Black coffee is a great way to appreciate the taste and subtle flavors of coffee. It can be quite an experience, which is why many coffee lovers prefer to keep their coffee free from additives. Given the varieties of coffee available, there is no dearth of excellent beans and coffee. But then which is the best coffee to drink black?
Several factors influence the taste of coffee, ranging from where it was grown to the roasting of the beans. Here are our top picks.
Editor’s Choice: Lifeboost Healthy Coffee
A coffee that’s rich in flavor and boasts great credentials is the coffee to pick. Lifeboost Healthy Coffee is single origin, high-grown, and shade-grown coffee. The coffee beans are sourced from Nicaragua and the farms are located a mile above sea level.
As such, the coffee is cultivated in a near-perfect environment. High altitude and shade from other plants and trees helps the coffee bean to develop a remarkable flavor. Carefully harvested, processed, and packed, the beans classy taste notes to love.
Lifeboost coffee is USDA certified organic, Fair Trade, and is also independently tested for pH (has low acidity) and for mycotoxins and mold. It is available in light, medium, and dark roasts so you can take your pick. A decaf option is also available. Lifeboost coffee can be bought as whole beans or ground coffee.
As the old advice goes, if it’s single origin, drink it black; if it’s a blend, add milk. I’m not a big fan of this advice, as it seems a bit lopsided and doesn’t always apply. However, this is one case where the single origin is an excellent pick to drink black.
- Single-origin coffee (sourced from Nicaragua)
- High-grown and shade-grown coffee
- Available as regular and decaf coffee
- Roasts available: Light, Medium, Dark
- Independently tested for low pH and no mycotoxins
- Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade
2021’s Top Picks For Best Black Coffee
- Blue Horse Kona Coffee Farm-fresh: 100% Kona
- Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company
- Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans
- Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf
- Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee
- Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend
- Mayorga Organics Café Cubano
- Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee
- Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend
Our Review Of The Best Coffees To Drink Black
1. Blue Horse Kona Coffee Farm-fresh: 100% Kona – Best Gourmet Option
To me, picking Blue Horse Kona Coffee as one of the best black coffee contenders makes the perfect sense. Kona coffee gets its name from a part of Hawaii where this coffee is grown. Coffee grown anywhere outside this specific region is not considered authentic Kona. And there are a lot of coffees that want to pass off as Kona or Kona blend!
The fame of this coffee comes from its mellow body and wonderful aroma. The hint of spices in the taste just wraps everything up quite nicely. Blue Horse Kona is an excellent representative of the wonderful Kona coffee. It represents all its strengths and does that quite well.
This coffee isn’t rich in caffeine, but it’s a treat on flavor, taste, and aroma. As this is a gourmet coffee in high demand, it does tend to be more expensive than other options.
- Medium roast coffee
- Whole coffee beans
- Great aroma and taste
- Spicy afternotes
- 100% Kona coffee
2. Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company – Strong And Caffeine Rich
Valhalla Java comes from Death Wish Company, which is known for its high caffeine offerings. Death Wish Coffee is the hardcore, high-caffeine variant. However, Valhalla Java is no pushover either, and has a strong caffeine content. Also, it takes a finer approach to coffee taste and flavors.
The taste notes get nutty and chocolatey for this medium dark roast blend. The masterfully roasted coffee is a blend of arabica and robusta beans. That gets it the high caffeine content, while ensuring nuances of taste and flavor. If you want a big caffeine kick from your coffee, this is the one you pick.
- Medium-dark roast coffee
- Available as ground coffee
- Blend of robusta and arabica beans
- High caffeine content
- Nutty and chocolatey taste notes
- Fair trade and USDA certified organic coffee
3. Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans – Best Overall
Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans are an excellent pick for the best coffee to drink black. You’ll already be in love with the aroma of the coffee once you open the pack. That love will only grow stronger once you brew this stunningly aromatic and flavorful coffee.
Each sip will give a winy aftertaste with notes of berries and citrus. There’s a vibrant acidity to each cup, flanked by a rich body. These beans are rated “AA” which is the country’s top rating for coffee beans.
