Buying Guides

Best Coffee to Drink Black (and Enjoy)

Just so you know, if you click on a product on RoastyCoffee.com and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

Many people are afraid that drinking coffee black will mean sacrificing the pleasure of actually enjoying your coffee. That’s simply not the case; you just need quality beans. Fear not! We’ve collected and reviewed plenty of options to show you which is the best coffee to drink black for any tastebuds.

At A Glance: Best Coffees To Drink Black

best coffee to drink black

Quick Summary: Best Coffees To Drink Black

rc2-table__imageLifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
  • USDA Organic
  • Healthiest Dark Roast Coffee
  • No Chemicals Or Harmful Processes
Check On Lifeboost→
rc2-table__imageALMA COFFEE ENCHANTED BLEND
  • Strong Notes Of Creamy Dark Chocolate, Molasses, And Toasted Pecans
  • Strong And Bold
Check Price →
rc2-table__imageCAFFE VITA BISTRO BLEND
  • Smooth Sweetness Of Milk Chocolate And Caramel Supporting A Cashew-Nuttiness
  • Classically Balanced Cup
Check Price →
Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee, 100% Pure, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounceVolcanica Kenya AA
  • 100% Pure Kenya AA Coffee Beans
  • Fresh Roasted
  • Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed
Check on Amazon →
rc2-table__imageHuckleberry Roasters Bom Senso Blend
  • Cozy Roasted Almond Nuttiness
  • Balanced Caramel Sweetness
  • Comforting Taste
Check Price →
rc2-table__imageAtomic Coffee Roasters
  • A Splash Of Ripe Cherry Juiciness
  • Extra Smooth, Chocolaty Sweet
  • Crowd-Pleasing Taste
Check Price →
rc2-table__imageOren's Daily Roast
  • Smooth And Poetic
  • Soft Citrus Acidity
  • Toffee Sweetness
Check Price →
Koffee Kult Colombia Coffee Beans Huila Region Medium Roast (Whole Bean, 32oz)Koffee Kult Colombian Huila
  • Fresh Roasted
  • Great Aroma
  • Best Choice Of Gourmet Coffee
Check on Amazon →
Pilon Gourmet Whole Bean Restaurant Blend Espresso Coffee, 16 OuncePilon Gourmet Coffee
  • Rich Dark Roast
  • Freshly Roasted
  • Miami's Best
Check on Amazon →
Coffee Bean Direct Nicaraguan, Shade Grown Organic Fair Trade Whole Bean Coffee, 5-Pound BagCoffee Bean Direct Nicaraguan
  • Shade Grown Organic Fair Trade Whole Bean Coffee
  • A Light Roasted SHG Nicaraguan Coffee
  • Packaged To Ensure Optimal Freshness
Check on Amazon →

Whether you are making the switch for the health benefits, the flavor, or simply convenience, there are plenty of reasons to choose to drink black coffee… and enjoy it! Read on for your recommendations on coffee brands to try and tips for making sure the taste is on point, too.

What is “Black Coffee”?

While it may seem pretty straightforward, there is a bit of controversy over what exactly counts as black coffee. Most people would define black coffee as any coffee (from a standard drip to an espresso) that is brewed and served with no extras.

So that would mean no sugar, milk, creamer, et cetera. However, some people consider additives that don’t change the color of the drink (like sugar, cinnamon, and cacao powder) to be fair game. We, however, prefer to stick to the standard definition for a few reasons.

First, many people who choose to drink black coffee do so specifically to avoid all the add-ins. Second, other people who choose to drink black coffee do so to make sure they get the maximum coffee flavor, which won’t happen if you start mixing in other stuff.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what brands of coffee are offering the best coffee beans to enjoy brewed all by themselves.

Roasty Ranked: Best Coffees to Drink Black

Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee (Best Overall)

The healthiest dark roast coffee. It’s rich and full-bodied, smooth with deliciously-lingering aftertastes and absolutely to die for.  This is your low-acid dark roast coffee, also known as French and Italian roast.

BUY IT NOW

Join the dark side with Lifeboost’s Dark Roast Coffee! We have been continuously impressed with the savory, robust flavors that this brand embodies in every roast–not to mention the overwhelming amount of health benefits they provide as well. 

