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Best Coffee To Drink Black and Actually Enjoy!


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Many people fear drinking black joe means sacrificing the pleasure of enjoying what’s in their cup. Fortunately, that’s not the case as long as you brew with high-quality coffee grounds. And you’re in luck, Roasty reader, as we’ve collected and reviewed plenty of options for you to try. Read on to discover the best coffee to drink black; you and your taste buds will thank us later. 

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
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rc2-table__imageRitual Los Crestones
  • Ripe Fruit, Sweet Vanilla, Citrus taste
  • Medium Roast
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rc2-table__imageCOMMON VOICE CANOPY BLEND
  • Spice, Milk Chocolate, Ripe Fruit taste
  • Medium Roast
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Madcap Coffee Finca de Dios BlendMADCAP COFFEE FINCA DE DIOS BLEND
  • Milk Chocolate, Nut, Citrus taste
  • Medium Roast
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Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart 1GREATER GOODS COFFEE CO. KICKSTART
  • Milk Chocolate, Florals, Brown Sugar taste
  • Medium Roast
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Good Citizen Coffee Co. Buckle Down BlendGOOD CITIZEN COFFEE CO. BUCKLE DOWN BLEND
  • Milk Chocolate, Ripe Fruit, Spice taste
  • Medium Roast
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Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Medium Roast Organic Whole Bean Coffee - Holler Mountain 12 Ounce Bag with Flavor Notes of Citrus Zest, Caramel and HazelnutSTUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS HOLLER MOUNTAIN BLEND
  • Medium Roast
  • Organic Whole Bean Coffee
  • Flavor Notes of Citrus Zest, Caramel and Hazelnut
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rc2-table__imageALMA COFFEE ENCHANTED BLEND
  • Strong Notes Of Creamy Dark Chocolate, Molasses, And Toasted Pecans
  • Strong And Bold
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rc2-table__imageCAFFE VITA BISTRO BLEND
  • Smooth Sweetness Of Milk Chocolate And Caramel Supporting A Cashew-Nuttiness
  • Classically Balanced Cup
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Kenya AA Coffee, 100% Pure, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounceVolcanica Kenya AA
  • 100% Pure Kenya AA Coffee Beans
  • Fresh Roasted
  • Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed
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What is considered black coffee?

It may seem pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of controversy over what constitutes the black coffee experience. 

Most people define black coffee as any joe, whether brewed in a standard drip coffee maker or espresso machine, served with no extras. That means no sugar, milk, or creamer. However, some think adding extra ingredients that don’t change the color of the drink — sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, etc. — still qualifies it as black coffee. 

The good folks here at Roasty lean on the side of defining black coffee as java with no additional ingredients, as many who drink it do so specifically to avoid add-ins. They want to make the most of their morning cup’s bold flavor, and that won’t happen if you start mixing in other stuff. 

Why do people drink it? 

Experiencing all of the beans’ natural flavors isn’t the only reason many java enthusiasts reach for a cup of black coffee. 

Just about any time you’ve heard of a coffee study with seemingly too-good-to-be-true results, it was likely conducted using black joe. Coffee add-ins have the potential to skew results, so participants take their brews black. Thus, any generalized java benefits you’ve heard about mostly apply to black coffee alone.

Let’s look at some of the perks of sipping our favorite beverage sans extra ingredients.

It has fewer calories

Though some coffee drinkers are pretty conservative with coffee add-ins, many combine syrups and creamers or stir whole milk and honey into their brews. You’d be surprised how big a difference a few splashes of something extra can make in your morning and afternoon coffees. 

To break it down for you, here are some general caloric values of some of the most common 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 non-dairy creamer (powder): 33
  • Flavored non-dairy creamer (powder): 45
  • Plain non-dairy creamer (liquid): 20
  • Flavored non-dairy creamer (liquid): 35

Though coffee is a nearly zero-calorie beverage, you can easily add 100 calories per cup if you aren’t careful. And if you’re drinking more than one loaded-up cup daily, those numbers start adding up quickly.

