Taste is a subjective and personal preference. However, I guess we can all agree that some things just taste better, or at least are more popular! So our quest for the best coffee to drink black can move straight ahead. It’s all great black coffee up ahead, and no more pseudo-philosophical BS.
2020’s Top Black Coffee Picks
- Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company
- Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans
- Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf
- Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend
- Mayorga Organics Café Cubano
- Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee
- Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee
- Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend
- Blue Horse Kona Coffee Farm-fresh: 100% Kona
Our Top Pick: Kenya AA Coffee Beans
Excellent aroma and a rich body define this coffee. The beans are rich in aromatic oil and it shows with every cup you brew. If you’re in a hurry and want the verdict straight up, pick this one.
9 Top Coffee Options Reviewed
1. Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company — Ultra Strength Coffee
Death Wish Coffee Company is well-known for its flagship offering, Death Wish Coffee. It is generally considered to be the strongest coffee in the world, and that’s where the action is at if all you want is caffeine.
However, Valhalla is a better choice for the coffee to drink black. It strikes a great balance between strength and taste. This aromatic, ultra-strong coffee should be impressive for those who want the caffeine kick. The Norse mythology-inspired naming is the company’s way to underline the strength and forte this coffee has to offer.
This is also the only ground coffee I’ll recommend for this list, and yes, I think it’s worth it! According to the Death Wish company, the flavor notes to look forward to here are nutty and chocolatey. This medium roast wants to be seen as sophisticated and strong.
- Medium roast
- Pre-ground coffee
- Blend of robusta and arabica
- High caffeine content
- Taste notes: nutty and chocolatey
2. Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans — Best Overall
AA is the highest grade Kenya assigns to coffee beans grown in the country. You can expect these coffee beans to be representative of one of the best Kenya has to offer. This coffee offers a rich aroma and a fragrant body. The aftertaste has notes of berries and citrus, which is interestingly pleasant.
According to the seller, the coffee has a “vibrant” acidity. Well, that part is true, and do keep it in mind when you’re making the purchase decision. Another thing to keep in mind is its richness in coffee oils. These aromatic oils lend the coffee an interesting taste profile.
If you like these oils, think of avoiding paper filters. Though I don’t feel that the paper filter robs the coffee of its aroma or taste. However, the paper will absorb some part of the oils, and this is something to consider for your coffee.
- Medium roast
- Whole beans
- AA grade Arabica from Kenya
- Taste notes: berries and citrus
3. Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee — The Decaf Option
All these strong and high-caffeine blends are great, but what do you do when you want decaf? These beans will hold the fort for you. Eight O’Clock is made from medium roasted Arabica bean blends.
The coffee never lost its taste going decaf and still makes one mean cup of coffee. It is whole bodied with some excellent aroma and flavor. I guess being budget-friendly stops it from scaling new heights. On the other hand, the successful business model is probably why the company has been in action for more than 150 years!
- Medium roast
- Blend of several good-quality beans
- Good taste
4. Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend — Great Flavor
Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Signature Blend is a blend of some of the best South American coffees. This fine mix of coffees from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil has a medium-dark roast and is GMO free.
Its low acidity and smooth finish make the coffee all the more agreeable. The beans are 100% arabica and contribute well to the smooth and interesting coffee. The coffee is fairly popular and moves pretty fast. Even so, they try to roast batches in a way that customers receive freshly roasted coffee.
These coffee beans aren’t very oily, even with the medium dark roast. I’d say that’s a nice touch and quite an interesting way to go about your coffee. It does have a light sheen of oil that a medium roast should.
- Coffee beans sourced from Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil
- Non GMO
- Low acidity
- Good taste
- Medium dark roast
- 100% arabica coffee beans
5. Mayorga Organics Café Cubano — Superb Coffee Tasting Notes
Mayorga Organics Café Cubano is a dark roast that knocks the ball out of the park with flavor and aroma. The hints of vanilla and syrupy smokiness add wonderfully to the overall bold finish that this coffee has to offer. They use a state-of-the-art slow roasting process to get the flavor and notes just right.
I think their focus on ethics is a big plus as well. The coffee is 100% USDA Organic, Non GMO Verified. Additionally, they make sure the coffee is fair value and direct trade. Each bag of Mayorga is traceable to the farm that supplied the coffee. All coffee beans are high-quality, 100% arabica, which means the coffee is amongst the best you can find.
- USDA certified organic, Non-GMO verified coffee
- Direct trade and fair value coffee beans
- Dark roast
- 100% arabica
- Tasting notes: vanilla with syrupy smokiness
- Excellent taste
6. Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee — Bold Flavor
Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee is ethically sourced, fair-trade coffee that packs an excellent taste. These Colombian coffee beans are 100% organic and ethically sourced. Well, that’s quite the ethical pitch for purchase.
Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint in the world of taste and flavors either. The gourmet coffee beans are freshly roasted and placed quickly into the package. I would have assumed that they would leave time for degassing before packing in the beans, but they claim otherwise.
This French Roast (dark roast) coffee has a crisp finish with a lovely aroma. Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt artisan roasted coffee is 100% arabica sourced from Colombia and Brazil. The biggest downside is that it tends to go on the bitter side of things. That’s likely a result of staying in the darker spectrum of the dark roast.
