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Coffee drinkers typically fall into two groups. You have some that enjoy nothing more than a rich, creamy coffee loaded with syrups and toppings, and you have those on the other side of the fence who savor the taste of pure black coffee.
If you fall into the group that loves a fully loaded coffee, I suggest you take a quick look at this post, where I have handpicked some of my favorite coffee syrups.
But for the rest of you who prefer your coffee black, stick around. I fall into this group, and in this article, I have selected some of my personal favorite best tasting black coffee that I can’t get enough of – this is some of the smoothest coffee to drink black that I have found.
Benefits Of Drinking Coffee Black
Drinking black coffee not only tastes great but by ditching those syrups and toppings you can enjoy some health benefits too. Black coffee has almost zero calories and boasts numerous benefits for your health.
The list of benefits for your health is extensive. Black coffee can help with weight loss, boost your mood, raise your energy levels, and even protect against conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and chronic liver disease.
And let’s not forget that you’ll save a good chunk of change by drinking your coffee black and in its purest form. Remember, those additional toppings and syrups can increase the price of your coffee considerably.
And finally, you get to enjoy the natural flavors of the coffee. Each origin and roast profile has its own distinct flavor profile and mouthfeel. Drinking black coffee allows you to enjoy the bean’s origin; it’s not masked by other artificial flavors.
Best Black Coffee: Chosen By Bean Ground
If you’re ready to cross over to the dark side, or for those who already have, below I’ve picked out some of the best-tasting coffee to drink black.
Most of these coffee bean brands have a range of different roast profiles, but I have chosen a roast profile from each that tastes amazing when brewed black on its own.
Volcanica – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is the best coffee to drink black for beginners and is one of my favorites. Yirgacheffe is a popular coffee region in southern Ethiopia known for its distinctively bright, floral, and fruity beans. Volcanica’s Yirgacheffe is no different.
What I like about the Volcanica company as a whole is the speed at which they roast and ship their orders; they are faster at shipping out than most of their competitors.
This particular Ethiopian coffee bean has been sourced from the wild and harvested from indigenous Ethiopian coffee trees; as far as authenticity goes, this stuff is the real deal.
Yirgacheffe coffee is known for its fruity and floral notes, and Volcanica’s Yirgacheffe definitely ticks those boxes. With this medium roast, you can also look forward to palatable subtle notes of pineapple, strawberry, guava, and dark chocolate.
PT’s Coffee – Flatlander Signature Blend
The name Flatlander is a friendly tribute to the sweep and drama of the Great Plains surrounding PT’s home city Topeka, Kansas.
PT’s coffee is a great-tasting coffee that you can enjoy black. It’s sweet and smooth with a bittersweet aroma that is balanced with a nutty finish.
You can expect flavors of caramel and a slight tangerine bitterness which should be easy to identify even as a beginner drinking black coffee for the first time.
This medium-roast blend will please everyone and is perfect for drinking all day long.
Fun Trivia: This coffee roaster’s co-founder helped create the United States Barista Competition in 1999.
Lifeboost – Medium Roast Coffee
Lifeboost coffee single origin medium roast is a good “all-rounder” arabica that smells and tastes fantastic. The coffee beans are carefully grown on a small scale in the mountain shade and processed without pesticides or chemicals in the mountains of Nicaragua.
Once harvested, the beans are sun-dried and washed in pure spring water, which aids in highlighting their sweet, fruity flavors and giving you one of the most delicious cups imaginable and definitely a coffee to be savored black.
Lifeboost coffee is serious about delivering you the cleanest coffee possible. Each batch is tested to remove any mycotoxins, heavy metals, unwanted chemicals, or other toxins.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Holler Mountain Blend
Another good black coffee to make the list is this offering from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The Holler Mountain blend is Stumptown’s signature coffee that has been in their roasting lineup since the very beginning.
This medium-roasted unique blend is a well-rounded mix of organic coffee from Central and South America, East Africa, and Indonesia. This blend’s creamy smoothness makes it an excellent option for drinking black.
Along with the noticeable smoothness, you can easily identify bursts of citrus and sweet berry notes with subtle hints of chocolate, hazelnut, and caramel.
A full-bodied blend that is suited for most brewing methods, but I find a medium grind in my Kalita Wave works exceptionally well.
Highwire Coffee Roasters – Palestina, Colombia
Could this be the best coffee to drink black? I think so. This single-origin coffee is named after the small community, where it is grown and roasted to perfection by Highwire Coffee Roasters.
The time-intensive harvesting and processing see’s the coffee de-pulped and then left to ferment for up to 24 hours. Once fermented, any residual mucilage is rinsed from the seeds, and the coffee is then carefully spread out on a raised bed under a parabolic cover to dry.
Highwire Coffee Roasters, then roast the coffee in small batches. They have skillfully captured the sweetness and highlighted the slightly tart acidity.
If you are drinking this coffee black, you will easily be able to identify a sugar cane sweetness with hints of pear. The cup finishes super clean with a deep, resounding body.
