I come from a family of coffee drinkers. I grew up watching my parents drinking coffee, and I have countless memories of seeing an empty coffee cup in the kitchen sink – I could just see the remnants of some coffee grounds that made it past the filter, settled at the bottom of the cup.
My parents never put sugar in their coffee – which is actually an important step towards getting used to and enjoying black coffee.
As a kid, I really enjoyed drinking cold coffee – it was my morning drink of choice. Cold coffee is quite ubiquitous, and all families have their own way of making. My cold coffee as a kid was, of course, with enough sugar that I could no longer taste the bitter coffee!
Once I got a little older, and a little more serious about my health and working out, I realized that sugar was a huge and unnecessary burst of calories I was getting through coffee – by this time, I had transitioned to hot coffee – so I completely cut sugar out of the equation, and neutralized the extreme bitterness of coffee with a dash of milk or creamer.
However, using milk or creamer(I’m a sucker for French Vanilla) does really take away from the flavor of coffee – you end up neutralizing quite a lot of the aromas and essences. What you actually taste is the familiar milk or vanilla, mixed with a hint of coffee!
Why drink black coffee, anyway?
Black coffee is, well, pure coffee. It’s free of all additives – no milk, no cream, and of course, no sugar or sweetener. It’s the way coffee was meant to be enjoyed, and in fact, when the Arabs first cultivated and began drinking coffee, they never added milk or sugar!
Turkish coffee, a close relative of the original Arabic coffee, is quite similar, and if you’ve found yourself in a Turkish restaurant(or better yet, in Turkey), you may have had a taste.
The Yemenis(some really excellent coffee grows there, in fact, Arabica coffee originates from Yemen and Ethiopia) prepare a drink called qahwa, which is incredibly rich in flavor.
Another type of black coffee that’s really catching on is cold brew coffee.
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At this point, you may not be completely convinced – perhaps you enjoy your sugary or creamy coffee – and that’s up to you.
Black coffee has many benefits, and once you develop a taste for it, you may find you enjoy it even more than what you currently drink.
- For starters, black coffee has nearly 0 calories
- You’ll avoid the fat and sugars found in milk
- You’ll learn to develop a new taste
- You’ll learn to pick up the subtle flavor notes found in different coffees
- You’ll never have to worry about being out of cream or sugar to enjoy coffee again
- You’ll be able to enjoy stronger coffees like espresso and qahwa
- You’ll evolve into a coffee connoisseur
- You’ll be able to look really badass!
How to drink and enjoy black coffee
If you have not gotten as far as completely eliminating sugar from your coffee(Starbucks and other chain lattes are notoriously high in calories and sugar), the first step you can take to embark on your journey towards enjoying black coffee is eliminating sugar from your current coffee drink.
- Eliminate sugar
Eliminating sugar may not sound like the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s an essential first step. Unless you start cutting back on sugar, you won’t be really tasting the coffee for what it is, you’re just drinking a milky, sugary drink colored brown by coffee grounds!
Ideally, you want to cut sugar right away, so from your next drink, just stop adding sugar – continue adding cream and milk if you need to, though. You can also try adding other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
If you added spoons and spoons of sugar, then start gradually, and add less and less sugar until you start appreciating the actual taste of coffee – even though it may be slightly neutralized with milk or cream.
- Eliminate cream and milk
Once you’ve eliminated sugar, cut off the cream and/or milk, too. You can do this gradually, too, just like you did with the sugar. Just begin adding less and less milk – and your coffee will start getting darker and darker, until you’ve developed a taste for and become used to pure coffee.
- Optional: Drink cold brew
If you just can’t tolerate the bitterness of black coffee, but you enjoy cold coffee, try drinking a cold brew, which is much less bitter than hot coffee. Cold brewing takes more time and more coffee, but the result is quite a pleasant drink! Jamie Oliver has a really nice cold brew recipe you can follow, just don’t go through with the last step of adding cream!
- Experiment with different blends and roasts(find best tasting coffee to drink black)
If you are using grocery store coffee, STOP! Forget low quality coffees, and pick up some exotic coffee from your favorite local roastery. Depending on how coffee beans are roasted and ground, the flavors will vary greatly. Where the coffee is from also plays a huge role in the flavor notes.
When you drink the coffee, don’t down it and be on with it – enjoy every sip and try to take note of the different flavors and aromas you experience.
