste as wonderful as this drink. However, if you are more used to milky coffees, you might be wondering if it’s right for you.

What Does Black Coffee Taste Like?

Since you are not adding anything to your coffee, your black coffee’s taste will depend on the type of ground coffee you use. The coffee-to-water ratio will also have a major effect, with 1:15 typically correct for a decent pour-over black coffee.

When made correctly, your black coffee should have citrus notes with some sweet characteristics and shouldn’t be overly bitter. However, as you become a more experienced black coffee drinker, you will notice that different coffee brands produce different roasts, and there is a whole world of taste out there.

It does have a stronger taste than other coffee drinks, where you add more than simply coffee and hot water. For instance, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and lattes are much easier on the initiated palate. But if you acquire a taste for the complexity of black coffee, you’ll unlikely be rushing back to other types of coffee.

What Is The Caffeine Content Of Black Coffee?

The amount of caffeine once again depends on the type of coffee you choose, with some brands’ prefer to sell highly caffeinated roasts that are designed to give you the boost you need. However, if you’re looking for a regular run-of-the-mill home-brewed cup, it will typically come in at around 50mg (with robusta beans having slightly more caffeine than their arabica counterparts).

If you do go for one of the more caffeinated coffees, then beware, as overdoing it with coffee can lead to a whole bunch of issues. For instance, it can worsen anxiety, affect the nervous system, and act as a diuretic, so there is a need to drink with caution.

When you consider that some of these coffees can have as much as 400mg of caffeine per serving, it’s pretty obvious why you should monitor your coffee intake. Of course, it should be noted that this is a coffee drink that you make with decaf, and with some of the coffee brands, you won’t even notice the difference in taste.

Why Do People Like Black Coffee?

You now know what black coffee is, but you might be asking why people ever choose to move away from the milkier, sweeter customizations of coffee. There are many reasons, some of which we have listed below…

1. Black Coffee Has Fewer Calories

Mug of coffee with creamer and sugar cubes
A cup of coffee becomes a different drink entirely once you add cream and sugar

A cup of black coffee has a negligible amount of calories. That means that coffee is on the list of approved beverages if you’re trying to cut out calories and sugar to lose weight. However, it’s a different story once you add cream and sugar to the mix.

A cup of coffee becomes a different drink entirely once you add cream and sugar. Creamer adds calories and fat. A serving of half-and-half creamer has about 3.5 grams of fat and 40 calories.

A teaspoon of sugar adds 4.2 grams of carbs.

Unfortunately, people who add multiple servings of cream and sugar to multiple cups of coffee throughout the day could end up drinking many more calories than they realize. There is a real risk of inadvertently adding fat, calories, and carbohydrates to your diet by lightening up your coffee! If you must sweeten your brew, why not add honey to coffee instead? Of course, it’s better if you just leave it black and enjoy its existing flavors.

2. Black Coffee Delivers A Purer Taste Experience

Not everyone drinks their coffee black because they’re conscious of calories and fat. Many black coffee drinkers prefer the real, unadulterated taste of coffee. After all, indulging in regular coffee that you can only tolerate when it’s diluted with cream and sugar could be considered odd! People who choose black coffee often consider it the ‘real way’ to consume the drink.

Many people who appreciate high-quality coffee prefer black coffee because they feel that this is the best way to observe and savor the flavor notes. Preference for black coffee is sometimes simply just a matter of flavor purity! People who enjoy strong, bitter coffee actually consider it a shame to cover up the authentic taste of coffee.

Do you know what the actual taste of coffee is when there’s nothing covering up the true qualities of the beans? Many people who consider themselves coffee lovers may not be all that familiar with the true taste of coffee, whether light roast or dark roast coffee.

Relishing black coffee can help you to understand and appreciate the various profiles offered by different bean selections, roasting processes, and brewing techniques!

3. Black Coffee Can Be More Economical

Black coffee is a very economical way to enjoy a java fix! This is especially true if you prepare your coffee at home. A heavy coffee drinker could easily go through an entire sweetener container, half-and-half creamer, or non-dairy creamer in a week. Meanwhile, black coffee in a coffee shop like Starbucks is almost always cheaper than iced coffee, a latte, or a mocha.

This is one of the underestimated benefits of drinking black coffee. The difference in price over a year can be in the hundreds of dollars. Learn more in our guide on how to save money at the coffee shop.

4. Black Coffee Is Easier to Brew

Some people take a utilitarian approach to their coffee. They want to get their caffeine fix as quickly as possible before starting the day! These people often prefer black coffee because it delivers an instant caffeine fix without a lot of fuss!

You can typically drink a much smaller cup of coffee when it’s black because you’re ingesting pure coffee instead of coffee that’s been diluted with milk. That means that you can be ready to go after downing a few sips! In addition, you won’t be racing to the bathroom with a full bladder as soon as you arrive at work in the morning!

Health Benefits Of Black Coffee

We initially included the health benefits of black coffee in our ‘Why Do People Like Black Coffee?’ section, but after further examination, this deserves its own area. That is because the health benefits of drinking black coffee are so plentiful.

It’s not just the lower calories that make black coffee healthy. There is strong evidence that black coffee offers some significant health benefits that can be reduced or negated by adding cream and sugar.

1. A Better Brain

Coffee can do some pretty amazing things for brain function. You may already know that caffeine is a stimulant. However, you may not know why that matters for brain function.

Caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream after you enjoy a cup of coffee. That caffeine then makes its way to your brain to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This increases performance-boosting neurotransmitters like norepinephrine.

Coffee has been shown to improve brain function related to mood, memory, energy levels, and reaction times. Yes, that walking-on-air feeling that you get after a great cup of coffee is completely real! It’s a result of your brain being activated to function optimally.

