How to Make Black Coffee Taste Good

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Making Black Coffee Taste Good

Some like it hot. Some like it black. When it comes to coffee, hot is not exactly what you should be going for, but black, definitely. It’s the ultimate pleasure for true coffee lovers. Never tasted black coffee? Well, we got you covered and we are going to teach you how to appreciate the rich natural taste of real coffee.

Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee

There are so many different types of coffee in the world and you’ve never actually tasted any of them if you fill your mug with sugar, cream, milk or all the flavors available in coffee shops. All the things you or your local barista put in your coffee hide its natural flavor, making all types of coffee taste more or less alike. It’s a caffeinated beverage, but not true coffee.

Fruity, Syrupy, Creamy

Real coffee beans, roasted and grounded, come in an incredible array of flavors. Some are creamy, some are fruity and, yes, some are bitter. So much depends on the place it comes from. Did you know that Ethiopian or Kenyan coffee beans have a syrupy fruit flavor, whereas those grown in Costa Rica and Guatemala are soft and mellow?

Then there’s roasting which is a very exact science, or as some call it, a veritable art. It takes a lot of time for a skilled roaster to determine just how much roasting is needed for a particular type of beans to reveal all their natural flavor.

All you have to do is find the one that is right for you!

Get Rid of All That Sugar

One of the main benefits of switching to black coffee is that you get to cut down on sugar and calories.

Ever wondered how many calories there are in your morning coffee? If you use skimmed milk, you might get the pass on that, but sugar? And let’s not even talk about those you buy at the fancy coffee-shops everybody loves. Milk, sugar, dollops of cream, those are real calorie bombs! Definitely not good for your waist or your health. Or your wallet, for that matter.

Switching to black coffee for dietary reasons is not a sacrifice. You’re actually doing yourself a favor and once you learn to appreciate the great taste of black coffee, chances are you’ll never go back to the sugar-filled drink your old self used to like.

Your Favorite Coffee On The Go

The advantage of drinking black coffee is that it simplifies your morning routine and you won’t have to worry anymore whether there’s cream in the fridge. Not only that. Anytime you travel, anytime you’re stuck in meetings all day long, black coffee is the easiest thing to ask for. You might not find a caramel frappuccino at the train station or the hotel you’re staying at, but black coffee won’t ever be a problem. It might not taste just as good as the special brew at home, but at least it’s close to your regular pick-me-up!

How to Switch to Drinking Black Coffee

All dedicated coffee-lovers have their morning ritual and a habit formed over many years is hard to break. We are addicted to the energy boost in our morning coffee as well as to the ritual, so making changes can sound scary.

Enjoy your Morning Coffee

In order to make a smooth transition, you have to establish what is it that you prefer about your normal coffee – is it the sweetness, the creamy taste or perhaps the subtle fruity aroma? You don’t need additives for that, you just need to find the right type of coffee that already has your desired feature.

You’ll need to study a bit about different types of coffee, go online, read the labels on the coffee packages at your store or, indeed, talk to an experienced barista who might point in the right direction.

Experimenting is Fun

If you’ve been faithful to a particular brand of coffee and a certain way of preparing it, now is the time to go crazy and buy something else. Try Sumatra coffee, known for its super-earthy taste or Colombia, which is lemony and a bit on the acidic side. Or you could go for Ethiopian coffee beans, most connoisseurs swear by.

Now for the taste-test. Take the new coffee and prepare a huge pot. Pour the coffee in four cups – add your regular amount of sugar and milk in the first one, half of it in the second, a quarter in the third one and nothing in the fourth, leave it black.

Let the coffee cool down a bit and start tasting each of them from the most sugary one to the black one. Obviously they taste different, but you should try to pay attention to the rich coffee flavor that emerges the less sugar and milk there is in the cup. Go back to the label, read the description you used to ignore and see if you can discover the subtle fruity flavor in the black coffee in front of you! It does taste a bit on the sweet side now that you think of it, doesn’t it? Is there a hint of blueberry you sense in that coffee? Who knew?

Change Your Brewing Method

Coffee tastes different depending on your brewing method. You’ll be surprised to discover that the coffee you’ve bought is more to your liking when you use a French press instead of your traditional drip brewer. Or you could try an Italian espresso machine, although the coffee is stronger and not everyone manages to drink it black.