Try different kinds of coffees to see which one you enjoy most – some black coffees are very fruity, others are chocolatey, others are nutty. Most coffees have a flavor profile on the package or in the description, so just match the flavor profile to what you already like(chocolate, strawberries, nuts, lemon, etc) and try that coffee. Bean Box, for example, has a nice sampler that contains 16 different varieties of coffee.
- Brew your coffee perfectly
No matter how you brew your coffee – whether you used a drip machine, an espresso machine, or a french press, do it perfectly! Get the exact measurement for the exact amount of water, and get the water to the ideal temperature, too – using boiling water “burns” the coffee and ruins the flavors. The ideal temperature is between 91 to 96 degrees C – the closer you get to 96, the better. Check out this post for a detailed rundown and how-to on brewing methods.
- Drink lighter roasts
Some varieties of coffee are much lighter – and less bitter – than others, so if you want to cut the sugar and calories, want to enjoy black coffee, but can’t tolerate too much bitterness, check out light roasts.
- Grind your coffee at home
The moment you grind your coffee, it slowly begins to lose its flavors – and the longer coffee stays ground before brewing, the more its flavor notes will be messed up. To get the most original taste of coffee, you need to get coffee beans and grind them at home!
Best coffee for drinking black
To start out with drinking straight black coffee, I’d recommend going for medium or light roasts. These coffees won’t be excessively strong and you’ll be able to enjoy and taste the flavor notes.
Here are some really nice medium and light roasts that you can try:
1. Peet’s Big Bang
The Big Bang blend from Peet’s is a 50th anniversary edition. It has fruity, tropical flavor notes that you’ll be able to taste best if brewed using a french press or an Aeropress. It’s made with a mix of East African and Latin American beans. This coffee is available pre-ground, so you can brew it right away, though I suggest using it up quickly as grounds don’t retain flavor for as long as beans do!
- BIG BANG: A brilliant blend created to celebrate Alfred Peet and our 50th anniversary, featuring the exotic fruitiness of Ethiopian Super Natural. Flavor notes: Vibrant blast of tropical fruit in a smooth, medium style
- OBSESSED WITH FRESH: From the beginning, Peet's Coffee has roasted the best coffee beans we can find with quality in mind. We also care for the communities that grow & harvest those beans, because coffee is better when it is grown & sourced responsibility
- BREW LIKE THE BEST: Brewing the best cup of coffee starts with finding your favorite roast or blend. Whole beans or ground coffee, dark, medium or light, single origin or a blend? Try a variety & find the best brew for the morning mug or afternoon pickup
- LIGHT, MEDIUM & DARK ROAST: Brew a pot of Peet's ground or whole bean coffee in a blend & roast perfect for your tastes. Light roast coffees are mild & smooth, medium roast coffees are smooth & aromatic, while dark roast coffees are smoky & full bodied
2. Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend
Caribou Coffee is another dedicated roaster that sources and roasts really good coffees. The Caribou blend is made with Indonesian beans, mixed with Central and South American beans as well. The result is a slightly acidic, fruity cup of coffee with a hint of cocoa. You’ll be able to experience these flavors at different points during your sip. Initially, you’ll feel the acid, and as the coffee sits in your mouth for a short time, you’ll pick up the cocoa and fruitiness too.
- BLENDS FOR ALL TASTE: Start the morning with our light breakfast blend, Daybreak, with a sweet caramel & nut finish. Take a break with flavorful Vanilla Hazelnut Dreamstate or Chocolate Wonder. Make the final mug of the day in our Caribou Blend in Decaf
- COFFEE BREWS COMMUNITY: Drinking coffee is social: buying sustainably sourced coffee beans, brewing a pot for breakfast, dunking cookies with friends in cafes. Caribou Coffee roasts a variety of blends, from flavored coffee to classics like French Roast
- BREW YOUR BEST: Brewing the best cup of coffee for your household starts with finding your favorite roast, blend or flavor. Whole beans or ground coffee, dark, medium or light, single origin or a blend? Try a variety & find the best brew for the morning
- RAINFOREST ALLIANCE CERTIFIED: Caribou Coffee works hard to roast the best quality coffee, sourcing coffee beans ethically & sustainably. Every Caribou Coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified, so each cup of coffee is a thoughtful choice. Sip responsibly
3. Kicking Horse Coffee Three Sisters
Another combination of Indonesian and South/Central American beans, Three Sisters is a great medium roast coffee from Kicking Horse. This blend smells absolutely amazing: just open the bag and you’ll get a whiff of dried fruit, coconut, and malted chocolate.