It’s high in antioxidants

Coffee is a prominent source of antioxidants in the modern diet, outdoing fruits and vegetables combined several times over. Without the added sugars and such, the antioxidant-packed beverage can work wonders in improving your health.

Several studies have indicated that a daily cup of coffee can contribute to improved cardiovascular, liver, and gastrointestinal health. Additionally, joe has been linked to improving memory and reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

If all those health perks weren’t enough to win you over, maybe this will: a cup of rich-tasting black coffee’s anti-inflammatory nature has also been associated with cancer prevention. 

It’s more budget-friendly

Take a second and think about how much your favorite coffee creamer costs. The three or four dollars per bottle doesn’t seem like much at first, but you might be shocked when you calculate how much you spend annually on coffee add-ins. 

Roasty Ranked: Best Coffees to Drink Black

Now, it’s time to look at some of the best-tasting black coffee brands to try if you’re ready to start your coffee journey to the dark side. Here are some of our picks for the best coffee beans to enjoy black. 

Lifeboost Embolden Dark Roast Coffee 

Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
Our rating:

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.

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Let Lifeboost dark roast coffee beans be your guide into the world of black coffee. We are continuously impressed with the savory, robust flavors this brand brings in every roast, not to mention the impressive health benefits Lifeboost beans provide.

Every bean Lifeboost sells is grown without pesticides or other harmful chemicals and is tested to remove any overlooked mycotoxins, heavy metals, unwanted chemicals, or other toxins. 

The Embolden roast is a Lifeboost Coffee classic. The robust single-origin coffee comes from small-scale coffee farmers who cultivate it along the shady mountainsides of Nicaragua. Once harvested, the beans are sun-dried and washed in pure spring water to highlight their sweet, fruity flavors and give you one of the most delicious cups imaginable.

Ritual Los Crestones

Ritual Los Crestones
Ritual Los Crestones
Our rating:

Distinct caramel apple sweetness reminds us of our all-time favorite fall snack, complemented by a touch of juicy lime acidity.

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Believe it or not, not everyone wants their cups of coffee packed with sweet notes of chocolate or intense nuttiness. Some black coffee drinkers prefer their joe to be crisp and tart, like Ritual’s Los Crestones medium roast. These beans, harvested and roasted in small batches, boast hints of lime plus a bit of caramel and sugarcane for sweetness. 

Though you’ll find Ritual in San Francisco, the beans for the Los Crestones coffee come from Costa Rica. Families of the Los Crestones Micromill have sold their joe to Ritual for over a decade. The result of this union is a clean, delicious coffee that doesn’t need help from sugar and cream. 

Common Voice Canopy Blend

Common Voice Canopy Blend
Common Voice Canopy Blend
Our rating:
A deep black cherry sweetness peeks through this coffee’s pronounced dark chocolate and cinnamon notes.
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Common Voice Coffee Co. does more than produce batch after batch of delicious, well-roasted coffee beans that don’t need any add-ins. The Nashville-based brand operates according to a five-percent giveback policy, meaning that Common Voice pays an additional five percent above the cost of green coffee beans. These extra dollars support the land and the coffee bean farmers that tend to it. 

Some of these green coffee beans are purchased from Latin America and are used to create the Canopy blend. This medium roast boasts a smoky and smooth flavor profile with notes of caramel, dark chocolate, and spicy-sweet cinnamon. 

Madcap Coffee Finca de Dios Blend

Madcap Coffee Finca de Dios Blend
Madcap Coffee Finca de Dios Blend
Our rating:

This single origin provides a rich and fudgy body with sweetness reminiscent of toasted nuts and hints of lemon dancing in the background.

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Madcap Coffee has had the pleasure of partnering with Ellen, Stuart, and Ashley Prentice and their farm, Finca de Dios, since 2009. A partnership lasting over a decade is significant in any industry, not just the coffee world, so let that longevity and consistency be your sign that Madcap’s Finca de Dios beans are worth giving a shot. 

These Guatemalan beans are particularly satisfying to java drinkers with a bit of a sweet tooth, as the rich-bodied brew has noticeable notes of amaretto, chocolate, and cola. 

Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart 

Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart 
Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart 
Our rating:
Dark chocolate and brown sugar sweetness are front and center in this easy-drinking coffee, with a surprising (and delightful) note of rose throughout.
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We don’t know about you, but if we’re sipping a shot of espresso, it has to have an intense flavor. That’s why companies like Greater Goods Coffee Co. work so hard to concoct bean blends that can deliver just that. Enter the Austin, Texas-based brand’s Kickstart blend. 

Its full-bodied flavor, complete with notes of dark chocolate and brown sugar, not only pulls a satisfying shot but brews beautifully in an automatic dripper, French press, or pour-over (provided you use your burr grinder to cut them down to the correct size, anyway).

Each time you purchase a bag of this Nicaraguan, Colombian, and Brazilian blend, a portion of the sale goes to a local nonprofit. These beans not only taste good, but they do good, too. 

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Buckle Down Blend

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Buckle Down Blend
Good Citizen Coffee Co. Buckle Down Blend
Our rating:
Our motto for this year: buckle down and power through. This cup’s chocolaty sweetness, hints of cherry, and pleasant notes of cedar make it easy to do just that.
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On those days when you need a little extra focus, brew yourself a cup of Good Citizen Coffee Co.’s Buckle Down joe. Who knows? It just might become your favorite coffee to drink black. 

The notes of chocolate, cherry, and cedar make for easy sipping, which is exciting news for the coffee addict who’s just venturing into the world of enjoying joe free of add-ins. The medium-roasted Latin American beans make a pretty smooth batch of joe that doesn’t need any help from milk, creamer, or sugar to push you through the day. 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain Blend

Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Holler Mountain blend’s versatility landed its spot on this coffee buying guide. Whether you prefer sipping a recently pulled shot or a mug of regular drip in the morning, a bag of these beans belongs on your coffee bar — so long as you have a burr grinder nearby to cut them down to the correct grind size for your brewing method of choice. 

The beans that produce this full-bodied brew come from East Africa and Central and South America. Citrus, caramel, and berry jam notes swirl around each cup of this 100 percent arabica coffee, making it the perfect pick for anyone searching for a slightly sweet drink with a creamy texture. 

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.

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If you think taking a long, slow sip of a darker roast brew in the morning is nothing short of magical, chances are Alma Coffee’s Enchanted blend will enchant you. This java is bold, and the best part about drinking it is that it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth after you’ve finished your cup.

It’s a great idea to enjoy this coffee black so you can experience all its yummy sweet molasses, toasted pecan, and dark chocolate notes. The Honduran beans taste so good that there’s no reason to add milk, sugar, or creamer.

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.

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Are you itching to take a trip you don’t even need to pack for? Caffe Vita’s Bistro blend takes you to the beans’ origins — South America, Indonesia, and East Africa — in a single sip. Cool, right?

Even cooler is that these medium roast coffee beans create an approachable brew with a balanced flavor 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 plain ol’ joe for years, as you sip a cup of this coffee, note — and savor! — hints of chocolate, almond, and caramel. The sweet nuttiness will keep you pouring cup after cup. 

Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA

Like several other African bean varieties, Kenyan coffee is known for producing vibrant, flavorful brews. Therefore, its origin makes this particular Volcanica Coffee product one of the best coffees to drink black. If you’re new to unaltered brew, this batch of beans is a great place to start, and honestly, you might never leave. 

Volcanica’s Kenya AA coffee is a medium roast with a crisp, sweet flavor complete with berry and citrus overtones and a savory, winy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is so light and smooth that you won’t need to rely on added milk for a pleasant sip. 

Huckleberry Roasters Bom Senso Blend

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.

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We firmly believe everyone needs high-quality, bold beans on standby for those days when you need a little extra oomph to get up and at ’em. Load a few scoops 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 can wake you and your taste buds right up. 

The flavors of sweet chocolate, almonds, and caramel dance around in every cup of this coffee (which comes from Latin America, by the way) and make it pleasant enough to enjoy alone. There’s no stereotypical bitter black coffee taste here — only a rich, full-bodied flavor that black coffee lovers old and new can appreciate.