- Organic coffee
- Direct trade
- Dark roast
- Bold flavor and aroma
7. Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee — Flavorful With Surprising Taste Notes
Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee comes from the famous Sidamo coffee growing region in Ethiopia. The coffee is roasted in small batches to ensure that you get a fresh roast and all its flavor. It’s an excellent combination of flavor and aroma. Indeed, the aroma itself is quite impressive and sets the mood right for the complex flavors that make this coffee.
Tasting notes of this medium roast coffee are quite complex. You’ll find citrusy with lime notes and floral flavors that go into a chocolate finish. Now that’s quite something! This medium body coffee with bright acidity has taste and flavor well in control.
- Single-origin coffee from Sidamo, Ethiopia
- Medium roast
- Excellent aroma
- Tasting notes: citrusy with floral flavors and chocolate
8. Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend — Best For Beginners
The light roast Caribou Coffee, Daybreak Morning Blend is an excellent choice for those new to black coffee. There is no hint of bitterness. Instead, you get wonderful notes of sweet caramel and nuts. The blend has a tad bit of added flavor in the shape of vanilla hazelnut (or chocolate if you prefer the other variant).
Coffee beans for this blend are sourced from the Americas and East Africa. Put together, they give it a nice, bright body with a smooth finish. The coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified and aims to be responsible ecologically and ethically.
- Light roast
- Coffee blend has beans sourced from the Americas and East Africa
- A touch of vanilla hazelnut or chocolate flavoring
- Smooth finish
9. Blue Horse Kona Coffee Farm-fresh — 100% Kona
Blue Horse is one of the best known coffee brands for Kona coffee. Only coffee sourced from the Kona region of Hawaii, USA can be considered true Kona. While there are plenty of Kona blends running around, 100% Kona can be tough to find.
These medium roast beans are authenticated to be from a single estate in Kona. The unique taste and flavor of this coffee leaves quite an impression. Blue Horse Kona is low in caffeine, and has notable spicy afternotes. Its mellow body and inviting aroma make quite a mix.
Keep in mind, this is a gourmet coffee sourced from a relatively small area. Its price is significantly higher than most competition.
- Medium roast
- Mellow body
- Tasting notes: spicy
- 100% Kona coffee
A Guide To Choosing The Right Black Coffee
The Roasting Date
If you’re going to pay for artisanal coffee, you might as well get the basic facts right. It is worth noting that technically coffee beans can last a very long time. However, when you want the best results, you want to enjoy the coffee within a month of being roasted. That time is when your freshly roasted coffee will be at its best of flavor and aroma. After this time, there will be a decline in taste and aroma.
There is no set guideline that says one month is where we draw the line. However, it is considered true for most available options. This is a reason why the coffee roaster will add a date for when the coffee was roasted. They might also add a “best before” date, but that’s more a regulatory requirement than the time your coffee goes “bad”.
Getting coffee to customers as soon as possible after roasting is a big challenge that online retailers and coffee subscription boxes have to deal with. Sometimes, they benefit from the couple of days the coffee has to degas after roasting, but still, it’s a thin line.
And there’s always the risk of a delayed delivery running long. So far, these services seem to be handling things just fine. However, if you want to be extra careful, it can be fruitful to hunt for a local roaster.
Grind Your Coffee Fresh For Best Results
The roasting date is one part of the puzzle. Enjoying the best tasting black coffee also depends on grinding the coffee beans fresh. It’s best to grind your coffee right before you brew it. For best results, don’t leave the ground coffee unattended for any more than 20 minutes. Freshly ground coffee is going to taste much better than coffee that has been sitting on the counter for hours.
How To Drink Black Coffee?
Can’t settle your tastebuds to the flavors and taste of black coffee? Well, you are not in some rare set, but you are missing out on the wealth of deliciousness coffee has to offer. Pouring syrups, cream, sugar, and others over the coffee won’t let you enjoy the flavor of coffee fully.
Getting used to black coffee can take some effort, but it isn’t something to be dismissed easily. Sure enjoy your latte and frappe, but don’t ignore the goodness of good black coffee. A good way is to start reducing additives like sugar and milk until you’re left with delicious black coffee.
Black Coffee Benefits
There are some remarkable health benefits of coffee. In fact, a lot of negatives of coffee come from additives like sugar, syrups, and whipped cream. Black coffee benefits become more apparent once you get rid of the additives. But, keep in mind, it is not a health tonic.
Remember to moderate your intake because going overboard with coffee has adverse effects. Keep an eye on your caffeine intake with each cup, and stay well below the maximum limits.
Coffee beans, and thus coffee can have some acidity. If you have trouble with acidity or a sensitive stomach, shop around for a coffee brand with low acidity. It can make all the difference in the world. You get to enjoy your favorite beverage and not be troubled by its acidic contents after the fact.
Choosing The Roast
There are a variety of roasts available. Often, these are capable of highlighting specific notes of your coffee and its taste. If you’re new to black coffee, think of picking up a lighter roast. Those more experienced usually prefer dark roasts, though these can veer towards bitterness.
Making Your Coffee Choice
Picking the best coffee to drink black opens up several options. Besides, not all coffee beans are the same. Where they were grown affect their specific taste notes and profiles. Keep your personal preference at the top when buying the beans.
For this list, the top choice is Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans. Those who want decaf should look at Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee. Finally, Cubico Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee is a great pick for those who want more nuanced flavors and aroma from their coffee.