How to Make Black Coffee that Tastes Good

coffee beans

We are used to enjoying coffee with a variety of flavors and additives. If nothing else, we’ll often add milk, sugar, or creamer. We can skip that and choose to stick with the classic black coffee. It takes some time getting used to, but the authentic taste of black coffee is rewarding.

Most people avoid black coffee fearing that it will taste bitter and unappetizing. That isn’t true. The bitter taste usually comes from over-extraction Here are some ways you can make black coffee taste good without resorting to the use of sugar or other additives.

1. Choose The Right Coffee Beans

Getting the right coffee and roast will make the biggest difference to your coffee. Generally speaking, coffee has more flavonoids than wine, so there is no dearth of flavors to go around. However, the flavors are affected by the region where the beans were grown and the roast they have.

Some regions produce naturally mild and low-acid coffee. Some produce flavorful coffee with remarkable taste notes and bright acidity. Many quality coffees are flavorful enough to not require any intervention in taste and flavor. Take your pick of the best tasting coffee to drink black and you’ll find a world of flavors and taste notes.

Coffee preparations that rely on sugar or syrups often do this to hide the poor taste of their beans. Flavorful coffees will proudly display their expected taste notes and flavor profiles for users to consider. Many coffees naturally have fruity and sweet taste notes that will make you reconsider spoiling them by adding flavors.

Arabica beans are the preferred variety of the coffee plant. They have a mild flavor and richer taste notes.

2. Consider How The Coffee Roast Affects Taste

A big impact on coffee taste comes from the processing and roasting of beans. People who are new to coffee generally prefer light roasts. These are best at showing off the rich taste notes of coffee. Light roasts usually don’t have the “bitter” taste people associate with coffee.

More seasoned coffee lovers usually prefer medium or dark roasts. These offer a bolder taste that we have all come to love. Medium roasts retain a good amount of the original taste notes and are very enjoyable. Dark roasts can have some of the original taste notes, though they often offer taste notes of dark chocolate and caramel.

Dark roast coffee often offers a full body. As a rule of thumb, body of the brew gets progressively heavier as the roast gets darker. However, once the roasting process goes beyond the second crack, the body begins to thin again.

In essence, if you’re new to black coffee, start with light roasts. Those with a more seasoned palate should consider medium and dark roasts to find the right fit.

3. Never Use Boiling Water To Brew Coffee

While coffee makers have some temperature regulation, manual methods rely on the skill of the brewer. Many people tend to pour boiling water on to coffee grounds when brewing coffee. This approach can scald or burn coffee beans, which in turn results in bitter or burnt taste in the coffee.

The recommended water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195-205 °F. In comparison, the boiling temperature of water is 212 °F. While the number can vary depending on water quality and elevation, it’s useful to know.

A possible approach is to use a kitchen thermometer and remove water from heat when it hits the right temperature. An easier (though not so exact) method is to let the water come to a boil and remove it from heat. Give it about 30 seconds to cool down, then use it to brew your coffee!

4. Watch Contact Time And Extraction Time

Most coffee brewing methods have a recommended time for which hot water and coffee stay in contact. For example, ground coffee in a French press is usually allowed 5 minutes of extraction time. Going higher results in a stronger brew.

Over-extraction remains a risk in these scenarios. The longer you let hot water and coffee stay together, the greater the risk of coffee turning bitter. It’s a good idea to adjust extraction times to your preference.

Incidentally, this is also the reason why you shouldn’t let the carafe sit on the coffee maker’s hot plate for more than 30 minutes. Heat from the plate keeps the brewing process going and can turn the coffee in the pot bitter.

5. Use Freshly Roasted And Freshly Ground Beans

Most consumers prefer to buy ground coffee beans. They’re convenient and flavorful enough. The more discerning consumers prefer to buy whole coffee beans and grind them right before brewing.

Coffee beans offer the best of their flavors when they’re freshly roasted and ground. A majority of roasters say that coffee beans are at peak flavor up to six weeks after they’re roasted. That’s a reason why small artisanal rosters are increasingly popular over large-scale manufacturing of ground coffee.

Grind the beans right before you intend to brew them, and grind only the necessary amount. Use this coffee within 20 minutes of grinding.

6. Enhancing The Flavor

Usually, we enjoy black coffee without adding any additives or flavors to boost the taste. While that is the right way to enjoy the coffee and its flavor profiles, it may not always be desirable. You can make the flavor more palpable by skipping sugar in favor of the following alternatives:

  • Salt: You don’t have to go for salty coffee, but adding just a smidgen of salt can bring out the sweetness of your coffee! This is a good strategy to use when you feel the coffee tastes bitter and would like to get a milder taste.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds spice and sweetness to black coffee and wonderfully enhances its taste. I find this better than other options.
  • Unsweetened Chocolate Powder: It will take the bitterness of the coffee without the need for sugar. Also, chocolate!
  • Vanilla Extract: A few drops of vanilla extract in your coffee can help tone down other overwhelming flavors. This leaves you with wonderful black coffee with a touch of vanilla goodness.

Video tutorial

FAQs on How to Make Black Coffee that Tastes Good

Q: Is black coffee different than regular coffee?