As you grind the beans, you’ll get an even more intense burst of aroma and flavor. It’s awesome! You can enjoy this coffee as a cold brew, too.
- MEDIUM ROAST, WHOLE BEAN: Smooth, savory, seductive. The Three Sisters are a trio of towering Canadian Rocky Mountains. Pay homage to these powerful peaks
- Tasting notes, brew method: Well rounded and complex with notes of sweet tobacco, stone fruit and cocoa. Recommended methods: French press, 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 % certified.
- Roasted in the Rocky Mountains: it’s all deep, dark and delicious, roasted right below the towering Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks.
4. Coffee Bros. Light Roast
Made from 100% Arabica coffee, the Coffee Bros Light Roast is a punchy, lively coffee that tastes like honey, citrus, and flowers. The coffee cup(made from Ethiopian and Colombian beans) is silky smooth and tastes really vibrant.
Because this is a lighter roast, you’ll be able to see that the beans are indeed a much lighter shade than their counterparts, and these beans will have even less of the intensity and bitterness you’re used to experiencing with medium or dark coffee. If the bitterness is not your friend, give the light roast a try.
- OUR COMPANY: A company of 2 strong and launched in May 2019 by brothers Nick and Dan Hunnewell. Their mission, bringing better coffee to Amazon while giving back to coffee growing regions.
- CRISP AND BRIGHT: This is an extremely sweet and delicate coffee. We’ve found that this roast makes an incredible espresso, as well as a beautiful, bright drip coffee.
- ARABICA COFFEE: Our blends are made from 100% Arabica coffee beans. Arabica Coffee has twice the flavor and a better aroma than its counterpart.
- FLAVOR FIRST: We source all our coffee to achieve specific taste notes. Our Light Roast Coffee Beans tastes of Honey, Citrus Fruit, and Floral with a crisp and silky body, a perfect Breakfast Blend.
- FRESHNESS: To help lock in freshness, we pack all our light roast coffee immediately after roasting and remove all oxygen from the bags. We send Amazon small batches each week, so they have the freshest coffee in their warehouse. Our whole bean coffee will maintain its optimal freshness for 1-3 months past roast date. If you receive anything beyond that, please email us and we’ll make any correction. (email@example.com).
5. Real Good Coffee Co Donut Shop
One of the most classical pairings of coffees is with donuts, and the Donut Shop blend from Real Good Coffee Co helps bring that feeling back – without the extra calories from donuts, of course!
This coffee tastes like brown sugar and hazelnut, and goes great as a morning cup – or any time during the day, for that matter. You never really need a time to go to a donut shop, right?
- Medium Roast Coffee: Our Donut Shop whole bean coffee has a classic sweet and smooth flavor, perfect as your morning coffee, and for drinking all day long
- Sustainable Medium Roast Coffee Beans: Our coffee is made with premium quality Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America. They are grown, sourced and packaged responsibly, after being roasted fresh in Seattle, USA
- Tasting Notes: Our Donut Shop coffee features the flavors of brown sugar and hazelnut, with a hint of plum for a little sweetness
- Works With All Coffee Brewers: Our medium roast whole bean coffee is suitable for any good coffee machine: drip machines, espresso maker, French press, Aeropress, pour over and moka pot
- Real Good Coffee Co: With over 30 years’ experience of coffee sourcing and craft roasting in Seattle, we make coffee, real good coffee, it’s that simple
How to drink black coffee without sugar
Of course, you might just not be able to palate the bitterness of black coffee, and you’ll have to flavor it somehow. Here are some healthy ways to make black coffee taste better:
- Honey: Honey is the best natural sweetener and mixing a few drops of honey into your coffee will sweeten it up and give it a nice added aroma.
- Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are not the pinnacle of healthy, but they’re certainly an alternative to sugar if you must have sweet coffee
Coffee is one of the most enjoyable drinks in the world, and I wake up every morning looking forward to enjoying a cup of coffee brewed in my french press. It really makes my day. Ever since trying and switching to black coffee, I’ve been able to enjoy coffee more – and my taste buds are experiencing sensations I never knew existed!
Last update on 2020-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API