Black coffee can increase your brain’s positive reaction to caffeine because it delivers a more direct and concentrated dosage. One long-term effect of all the brain benefits of black coffee is that regular consumption can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65% in late life. In addition, you have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease if you drink black coffee regularly.

2. Black Coffee Prevents A Black Mood

Black coffee boosts your mood! Research has shown that drinking coffee can help lessen the symptoms of depression, which is yet another one of its amazing effects.

However, it goes without saying that it is not a cure for mental health issues and they should be addressed by medical professionals. It’s also worth noting that too much coffee can negatively affect anxiety levels.

3. It Can Help With Weight Loss

We’ve gone over how black coffee may help with weight loss simply because calories and carbs from cream and sugar are absent. However, that’s only part of the picture. Black coffee actually boosts the metabolism to aid in weight loss!

Research shows that the caffeine in black coffee can boost a person’s metabolic rate by as much as 11.% It has also been shown to increase fat burning by between 10% and 29%. Those aren’t bad numbers for something that simply requires you to take a few very enjoyable sips!

4. Your Liver Will Love You

A cup of black coffee is your liver’s best friend! It can even help you ward off liver cancer. Yes, you read that right; drinking 24 ounces of coffee per day may decrease your risk of cancer and cirrhosis. So, it’s a great addition to a healthy diet.

5. Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes

This next point may just be the most compelling reason to switch to black coffee for your health. Black coffee can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The average person could see their odds of developing type 2 diabetes dip for every cup of coffee they consume per day.

Black coffee isn’t a magical fix for any of the above, but it can get your health moving in the right direction if drunk alongside a healthy lifestyle and diet. And if you can reduce your diabetes risk simply by moving to black coffee, then why not try it?

Tips For Switching To Black Coffee

You need to adjust your taste buds a little bit to experience the benefits that black coffee offers.

You may feel inspired to switch to black coffee now that you understand why so many people choose this drink. It can be difficult to break the habit of making your coffee light and sweet using cream and sugar. However, there are some steps you can take to let your taste buds adjust.

1. Gradually Make The Switch

Going cold turkey regarding how you drink your coffee isn’t always the best option! Try to gradually reduce the amount of cream and sugar you put in your coffee. Adjusting to a darker cup of coffee will give your body and taste buds time to grow to love the bitter taste.

2. Buy High-Quality Coffee

Coffee close up high quality
Black coffee goes down much easier if you upgrade to higher bean quality

You might also want to consider switching to a higher quality coffee if you’ll be switching to black brews. The truth is that cream and sugar may have been masking the fact that your default brand of coffee isn’t all that amazing. You may find that black coffee goes down much easier if you upgrade to higher bean quality.

You may have to spend more money to get better quality. However, your total cost may balance out because you’ll probably be drinking less coffee each day once you switch to the powerful, jolting benefits of black coffee. That means you can splurge on a more expensive coffee like Kona coffee to enjoy a fruity, light flavor that stands on its own without the need for cream or sugar!

3. Consider Your Brewing Methods

Did you know that the process you use to brew your coffee can impact the flavor that’s produced? It might be time to change your brewing method if you can’t seem to brew a pot that you find tolerable when served black. For instance, using a French press instead of a standard electric coffee machine could extract a new set of flavors that you had never noticed in your coffee beans before. While ground coffee isn’t bad, it loses flavor quickly compared to whole-bean coffee.

For the best results, grind your beans right before brewing in your coffee maker of choice.

4. Try Cold Brew Black Coffee

If all else fails, why not switch to cold-brew black coffee? The flavors produced this way are slightly different and may actually be more in tune with your tastes. It still has all the health benefits of regularly brewed black coffee, but it is just that little bit easier on the palate for the uninitiated.

How To Add Flavor To Black Coffee

You may wonder if there are any ways to add flavor to black coffee without decreasing its health benefits or adding calories. Much of the “taste” experience of enjoying a cup of coffee is related to our sense of smell. You may be able to trick your nose into thinking a cup of coffee is far tastier than it really is using a simple method.

Consider dabbing a little bit of vanilla extract along the rim of your coffee cup to create a more flavorful and fragrant cup of black coffee. You’ll enjoy a very satisfying aroma without necessarily adding more calories. Additionally, adding a little bit of almond extract, cinnamon, or nutmeg to the rim of your cup can provide the illusion of sweetness by hijacking your sense of smell with every sip!

There’s also the option to brew flavored coffee beans. Options like French vanilla and hazelnut create sweeter, nuttier flavors when served in black. Any calories added through the flavoring process are essentially negligible.

You might also be interested in our black coffee vs. espresso guide.

FAQs About Drinking Black Coffee

Can You Drink Black Coffee On An Empty Stomach?

Yes, it’s safe for most people to drink black coffee on an empty stomach. You should discuss any specific concerns you have with your doctor before making the switch to black coffee.

Does Black Coffee Contain Any Vitamins Or Nutrients?

Yes, black coffee is a source of vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, magnesium, potassium, and tons of antioxidants.

Is It True That Black Coffee Protects Against Gout?

We know that black coffee helps to decrease levels of insulin and uric acid in the body. It is widely believed that black coffee can help to both prevent gout and alleviate gout symptoms.

Is Drinking Black Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?

Water is the only beverage that won’t have some effect on your teeth. Coffee is high in acid, which could affect your teeth with prolonged consumption, such as straining. That said, coffee is believed to fight bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Will Black Coffee Give Me The Jitters?

Some people do feel jittery or anxious after consuming black coffee. Start with a small serving of black coffee to gauge your body’s reaction or side effects. You should also discuss coffee consumption with your doctor if you suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety.


  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies. Find Cian on muckrack.com.