A: When you have your coffee only with water, you’re drinking black coffee. Any other kind of coffee you will drink will be considered as regular coffee and not black coffee.

Q: If there’s black coffee, is there’s also white coffee?

A: As a matter of fact, there is white coffee. A light roast of the beans would give you a white coffee. It’s not white per se, but rather dark. The name comes from the roast of the beans.

Q: What’s the most common taste of black coffee?

A: Black coffee should have a slightly sweet taste, but strong. You can add water to your likings, which will make it more or less watery.

Q: Why is black coffee bitter?

A: Many things affect the final taste of your coffee, with the type of beans being the most important to name. When the beans come with a dark roast, or you’re using Robusta beans, a subtly bitter taste should be expected.

Q: Which is the most common type of beans used for black coffee?

A: Most of the time, Arabica beans make the most popular choice for black coffee. They don’t have an intense bitter taste, but rather give the coffee a smoother taste.

Q: Will you go fat from black coffee?

A: Luckily for black coffee lovers, it’s quite the contrary. A cup of black coffee has two calories, so if you’re thinking of losing some weight, switching to black coffee will help. People on low carbs diet or keto diet go with black coffee all the time.

Q: Is there caffeine in black coffee?

A: Some people like to drink coffee for the taste, not for caffeine’s energy. However, black coffee contains caffeine, so it’s not the right choice if you’re avoiding it.

Q: Will it be more expensive for you to drink black coffee instead of regular coffee?

A: A cup of black coffee is the most affordable kind of coffee that you can get a coffee shop. Even if you’re going to make it on your own at home, you will not have to use milk, sugar, or creamer, so it’s cheap. When you’re using instant coffee, the price will be even lower, as there will be no machines or capsules- just pure coffee!

Q: Can black coffee contribute to burning fat?

A: Not only that, black coffee is low on calories, but it also boosts the breakdown of your body fat, causing the fatty acids to become available for the body as energy. When you’re adding sugar or milk to your coffee, you will lower caffeine’s natural abilities to burn fat and calories.

Q: Will black coffee increase your level of energy?

A: With black coffee containing caffeine, it makes sense that it will improve your energy levels and alertness. It keeps you active throughout the day and even sustains your physical efforts at the gym. Black coffee will help you not get tired during the day, and give you all the natural benefits, without the unhealthy sugar or milk.

Q: Is it tricky to go from regular to black coffee?

A: Drinking black coffee isn’t for everyone, especially when drinking your coffee with sugar for years. You may need some time until you learn how to appreciate the taste of black coffee. Once you turn to black coffee, you will ask yourself why it has taken you so long. Coffee has various flavors, from sweet and fruity to creamy or bitter. Adding sugar, milk, or cream to it will make you unable to experience the real taste.

Regardless of what you think, black coffee has a great taste, and you can only enjoy it when you only add water.

Q: Will the brew method count for the taste of your black coffee?

A: The brew method will affect the taste of the coffee. With black coffee, the classical drip brewer will not be the best choice. The French press will make a far better option. Either way, every brew method will get the flavors differently, and it’s a real skill to discover which brew method works the best for you.

Q: Why is the French press the best for black coffee?

A: French press is affordable, and it gives you control over how the coffee will taste. Should you go for a more robust coffee cup, you need to wait a bit longer when pressing the plunger down. Pressing the plunger down sooner will give you a weaker coffee.

Q: Does the mug play a role in the taste of the black coffee?

A: It sounds incredible, but your mug’s color may impact the way you’re tasting the coffee. For instance, a white mug will make you feel the coffee bitter compared to drinking it in a clear cup. You should play a bit and see how the color affects the tastes of your coffee.

Q: Which type of beans give the best taste?

A: Whole bean coffee that is freshly roasted will give you a nice cup of black coffee every morning. If it’s not possible to buy it right from the roaster in the first week after the roasting, you should purchase a vacuum-sealed bag from a respectable national coffee-bean roaster.

Q: Do you buy a grinder or not?

A: Ideally, you should utilize your coffee grinder, or at least grind it in the store. Moreover, it should be a burr grinder and not a regular blade grinder. If you have the time and go for the best results, you should grind the fresh coffee right before brewing it in the morning.

Q: What size of ground gives the best black coffee?

A: It’s a trial and error process to discover which ground size you like best. Excellent grounds make the most popular choice, but keep in mind that they may cause a bitter brew, especially when compared to coarse grounds. Grounds the size of coarse sugar make the best taste, according to the professionals.

Q: Does the quality of water affect the taste?

A: Always good water when you’re making black coffee. If the water from your tap is okay for you, the black coffee will taste good. Never use distilled or softened water, but rather carbon-filtered water for reducing the chemical taste of the tap water.

Q: How much time should you wait when using a kettle?

A: Kettle, funnel, and unbleached filters for the pour-over brew ensures the richest black coffee, according to coffee aficionados. Once the kettle is boiled, you should let it coll for 30 seconds. 200F degrees is the temperature to utilize for brewing coffee. The darker the roast, the less hot the water should be. Setting the timer on 4 minutes will help you get your coffee. You wet the coffee with the first pour-over, with a couple of ozs. of water. Wait for 30 seconds and continue with pouring, until the four minutes and water are gone.


About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm hoping for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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