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How to Drink and Enjoy Black Coffee

Coffee is delicious. Full stop.

But let’s be real, it often becomes something we depend on to get through the day, as much as a culinary entertainment for our taste buds. And when the quantity of coffee has grown to these levels, it’s about time to think about the quality of the coffee as well.

When we drink more and more of it, what we put in our coffee can begin to make a difference. Have you ever emptied out the carton of creamer or the sugar bowl and thought, “It’s gone? I just got this a week ago! I drank all of that in the last week?”

Yeah… us too. And that’s what we want to talk about here: cutting out the crap and learning how to drink and enjoy black coffee.

Infographic: How to Drink Black Coffee

Black Coffee Benefits

The verdict is in: drinking coffee black (in moderation) is healthier than drinking it with cream or sugar. Big surprise, right? Seriously though, black coffee has virtually no calories and no carbs. It’s a diet-friendly energy drink that can help keep the weight off and your eyelids open.

But the health benefits don’t stop there. Black coffee has many benefits for your skin, for example, and can even protect against melanoma. It can increase your fiber intake. And of course, given the lack of cream and sugar, there are major black coffee benefits for weight loss (​1​​​)!

“The human body absorbs more nutrients from coffee than it does from other popular sources of antioxidants like fruits and vegetables.” - Kenneth Burke, Lifehack

Note: Here’s some extra info on how to make black coffee for weight loss.

However, a lot of these benefits are specific to black coffee and can be lost (or at the least diminished) when you add in that sugar or cream.


How to Enjoy Black Coffee

You might be thinking at this point, “Okay, it’s good for me, but so are Brussel sprouts. And I don’t eat those plain because...well, they're gross.” The reality is that there are people who like black coffee naturally, and then there are those who don’t.

We all have those friends who are natural “black coffee drinkers,” although sometimes they’re more like black coffee drinking psychopaths. They wear the distinction like a badge of honor (guys, it’s a cup of coffee…).

On the other hand, if you’re reading this you probably fall into the group to whom drinking black coffee doesn’t come easy. 

And that’s okay. Don’t despair. You can learn to like black coffee. You really can!

For starters, let’s change our mindsets a little bit going into this. While there’s no reason to stop adding seasoning to your Brussel sprouts, there sure is a good reason to take the plunge into drinking black coffee:

Coffee really does taste good on its own! Don’t believe us? Read on...


How to Drink Coffee Black

Black coffee

First off, you need to find a good black coffee recipe. Whether you’re going to use a classic Chemex, a French press, a drip coffee maker, or some other method, you need to settle this issue first and foremost so that you can get the best-tasting black coffee on the block.

Pro Tip: Here are 19 kickass ways to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Find one that works for you!

Did you find it? Good. Now for the big question: how do we drink it black (​2​​​)?

“When you taste unadorned fresh black coffee, the cup opens up to you, reveals itself as a little slice of time and place.” - Bean Box

Here are some tips and tricks to help you work your way down to a cup of black coffee. First let’s look at what we’ll need.


How to Make Black Coffee and What You’ll Need to Keep it Black

It should come as no surprise that making black coffee is fairly simple. No matter what method you’re using, simply grind up your coffee (to the right coarseness, of course) brew a pot, and, hey presto, you’ve got black coffee!

Now, in order to help keep that coffee black, you’re going to need at least one or two of these:

Black coffee gear

What You'll Need

  • Cleaning equipment (sponge, rag, cleaning solution, etc.)
  • A unique, new kind of coffee
  • High quality butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Cacao powder
  • Salt
Note: Keep in mind that you won’t need all of these things. Read through the steps, pick the one you want to try, and then use this list as a reference for what you’ll need.

Take It Step By Step: 5 Methods to Work Your Way towards Drinking Black Coffee

Follow these essential steps on how to drink black coffee:

1. Clean, Clean, Clean

First things first: is your coffee maker clean?

While coffee doesn’t leave much of a mess, you still need to clean your maker once in a while. Scrub out that Chemex. Unscrew that French press filter and wash it out. Run a cleaning solution through your coffee maker.

PRO TIP: Running very hot water through your Chemex or glass carafe as soon as you empty it, before the coffee inside dries, will make it much easier to keep your coffee maker clean.

Why do coffee makers need to be cleaned? Simple: stuff gets in there and can build up over time, and if you don’t clean it out, it can get into future batches of coffee. 

Chances are there is already some crud in your coffee maker. Just because you’ve been covering up that weird taste with cream doesn’t mean it’s going to magically go away when you start drinking your coffee black.

It’s a good first step – a “reset” of your coffee escapades, so to speak.

2. Experiment with Your Coffee Choices

Different roasts for black coffee

You may have been fine getting the generic “Coffee Shop” flavor for all your coffee needs in the past, but really, once you add in a bunch of that creamer, it all tastes the same.