These are the largest beans with a good amount of aromatic oils. The roast brings these out perfectly, giving this coffee an excellent taste. While it isn’t necessary, I’ll suggest skipping paper filters with this coffee. Get those metal filters in action.
- Medium roast
- Whole coffee beans (ground beans also available)
- Excellent aroma and rich body
- Vibrant acidity
- Winy taste notes with hints of citrus and berries
- Slightly expensive
4. Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf – Best Decaf
For the lovers of decaf, this coffee is an amazingly great choice. Even with the most careful of decaf processes, some flavor is lost from coffee along with the caffeine. This one, however, manages to minimize that problem to a great extent. You get pretty great coffee with delicious taste notes.
The medium roast of Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee delivers a wonderful brew that’s smooth and rich. It’s a full bodied coffee with good aroma and flavor.
- Medium roast
- Whole beans coffee (ground coffee also available)
- Good aroma and taste
- Very well priced
5. Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee – Bold Flavor
Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt wants to live up to its name. This Colombian whole bean coffee is strong, satisfying, and has a great aroma. The coffee is strong and has enough caffeine content to make an impression.
According to the company, their beans belong to the top 2% of best beans produced globally. The coffee has a full body and long finish. Expect taste notes that are earthy, with hints of molasses, smoke, and tobacco.
- Dark roast
- Whole bean coffee (ground coffee also available)
- Strong and bold flavor
- Single-origin coffee
6. Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend – Excellent Flavor
Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend is one of the best tasting black coffee options you can get. This signature blend is made from various South American coffees, primarily those from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil. All ingredients are GMO-free.
An interesting aspect here is that the coffee has low acidity. That makes it a pretty great option for those troubled by acidity problems. An option like this can be tough to come by in this category. What makes it better is that the coffee has great flavor and a smooth finish. This full-bodied coffee has a medium-dark roast and excellent aroma.
- Low-acidity beans
- Beans sourced from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil
- Excellent aroma and flavor
- Medium-dark roast
7. Mayorga Organics Café Cubano – Excellent Taste Notes
Mayorga Organics Café Cubano is flavorful with taste notes that you can’t help love. The dark roast makes the hints of vanilla stand out and goes wonderfully along the sweet, syrupy smokiness of this coffee. The coffee is quite a treat roasted to perfection with a slow-roasting process.
There is quite a range of certifications and trade claims that come along with this coffee. This one is certified USDA organic, direct trade, fair value, non-GMO verified, shade-grown coffee. The beans are sourced from Latin America and given the care they put in selection, these are one of the best you can get.
- Vanilla aftertaste with syrupy smokiness
- USDA organic, direct-trade, fair-value, non-GMO coffee
- Beans sourced from Latin America
- Dark roast
8. Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee – Gourmet Coffee With Excellent Flavor
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee comes from the famous region of Sidamo, Ethiopia. The coffee beans are grown on the hills of the Yirgacheffe Valley. This specific region is famed for its quality coffee and great flavor. That shows up wonderfully in these coffee beans.
The coffee is roasted in small batches to ensure the best of flavors and taste. The coffee has a smooth and creamy body, with complex citrus afternotes that match with a floral flavor. What really gets it going is the intense aroma that will announce its presence as soon as you brew this coffee.
- Medium roast coffee
- Whole beans
- Sourced from Yirgacheffe Valley in Sidamo, Ethiopia
- Creamy body with citrus afternotes and floral tones
- Excellent aroma
9. Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend – Best For Beginners
Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend is exactly what you want if you’re a beginner dipping your toes in the world of black coffee. The smooth flavor and easy-going finish make it easy for those trying to transition to black coffee.
Daybreak Blend is a light roast with the taste tones of sweet caramel and nuts. You can also get some flavor options to enjoy this coffee better. These include chocolate and vanilla hazelnut flavors.
And while I say that this is the perfect blend for beginners, it’s also an excellent choice for those of us who already love black coffee. It has no intentions of being bold and strong, it’s just a straightforward blend to enjoy your coffee.