Intelligentsia Coffee – Black Cat Espresso
This multi-region coffee is Intelligentsia’s flagship espresso blend containing washed and naturally processed coffees.
This blend is part of their Black Cat Project, which is constantly evolving to bring the best coffee experience possible to the consumer.
With this carefully selected coffee, you will get a clean cup with a sweet and complex profile with notes of caramel and citrus. When used in an espresso machine, you are almost guaranteed, with each pull, a syrupy sweet espresso.
Methodical – Late Night
Another blend that is perfect for drinking black is the Late Night by Methodical Roasters out of Greenville, SC.
It comprises equal parts Costa Rica, La Pastora, and Brazil, Dulce Signature, together they make a rich, bold, and creamy cup of coffee.
This tasty coffee yields a rich, smooth cup without the bitterness often associated with dark roasted coffee. If you’re drinking this coffee black, you can expect notes of smokey roasted walnuts and hints of clove and dark chocolate.
Olde Brooklyn Coffee – Classic Black Coffee
My final pick for you black coffee drinkers is the classic dark roast coffee from a New york roaster Olde Brooklyn Coffee.
One of the great things about this roaster is they only roast small batches weekly each week for higher quality control, so you can bet that the bag that reaches you is the freshest it can be.
All of their signature coffee bean blends use premium-sourced beans from Columbia, Brazil, and Guatemala.
With this particular black coffee blend, you can expect a smooth flavor with a slight smokiness. There is no bitterness or acidity, making it a good option to drink black. This dark roast also works exceptionally well in cold brew or iced coffee.
For the price of a 5lb bag of dark roast coffee, you can’t really beat it, especially when you factor in the weekly small batch roasting for almost guaranteed freshness and prompt delivery.
What Is Considered Black Coffee?
For many, this question might seem pretty obvious. Still, there is a bit of confusion over what constitutes a real black coffee experience.
Many people, myself included, define black coffee as a beverage brewed in any coffee maker – French press, espresso machine, AeroPress, etc. – served “as is” with no milk, creamer, sugar, or any extras.
But some still call coffee black if they add extra ingredients that don’t change the drink’s color. So with that logic adding sugar, cocoa powder, syrups, etc., still qualifies the drink as black coffee.
The jury is still out. But in my opinion, black coffee should have no additional ingredients, and most people who enjoy drinking their coffee pure do so for that exact reason.
Drinking coffee black allows you to really taste the characteristics of the coffee.
As soon as you start to add sugar or especially cream, the flavor profile of the coffee is substantially masked.
It’s similar to pouring ketchup on a nice freshly cooked premium steak. Sure it will have the steak flavor, but you aren’t getting the full experience.
What Coffee Beans Make The Best Black Coffee
Most good quality whole bean coffees can be enjoyed black. As long as the coffee beans have been freshly roasted (ideally within a month) and have been ground just before you brew, your coffee will taste great.
Avoid preground coffee and definitely keep away from instant coffee – if you’ve ever tried that stuff black, you’ll know what I mean. Yuk!
But depending on your personal preference, you may enjoy a particular coffee over another. If you prefer a more fruity black coffee, try sourcing natural processed coffee from Ethiopia.
If low acidity is your preference, try getting your hands on washed processed coffee from Columbia.
The great thing about the vast world of coffee is that there is so much variation. Some of us enjoy a bitter earthy black coffee while others sway more toward a mild fruity brew.
All I can say when it comes to choosing the best coffee beans for black coffee is to experiment. Try to find a specialty coffee roaster in your area and start by sampling their different blends and single-origins until you find one you enjoy.
How To Brew The Smoothest Black Coffee?
There is no right or wrong way to brew black coffee; as with most things, it comes down to personal taste.
I wouldn’t get too stuck up on the coffee maker, and I would instead focus your energy on the coffee grind, the quality of the water, and your coffee brewing ratios.
These will have a more significant impact on the smoothness of your black coffee.
But I will say that some coffee makers will give you more control over the brewing process. If you want to take control of your coffee, I would avoid using a regular auto-drip coffee maker.
They give you almost no control over the brewing variables, and you are at the whim of the preprogrammed circuitry and the installed water spray head.
Personally, I would suggest using a manual pour-over coffee brewer such as a Hario V60 or a Kalita Wave for complete control. Even an AeroPress will let you fine-tune the brewing variables for the smoothest black coffee.
A French press can brew a good-tasting black coffee, but often I find that the final brew can be a bit gritty with a heavy mouthfeel; it’s not the best way to enjoy black coffee.
But if your budget allows, invest in a good espresso machine for the best black coffee experience. You’ll be able to produce some incredible tasting espresso which can be enjoyed on its own or as a base for almost any coffee drink.
So there you have it folks, my favorite selection of coffee to drink black. Although these are my go-to’s, there is no “best” black coffee. Remember, everyone’s palates are going to be different.
A coffee one person finds the best tasting when drunk black another may find to be too bitter.
Experient and use my selection of coffees as a foundation and branch out to different brands or, as I suggested before, sample other coffee beans from your local roaster until you find your best coffee to drink black.
Most of all, enjoy the journey.