Atomic Coffee Roasters Space Cadet Blend 

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.

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You don’t have to limit your black coffee consumption to hot beverages; it’s great cold, too, so long as you use quality beans like Atomic Coffee Roasters’ Space Cadet blend to brew it.

Coffee beans fresh from Ethiopia, Honduras, and Nicaragua combine to make what Atomic Coffee Roasters once marketed as the Cold Brew Blend. After a rename and rebrand, the medium roast proved it tastes just as good hot; these beans give you the best of both worlds. 

Whether you’re sipping this joe from a glass filled with ice or a steaming mug, you won’t miss this full-bodied, complex blend’s clementine, nougat, and burnt sugar flavors. Plus, its fruity aftertaste will have you longing for another cup before finishing the first.

Oren’s City Blend

Oren's City Blend
Oren's City Blend
Our rating:

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

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They say New York is the city that never sleeps. That’s probably because it’s home to so many coffee shops and roasteries, including Oren’s. Since opening in 1986, this coffee supplier has attempted to find the world’s best coffees, roast them to perfection, and distribute them to coffee fanatics throughout NYC and — after the invention of online shopping — the rest of the world.

The City Blend pays homage to the city in which it is roasted. However, these light roast coffee beans can be enjoyed anywhere. Native New Yorker or not, we think you’ll enjoy starting your day with the bright blend of citrus, green apple, and honey. 

Koffee Kult Colombian Huila 

Next up is Koffee Kult’s specialty-grade Colombian Huila coffee. The medium roast has a chocolatey flavor profile, which is great for people who want to start their day with a cup full of rich flavor and without the bitter finish normally associated with black coffee. 

Koffee Kult small-batch roasts organic 100 percent arabica beans for its products, so you know you’re only getting the highest quality brews. The resulting beverage lacks the bitter taste of some black coffees, plus the medium acidity keeps things balanced and smooth — all the more reason to enjoy these beans black.

No Fun Jo Decaf

If you’re sensitive to drinks with a high caffeine content, fear not; there’s something here 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. 

Jo’s decaf coffee —  one of the best ground coffee options out there, mind you — is USDA-certified organic, Fair Trade, Swiss Water Processed, and kosher. Plus, they’re all high-quality arabica beans. With perks like these, you probably won’t mind drinking black coffee if these beans were used to brew it. 

Tricks to the Taste

Many people are hesitant to switch to black coffee because they fear they won’t be able to enjoy the drink. We understand — seriously, who wants to pretend to delight in a blatantly bitter cup of joe? But we promise it’s possible to brew coffee that tastes good without being loaded with sugar and milk.

Of course, you have to buy the right brand of beans, but aside from that, use the following tips to get the best brew possible:

Keep it fresh

Fresh roast, fresh grind, fresh brew — freshness matters! If you’re going to drink black coffee, you don’t want to settle for the weak flavor that stale, low-quality, and pre-ground coffee beans give. Instead, look for packages of whole beans with a roast date clearly marked on the coffee bag.

It’s a fantastic idea to check local roasteries if you’re having trouble finding worthwhile beans online or at the supermarket. This joe might be a bit more expensive than the bag of ready-to-brew stuff you’d buy from Walmart, but if drinking the best-tasting coffee possible is a high priority, shelling out a few extra dollars now is worth it for the flavor explosion you’ll experience later. 

Pick lighter roasts.

Industry trends and masculine-centered marketing campaigns have convinced many of us that a dark roast blend is superior to its lighter counterparts. However, the truth is that you might not enjoy something labeled as a “kick you in the gut and slap you for good measure” type of coffee without any add-ins to soften the blow. If you’re new to sipping a no-frills brew, a dark roast, though labeled “bold and intense,” will probably taste like someone miraculously managed to burn a cup of dirty water. 

It might be wise to pick a medium or even light roast if you plan to enjoy black java. All those tasty-sounding flavor notes tend to be more evident in those beans, and they’ll feel way less abrasive, easing your transition into black coffee brewing. As you get used to joe, feel free to venture darker as you see fit. 