You could also experiment with dosage and ground-size. Put more – or less – coffee in your brewer and see how it goes.

How to Train Your Brain to Love Black Coffee

As with any other addictions, there are two approaches to switching from your sugar-filled drink to black coffee.

Going Cold Turkey

That’s really tough. Your morning coffee won’t ever look the same as your regular one, let alone the taste. Your taste buds will be offended by the unfamiliar flavor, they will stage a protest against the bitterness – are you trying to kill us?

The good news is the energy boost will probably be the same and your body will be thankful for that.

The next day things will be a little easier, you’ll know what to expect and you’ll be surprised to discover it’s not as bad as it seemed the first time. Not bad at all!

Take it Easy

Many people take a gradual approach when they decide to switch to black coffee. In order to do that properly you first need to measure the exact amount of sugar, cream or milk you put in your normal coffee. Quite a lot, probably! Just thinking of all those useless calories should be enough to steel your nerves for the challenge ahead.

For the first week, cut the amount of added ingredients by 25%. The change won’t be all that noticeable and you will find the new taste bearable. Resist the urge to go back to your old routine. Enjoying black coffee is an acquired taste, so it takes time to discover the rich aroma of natural coffee.

The following week cut back another 25% on sugar and milk. If you find the change is too drastic for you, go back to step one and stay with that dosage for another couple of weeks.

If you’re doing it right, after a few weeks you’ll find yourself perfectly comfortable with the mug of black coffee in front of you. You probably won’t believe it now, but after a few weeks of black coffee, the taste of the old sugary coffee will no longer appeal to you.

Change the Color of Your Mug

It’s a psychological thing. Studies have shown that the color of your mug influences the way you perceive it. If you drink coffee out of a white cup, your brain will perceive it more bitter and less sweet than if you use a clear mug. This is important when making the switch to black coffee, which can be bitter. Since you’ve decided to change your morning ritual, buy a clear mug and start enjoying your new life as a black coffee type of person.

Tips for Better Tasting Black Coffee

We all love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning but is it really all that fresh? Probably not. Ground coffee tends to lose its flavor rather quickly and the longer it’s been on the shelf the duller the taste. And no, keeping it in the fridge doesn’t help. Coffee doesn’t go bad, but the oils in the beans start tasting like stale food.

Grind the Beans Yourself

One option is to grind the beans yourself. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, buy one and make sure to grind just the amount you need for one pot. It only takes a few seconds, and your coffee is as fresh as can be.

Another thing, see if you can find a supplier that delivers freshly-roasted coffee beans directly to your door.

Natural Flavor Boosters

Take it as a little cheat-sheet, if you want, but, hey, you’re entitled to add a little spice to your coffee.

  • Cinnamon gives your black coffee an exciting new flavor, whether you add it before or after brewing. And let’s not forget that cinnamon is very good for your health.
  • Cocoa powder is another thing you can try. It makes your morning coffee taste a bit like chocolate, very dark chocolate that is, as sugar is still a big no-no.
  • Vanilla extract gives your coffee an incredibly smooth aroma. Make sure what you buy is pure vanilla extract and not some cheap imitation full of harmful chemicals.
  • Salt. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, but it’s true – a pinch of salt makes your black coffee taste less bitter. If the taste is still not to your liking, you can add a tiny bit more.
  • Nutmeg adds a bit of earthiness to your brew and it is slightly sweet, which is a plus when you drink black coffee.
  • Peppermint oil gives a holiday flavor to your regular black coffee. Add a few drops during the brewing, but don’t overdo or you won’t be able to taste the coffee anymore.

The list could go on, but it is up to you to decide which spices you’d like to experiment with. Get creative and don’t be shy!

Keep your Coffee Maker Clean

If you’re a recent convert to black coffee, the first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean your coffee maker and get rid of all sugar or cream residues. A fresh start for your new life!

Go for Single-Origin Coffee

Single-origin refers to beans grown in a particular geographical area, a part of a country and even a single farm. Blended coffee is more common and the producers typically use two to four different types of beans. Single-origin coffee is more expensive than blended coffee as it seasonal and there are only so many beans in one harvest.