Lifeboost takes extra care to ensure that all of their coffee plants are grown without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals and even tests their coffee to remove any overlooked mycotoxins, heavy metals, unwanted chemicals, and other toxins. 

This dark roast in particular is a signature classic of Lifeboost. A robust single-origin blend, these beans are sourced from small-scale farmers who cultivate them along the shady mountainsides of Nicaragua. An organic coffee, these beans are sun-dried and washed in pure spring water to ensure that all of the sweet, fruity natual flavors within the beans are highlighted enough to give you the most delicious cups of black coffee you’ll ever have! 

Alma Coffee Enchanted Blend

Alma Coffee
Alma Coffee Enchanted Blend
Our rating:

Chocolaty sweetness and a kiss of roast make for a magically cozy cup.

CHECK PRICE

If you think taking a long, slow sip of good dark roast coffee in the morning is a magical experience, chances are you’re going to be enchanted by Alma Coffee’s Enchanted blend.

This java is both strong and bold, and the best part is, there’s no bitter aftertaste lingering in your mouth after you’ve finished your cup. It’s a great idea to enjoy this coffee black because of its yummy notes of delicious dark chocolate, sweet molasses, and toasted pecans. The Honduran beans taste so good on their own, there’s no reason to add milk or sugar.

Caffe Vita Bistro Blend

Cafe Vita
Caffe Vita Bistro Blend
Our rating:

A classically balanced cup, with the smooth sweetness of milk chocolate and caramel supporting a cashew-nuttiness that keeps us coming back.

CHECK PRICE

Did you know your morning cup can take you on a trip you don’t even need to pack for? Caffe Vita’s Bistro blend, for example, transports you to the beans’ origins — South America, Indonesia, and East Africa — in just one sip. Kinda cool, right? 

What’s even cooler is that this blend makes a balanced and approachable brew that all kinds of black coffee drinkers can enjoy, whether you just ditched the creamer and sugar yesterday or have been in a monogamous relationship with black coffee for years. 

As you sip a cup of this coffee, note (and savor!) flavors of baking chocolate, almond, and caramel; that sweet nuttiness will keep you pouring cup after cup. 

Volcanica Kenya AA (Best runner up)

Kenyan coffee, among several other African varieties, is known for its vibrant, flavorful brews. This particular offering from Volcanica is the best coffee to drink black overall, in our opinion. If you are new to the unaltered brew, this is a great place to start (and, honestly, you might never leave).

The Kenya AA Coffee is a medium roast with a crisply sweet flavor with overtones of berry and citrus followed by a savory, winy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light and smooth, so you won’t need to rely on added milk for a pleasant sip.

Huckleberry Roasters Bom Senso Blend (Best Bold Brew)

Huckleberry
Huckleberry Roasters Bom Senso Blend
Our rating:

With a big, chocolaty body, cozy roasted almond nuttiness and tons of balanced caramel sweetness, this Trade-exclusive cup is just about as comforting as you can get.

BUY IT NOW

We firmly believe that everyone needs a package of quality, bold beans on standby for those mornings when you need a little something more to get you up and at ’em. Load a few spoonfuls of Huckleberry Roasters Bom Senso blend into your coffee maker, and in just a few minutes, you’ll be slurping down a cup of joe that’ll wake you and your tastebuds right up.

Flavors of chocolate, almonds, and caramel dance around in every cup of this Latin American coffee and make it pleasant enough to enjoy on its own. There’s no stereotypical bitter black coffee taste here; only rich, full-bodied flavors black coffee lovers new and old will appreciate. 

Atomic Coffee Roasters Space Cadet Blend (Best for Cold Brew)

Atomic Coffee Roasters
Atomic Coffee Roasters Space Cadet Blend
Our rating:

Extra smooth, extra chocolaty-sweet, and dare we say…extraterrestrial? A splash of ripe cherry juiciness makes this crowd-pleasing cup every bit as delicious hot as it is cold.