- Light roast coffee
- Whole beans
- Smooth finish
The Buyers Guide To Picking The Best Coffee To Drink Black
Look At The Roasting Date
Coffee beans can last a very, very long time. If you want the best cup of coffee, don’t just look at the best before date, but give special attention to the date of roasting. Fresh roasted coffee is the best to bring out the taste and flavor of your coffee. Generally speaking, you’ll want to use the coffee within a month of roasting, though dates can vary by the roaster.
This is one of the reasons you see most artisan coffee roasters use only small batches of coffee for roasting. This way, even with the delays involved in shipping and moving, you can get freshly roasted coffee. Alternatively, you can look for artisanal roasters in your city and buy coffee beans from them.
It is important to remember that the suggestion to use the beans within a month is, well, just a suggestion. The freshness of coffee is a gradient and there is no law that says it won’t taste good after 28 days.
Most roasters believe this time period to be a fairly good estimation, but it is not absolute. Also, your coffee beans are likely to remain good for a brew far beyond these suggested dates.
Grind Your Coffee Right Before You Brew
As you see here, most of my recommendations are for whole bean coffees. This is because grinding the beans right before you need them is the way to get the best flavor. Freshly ground coffee will be at its best for some time before it begins to lose flavor. Conventionally, the recommendation is to not let it sit around for more than 20 minutes.
This doesn’t mean that coffee grinds are inferior. Companies package them carefully to ensure the flavor and aroma of the beans is not lost. However, consumers don’t have the same ways to seal ground beans. So they start to lose flavor quickly once the package has been opened. Proper storage will keep them going longer, but it is easier to manage whole beans than ground beans.
Is Black Coffee Good For You? What Are The Benefits Of Black Coffee?
There is plenty of sound scientific research to suggest the health benefits of black coffee. Without the presence of additives, coffee becomes a fairly beneficial drink. The additives do add flavor, but they also bring in (often undesired) calories and sugar.
One of the best known roles of coffee is that it makes you attentive and increases awareness. It stimulates the brain and encourages activity. So yes, in many ways, black coffee is good for you and has tangible benefits.
Do keep in mind, coffee is not a health tonic. Your use must remain in moderation. Caffeine is a stimulant and can as easily bring adverse effects. Effects like jitters and blood pressure issues can arise with overuse of caffeine.
How To Drink Black Coffee?
If you’re new to black coffee, it can take some time getting used to it. If you enjoy regular coffee beverages, start by reducing the amount of additives and sugar you add. Slowly wean yourself off these additives and you can enjoy black coffee.
Black coffee is a great way to enjoy the subtle flavors and taste notes of coffee. Once you bring additives into the mix, the subtle flavors vanish. Both options have their benefits. I wouldn’t say that black coffee is inherently superior to other options, but it certainly is worth exploring and enjoying.
Acidity Of Your Coffee
Coffee beans have some acidic content, which will make its way to your coffee. Many of the best coffees available boast a vibrant acidity. It isn’t troublesome for most people, but those with troubles related to acidity may not be able to fully enjoy black coffee. The best option in this case is to look for brands with low acidity offerings and options.
Choosing The Right Roast
Coffee bean roasting can be broadly categorized into light, medium, and dark. Although there are several variations available. Light and medium roasts tend to preserve the afternotes and subtle tastes of the coffee. Dark roasts tend to be bolder, with smoky notes that often suppress the natural notes of the coffee beans.
If you’re new to black coffee, it’s better to start with a light or medium roast. Many coffee lovers often prefer the medium to darker roasts. Again, that’s more a matter of preference than empirical truth.
Getting The Best Coffee You Can Enjoy Black
Black coffee is a treat with great flavors and aroma that makes it all the more enjoyable. There are several quality options available if you want the best coffee to drink black. Our top choice here is the Lifeboost Healthy Coffee.
However, if you want something more affordable, give Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend a chance. Eight O’Clock decaf is a great pick for those who enjoy decaf coffee.