Experiment with different brewing methods. 

While a drip coffee maker is usually the go-to brewer, other methods can produce rich-tasting black coffee. 

Generally, any brewing method that requires finely ground beans typically produces the strongest-tasting coffee. Because there is more surface area for java extraction, though, there is a higher chance of ending up with a bitter beverage.

Pressure-based brewers like the espresso machine or AeroPress use fine-ground coffee. These may not be the best methods to try right off the bat; wait until you’ve been dabbling in black coffee for a while and are ready to graduate to something bolder. 

In our opinion, a French press is a perfect choice for brewing black coffee. It keeps the coffee beans’ oils intact, giving the resulting joe a rich feel, while the immersion brewing keeps things from taking a bitter turn.

Those who need a drink with a low acidity level should try the cold-brewing method instead; you still get to experience your beans’ flavors fully without suffering the consequences of sipping something with a high acid profile. 

Drip coffee is perfect if you want to maintain your beans’ more delicate flavors. Though pour-over drippers are especially great for this, a high-quality drip machine won’t do a bad job, either.

Things to Avoid

There are a couple of coffee trends floating around that we should warn you about: salt and Bulletproof coffee

Many people claim that adding salt to your finished brew can eliminate any bitter flavor, but we can’t in good conscience recommend trying that. You either won’t be able to taste a difference, or you’ll end up sipping a mouthful of unpleasant, salty joe.

Adding salt to subpar coffee grounds before brewing them can make the resulting drink taste better. The seasoning won’t add flavor to mediocre-tasting coffee, but it will eliminate old or over-roasted beans’ burnt or bitter edge.

You shouldn’t need to add salt to your grounds before brewing, though, because a black coffee drinker shouldn’t be buying subpar beans in the first place. 

Bulletproof coffee is another popular recommendation for those who have trouble enjoying black coffee, but we have a few bones to pick with this coffee trend. 

First of all, this coffee has added butter and oil, so it isn’t black at all. And though the stuff boasts a few health benefits similar to black coffee (like weight loss, mood boosts, and increased metabolism), it’s intended to be consumed by dieters and active individuals, not the average joe drinker. Besides, it’s alarmingly high in saturated fats and has a relatively low nutritional value. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the best brewing methods for making black coffee? 

If convenience is your highest priority, look no further than the automatic drip machine. You probably already have one of these bad boys on your kitchen counter, and since they do all the hard work for you, we think they’re the simplest means of producing decent black coffee. 

Those who don’t mind a more hands-on brewing process should pull out a pour-over dripper and a batch of high-quality freshly ground beans. Pour-overs are notorious for creating a clean, smooth cup filled with delicious coffee flavors. 

Is black coffee good for weight loss? 

Black coffee isn’t some magical super drink that will make the pounds melt off, but drinking cups of the stuff with no additives can help you on your weight loss journey. 

Black coffee is not only low in calories, but it also has chlorogenic acid, which helps slow down your body’s glucose production. The caffeine from coffee can also help stimulate your metabolic activity and increase your energy levels, suppressing your hunger and helping you on your quest to lose weight.

Pro-tip: the metabolic boost from black coffee can help you take your workouts to the next level, so if you’re serious about getting healthier, consider drinking your cup of joe right before you head to the gym.

How can I start to like black coffee? 

The best way to move from drinking coffee with sugar and cream to sipping plain old joe is to do it gradually. Determine how much of your preferred add-in you pour into your cup, then add half that much the next time you prepare your morning beverage.

It might taste strange at first but stick with it. Once you’ve gotten used to your half-loaded coffee, repeat this process. Keep doing it until there’s nothing but freshly brewed java in your mug. 

If you’re still not a black coffee drinker after gradually reducing the amount of milk, creamer, or sugar you use, it may be time to switch brew methods or try a batch of beans with a different flavor profile. 

Wrapping Up

So, there you have it — a bit of insight into the world of black coffee and a few product recommendations to get you started. No matter your taste preferences, we’re sure there’s something you’ll love brewing. 

Happy Caffeinating!

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