BUY IT NOW

Black coffee isn’t just reserved for hot coffee drinkers. It can be enjoyed cold, too, so long as it’s brewed from quality beans. Enter Atomic Coffee Roasters’ Space Cadet blend

This combination of Ethiopian, Honduran, and Nicaraguan beans was originally marketed by the company as the Cold Brew Blend, but it underwent a rename and rebrand to prove the medium roast tasted just as good brewed when brewed hot. These beans give you the best of both worlds — hot and cold — for sure. 

Whether you’re sipping this brew from a glass filled with ice or a steaming mug, you’ll be in awe of this full-bodied blend’s clementine, nougat, and burnt sugar flavors. Plus, the fruity aftertaste will have you longing for another cup before you’ve even finished the first.

Oren’s Daily Roast Two Bridges Blend (Best Light Roast)

Orens Daily Roast
Oren's Daily Roast Two Bridges Blend
Our rating:

Sweet balance found in soft citrus acidity and toffee sweetness. So smooth and poetic, we had to write a haiku.

BUY IT NOW

They say New York is the city that never sleeps, and while there are probably lots of reasons New Yorkers are filled with energy and life, we’re going to attribute their liveliness to Oren’s Daily Roast Two Bridges blend.

Since opening in 1986, Oren’s Daily Roast has set out with the intentions of finding the world’s best coffees, roasting them to perfection, and distributing the beans to coffee fanatics throughout NYC, and, after the invention of online shopping, the world. With a mission like that, you can bet this brew’s going to be good, with or without creamer and sugar. 

Though the Two Bridges blend pays homage to the city in which it was roasted, the company’s lightest roasted beans can be enjoyed anywhere. Whether you’re a native New Yorker or not, you’ll surely enjoy starting your day with the bright blend of citrus, green apple, and honey.

Koffee Kult Colombian Huila (best single-origin)

Our runner up is Coffee Kult’s medium roasted, specialty-grade Colombian Huila coffee. It has a more chocolatey flavor profile, which is great for people who are looking for something a bit richer or bolder for their morning brew.

Coffee Kult uses organically sourced 100% arabica beans and small-batch roasts them, so you know you’re getting the utmost in quality. The brew isn’t bitter, thanks to the medium roast, and the medium acidity helps make it balanced and smooth– another great choice for drinking black.

Pilón Gourmet (Best Dark Roast)

Pilón Gourmet is one of our favorite brews to drink black. Despite being a dark roast, the richness of the flavors isn’t overpowered by the intensity of the roast level. It’s a freshly roasted, Cuban-style whole bean Arabica blend that is usually intended for espresso.

This type of blend and flavor profile is particularly popular in Florida, and the taste is strong and smooth. It’s even a popular choice at Latin restaurants across the US. If you are on the market to go dark with your black coffee, we’re pretty convinced this is the perfect choice for you, especially if you are brewing espressos.

Coffee Bean Direct Nicaraguan (Best Light Roast)

Now, if you are looking for something decidedly on the light side, we recommend checking out Coffee Bean Direct‘s Nicaraguan coffee. This light roasted Strictly High Grown (SHG) coffee showcases the excellent flavor profile that can be achieved with Nicaraguan coffee.

Plus, it skips the high acidity that is characteristic of other Central American coffees, making it a great choice for black coffee. The brew is well balanced with a mild body, light acidity, and excellent aroma. This Nicaraguan coffee is also fair trade and organic certified.

No Fun Jo Decaf (Best Decaf)

If you are caffeine sensitive, fear not. We have an option for you too. Jo Coffee‘s decaf is anything but “No fun.” With sweet blueberry overtones followed by notes of milk chocolate, you can enjoy the complex flavor and full body of this decaf coffee without any help from cream and sugar.

Their decaf is USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Swiss Water Process Certified, and Kosher Certified. It is made with high-quality arabica, so you won’t mind drinking black coffee if this is in your cup. Plus, this is one of the best ground coffee options out there.

Waka Coffee Indian Light Roast (Best Instant)

If you’ve puttered around our site for a bit, chances are you have noticed that Waka has become one of our favorite coffee brands. Surprising as that is considering they only offer instant, we promise they won’t disappoint. Their Indian light roast in particular shocked our tasting team with its excellent taste.