Some argue that blending different types of beans makes for a more flavorful final product, but most black coffee lovers prefer single-origin coffee as it allows them to experience one particular taste in all its glory.

Best Coffee Roast Level For Black Coffee

Chances are you’ve never seen fresh coffee beans, which are soft, greenish in color with little or no taste. What we refer to as coffee are the roasted beans and much of its taste depends on the roast grade, also known as roast color.

If you’ve ever wondered what the different markings on the label mean now is the time to make sense of it all.

Light Roasts

This refers to coffee beans that are roasted till they get a light brown color. Actually, it’s a surprisingly light color and you might think it’s not properly done. Yet this type of light roasting allows the bean to retain much of its natural flavor and the highest level of caffeine, as compared to darker roasts. Light roasts have a distinctive grain taste and a higher acidity.

Tip: If you’re not sure about the color, look for the cracks in the bean. It’s simple – heat makes the bean expand and the shell cracks. In this case there should be just one, the ‘first crack’ as people in the industry call it.

Since it has more caffeine, a light roast type of coffee is more suitable for your morning fix, when you need more energy.

Medium Roasts

Simply put, this means beans are left to roast until they become medium brown, but no oils come to the surface. And it’s still at the ‘first crack’ level of roasting.

Medium roasts can best be described as well-balanced as far as flavor, aroma and acidity are concerned. It is a very popular type of coffee all over the US, where it is known as Regular or American Roast.

Medium-Dark Roasts

As the color gets darker, oils start to show on the surface of the bean. Along with its natural taste, the flavors derived from the roasting process become more noticeable.

Coffee types in this category range from the beginning of the first crack to middle of the second crack. There’s less caffeine in medium-dark roasts, but the taste is spicier.

Dark Roasts

Now we’re talking about dark brown, almost black coffee beans. The beans are quite oily, which explains why your coffee mug is a bit greasy. They are processed at very high temperatures until the second crack becomes apparent.

Natural flavors are harder to distinguish and the coffee seems bitter, with a distinct smoky or burnt taste. The caffeine levels are vastly diminished, so it’s the sort of roast you should choose for a late evening treat.

However, you should be aware of the fact that dark roasting is commonly used in the industry to cover up the taste of low quality coffee beans and the resulting product ends up on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Which Roast is Best for a Black Coffee?

The whole point of drinking black coffee is to taste the natural, unadorned flavors of various coffee types and learn to appreciate them. With this in mind, it makes sense to go for the light or medium roasts, as these preserve the most of the beans’ natural flavors. If you want to feel the creaminess or the natural sweetness in your coffee, you’d be well advised to stick with low level roasts.

This is not to say you cannot enjoy a black coffee made with a dark roast. In fact, dark roasts are the preferred choice for espressos.

To sum it all up:

  • Black coffee allows you to enjoy a great variety of natural flavors and aromas, not to mention they’re good for your health. It’s the only type of coffee you should drink when you’re on a diet!
  • The easiest way to switch to black coffee is to gradually cut down on the added sugar, milk or cream.
  • You need to experiment with various types of coffee until you find the one you really like.
  • For a better experience, try adding different spices during the brewing process.
  • Go for light or medium roasts if you want to enjoy all the richness of flavors in your coffee.
  • Don’t forget – single-origin coffee is best!

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Sources

The Benefits of Drinking Coffee Black (And Tips for Making the Switch):
 http://www.manualcoffeebrewing.com/drinking-coffee-black/

How and Why to Switch to Black Coffee:
https://www.roastycoffee.com/black-coffee/

How to Drink (and Actually Enjoy) Black Coffee:
https://www.drinktrade.com/blog/education/how-to-drink-and-like-black-coffee

How To Drink Black Coffee And Actually Enjoy It:
https://www.littlecoffeeplace.com/how-to-drink-black-coffee

A Beginner’s Guide to Loving Black Coffee:
https://beanbox.com/blog/black-coffee-beginners-guide

Coffee Roasts from Light to Dark:
https://www.coffeecrossroads.com/coffee-101/coffee-roasts-from-light-to-dark

Roasting Coffee: Light, Medium and Dark Roasts Explained:
https://www.northstarroast.com/roasting-coffee-light-medium-dark/