These coffee beans are 100% arabica, and Waka uses a freeze-drying process to preserve their natural flavor. With a low-acidity and rich notes of chocolate and hazelnut, this brew is perfect for people who don’t have time for a fussy coffee experience. Skip the brewing, skip the add-ins, just enjoy drinking black coffee wherever you are.

Benefits of Black Coffee

Just about any time you have heard of a coffee study with seemingly too-good-to-be-true results, the study was likely conducted using black coffee specifically. The added ingredients of non-black coffee could potentially skew results, so participants take their brews black.

Thus, any generalized “coffee benefits” you’ve heard about, apply mostly to black coffee benefits alone. So let’s take a look at some of the perks of this beverage:

Fewer calories

While this one might seem a little obvious, you’d be surprised by how huge a difference this little fact makes. While some of us are pretty conservative with our little additions, many of us are combining syrups with creamers or throwing in some milk and honey together in our brews.

To break it down for you here are some general caloric values of your standard coffee add-ins (per tablespoon):

  • Cream: 52
  • Half-and-half: 20
  • Whole milk: 9
  • Fat-free milk: 5
  • Sugar: 48
  • Honey: 64
  • Flavored syrup: 48
  • Plain nondairy creamer (powder): 33
  • Flavored non-dairy creamer (powder): 45
  • Plain nondairy creamer (liquid): 20
  • Flavored non-dairy creamer (liquid): 35

So even though coffee itself is essentially a zero-calorie beverage, you can pretty easily break 100 calories per cup if you aren’t careful. Plus, if you are drinking more than one loaded-up coffee a day, those numbers start adding up, even if you have a light pour.

Antioxidants and Caffeine

Coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the modern diet, outdoing fruits and vegetables combined and several times over. Without the added sugars and such, the antioxidant-packed black coffee can get to work helping to improve your health.

Several studies have indicated the drinking coffee each day can contribute to improved cardiovascular, liver, and gastrointestinal health.

Additionally, black coffee has been shown to improve your memory and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Also, the anti-inflammatory nature of coffee consumption has been linked to cancer prevention.

Tricks to the Taste

The reason many people are hesitant to switch to black coffee is the fear they won’t be able to enjoy the drink. Seriously, who wants to pretend to delight in a blatantly bitter cup of plain Joe? However, we promise it is, in fact, possible to brew coffee that tastes good without being loaded up with sugar and milk.

Aside from buying the right brand, here are a few tips to help you get the best brew possible:

Go fresh

Fresh roast, fresh grind, fresh brew– Freshness matters, and fresh coffee is the way to go. If you are going to be tasting the unadulterated flavors of your brew, you are going to want those flavors to be spot-on. Look for whole beans that are packaged with a roasting date clearly marked on the bag.

Local roasteries are a fantastic choice if you are having trouble finding a good option online or at your nearest supermarket! For example, a local favorite from my home town is Railway Coffee.

Pick lighter roasts

Industry trends and masculine-centered marketing have convinced many of us that darker roasts are inherently superior. However, a dark roast may pair well with cream and sugar, the truth is you probably aren’t going to enjoy something labeled as a “kick you in the gut and slap you for good measure” type of coffee without any extras to soften the blow.

While it may shock you, dark roasts aren’t the only way to achieve a flavorful coffee. The flavor might be “bold and intense,” if you’re new to the no-frills brew, it is probably going to taste like someone miraculously managed to burn a cup of dirty water.

Alternatively, consider going for a medium or even light roast. Those tasty-sounding flavor notes tend to be more obvious in these brews, and they’ll feel way less abrasive. This will ease your transition into black coffee brewing, and you can venture darker as you see fit (though many people stick to a medium roast).

Experiment with the brew method

While drip coffee is usually the go-to, there are plenty of different brewing methods that you can use to get your favorite version of black coffee.

As a general rule, remember that methods that use finer grinds typically produce stronger coffee, and because there is more surface area for extraction, there is a higher chance of getting bitter coffee.

If you don’t care about the acidity of your lighter roast, a french press is probably the perfect go-to for black coffee. The maintenance of the oils gives it a rich feel while the immersion brewing keeps things from taking a bitter turn. However, for those of you who are concerned about that acidity, try a nice cold brew.

Drip coffee (both machine drippers and pour-overs), are perfect if you are looking for something that will help maintain the more delicate flavors of your coffee. Pour overs especially are perfect for this purpose. But a high-quality drip brewer with a medium grind won’t do a bad job either.

Lastly, you can try an espresso machine or Aeropress. Both of these are pressure-based brewers that use finer grind sizes. This might not be the best method to try first, but if you start dabbling in black coffee and find you want something a bit stronger, try one of these methods.

Tips to avoid

There are a few tips we’ve seen floating around that we want to warn you against: salt and bulletproof coffee.

First, many sites will tell you to add salt to your finished brew to cut the bitterness. In general, we recommend against this method as you either won’t be able to tell the difference or you’ll taste the salt. As we’ve discussed before, you can add salt to the grounds of sub-par beans to achieve the desired effect to some extent.

However, if you plan on drinking your coffee black, you shouldn’t be getting sub-par beans. The salt is not going to add flavor to mediocre brews, it will just take away the burnt or bitter edge of old or overroasted beans.

Next, bulletproof coffee is another popular recommendation for people who have trouble enjoying black coffee, and we have a few bones to pick on that front. First, this brew has added butter and oil, so it isn’t black coffee by any stretch of the imagination.

Second, bulletproof coffee does boast a couple of health benefits of its own that sound similar to those of black coffee, including weight loss, mood boosts, and increased metabolism. However, this brew is more for dieters and active individuals rather than your average joe drinker. It is alarmingly high in saturated fats and has a relatively low nutritional value.

So basically, neither salted coffee nor bulletproof coffee is likely to make a good switch to a high-quality black coffee for most people.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it! If you’re new to the black coffee game, go ahead and try Volcanica’s Kenya AA. You seriously can’t go wrong with that brew. For those of you who know you need something darker, try Pilón’s whole bean Gourmet coffee.

Want to brew on the lighter side? Check out Coffee Bean direct. Decaf and instant people can check out Jo’s Decaf and Waka’a Indian coffee respectively. No matter what your coffee needs are, we have you covered.

Happy Caffeinating!

Share the goods

Recommended Reads

  • Coffee Facts

    Tea vs. Coffee: Which Packs A Bigger Caffeine Punch?

    If you're searching for a quick pick-me-up of caffeine either in the mornings, mid-day drag, or just need an extra boost of energy, we have all the details right here on coffee vs. tea.

  • Buying Guides

    Organic Coffee: A Guide to Buying Better Beans

    There has been a recent push to find ways to ensure that coffee is being produced in a way that people feel they can support. So we're taking a look at organic coffee. From what "organic" really means to what brands with the label we actually think are worth buying, this guide has it all!

  • Coffee Facts

    CBD Oil in Coffee

    Here's our rundown of the best CBD coffees. Get our take on whether the CBD oil in coffee trend is a fad and what the benefits may be.

  • Coffee Facts

    Coffee Makes Me Tired? Why It Happens, Plus Solutions

    Thanks to caffeine, coffee usually helps people feel more awake and alert. But many of us have asked, "If coffee is supposed to keep us up, why is it that oftentimes coffee makes me tired?" That's what we're here to answer. Read on for both the science and solutions to caffeine crashes.

  • Coffee Facts

    Coconut Oil in Coffee: 10 Reasons it Should be in Your Cup

    People seem to be telling you to put coconut oil in everything now, from your food to your hair. But can (and should) you be putting coconut oil in coffee? Actually, yes. This jack of all trades can boost your coffee game too. Read on to find out why and a couple recipes to try it!

  • Coffee Facts

    Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop?

    If you are one of an unlucky 3 in 10, your morning Joe has you wondering "Why does coffee make me poop?" Well, fellow coffee lover, wonder no more. Read on to get the why's of the matter as well as some helpful tips on fixing the issue (without any bath tissue).

Brew like a Barista
from home

The Home Barista Coffee Course 14-lesson video course about brewing consistently amazing coffee at home. Stream or download the entire course to learn how to make coffee as good as your local barista for a fraction of the cost.

Learn more