Not anymore. It’s time to expand your coffee flavor profile. After all, this isn’t an article on how to make black coffee with coffee powder. If you want to enjoy your black coffee, you’ve got to embrace the tasty power of well-roasted coffee beans.

Get a little bit adventurous. Branch out and look for the best tasting ground coffee you can find. Try some smaller bags of different flavors of coffee from different roasters and see which ones you like the most. Eventually, when you’ve worked up the courage, and you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, you can check out some of these coffees, too.

If you can narrow it down to a handful, you can even get them into a rotation. Maybe one for mornings and one for afternoons, or alternate by days or weeks. Make it fun! That way you can look forward to each kind.

Specific kinds of coffee aside, there is also the matter of dark roasts, light roasts, whole bean vs. ground, Arabica and Robusta beans, and so on. Here’s a great breakdown to help you get your bearings and make some gutsy decisions!

Pro Tip: Use FRESH coffee if you can (i.e. grind your own). While coffee doesn’t “go bad” like a moldy orange in the fruit bowl, it does still go bad in its own way, and your coffee’s flavor will seriously decline over time. If you’re going to drink black coffee, drinking it fresh is the way to go.

3. Start by Trying Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee

Have you ever heard of bulletproof coffee? Now, it’s not exactly “black” coffee, but it’s a great way to shift your focus off of those less healthy options like cream and sugar, and focus on putting a minimal amount of something powerful into your cuppa joe.

Making bulletproof coffee is really easy. Simply add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil as well as a teaspoon or two of high-quality butter. Mix or blend it up and you’re good to go! 

Pro Tip: Instead of coconut oil and butter, you can add MCT oil and ghee for an even healthier option. Check out a few bulletproof recipes here.

4. Get Rid of the Sugar

Black coffee plus sugar spoon

First off, the main thing to keep in mind here is to take it slow. This isn’t a race! You’ve got plenty of time to work the sugar out of your system - and your cup of coffee (​3​​​).

“Even if you add sugar and don’t exceed your calorie needs, you’re still negating some of the benefits because sugar is a negative food ingredient.” Penny Kris-Etherton, Penn State nutrition professor

Make it a process. Measure out how much sugar you usually add to your coffee and reduce it by 20%. Wait a few days, maybe a week and then reduce it again. Before you know it, you’ll have weaned yourself off of the need for sugar in your coffee! Nice work.

Pro Tip: Try adding a touch of vanilla extract, a pinch of cinnamon, or unsweetened cacao powder as as “sugar replacement.” This can help divert attention from the absence of sweetness and keep things interesting.

5. Add Some Salt

Black coffee with salt

Salt? What? Yep, you heard me. Just like that teaspoon of salt that’s needed to make the perfect birthday cake, a bit of salt can take out the bitterness and make your black cup of coffee that much smoother.

Add a small pinch of salt into your black coffee, stir, and taste. Still bitter? Keep adding small amounts of salt until you reach the perfect amount. Remember, just as when cooking anything, it's easy to add salt - it's not so easy to take it out.

Pro Tip: Make a larger batch of coffee and pour a “trial cup.” Add small doses of salt to this, tasting it regularly. Take note of the point when it tastes the best. Once you’ve added too much salt for your liking, dump it out, pour a new cup, and add the exact amount of salt needed.  

Ready for a Change?

So there you have it, five ways to help you teach your taste buds how to drink and enjoy black coffee. Do you feel equipped to make the switch?

Remember, it’s not a race. Take your time. Pick an option above that you feel would work for you and try it out. Then… of course, share your experience with us, and anyone you think may benefit from switching to black coffee!

We want to know how it went.

FAQs

How can you make black coffee less bitter?

You can make black coffee less bitter in several ways. First, try a lighter roast, especially made with beans from Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, or Kona. Second, look into cold-brew coffee. The cold brew process extracts fewer of the bitter compounds than traditional hot-brewing methods. And in all cases, buy the freshest coffee you can.

How much black coffee can you drink in a day?

You can drink up to four cups of black coffee a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. They cite the safe daily limit of about 400 mg of caffeine per day, and use the average of 100 mg per cup. 

Do you get used to the taste of black coffee?

Yes, you get used to the taste of black coffee. Some coffee drinkers learn to love the taste of black coffee by reducing the amount of cream and sugar in every cup till they eventually leave it out altogether. Others claim that by taking a sip or two of black coffee before adding cream and sugar, they became accustomed to the flavor of black coffee. 

References

  1. Burke, K. (2018, January 17). 12 Reasons Why You Should Drink Black Coffee Every Day. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/326383/12-reasons-why-you-should-drink-black-coffee-everyday
  2. Bean Box. (2019, March 11). A Beginner's Guide to Loving Black Coffee: Bean Box. Retrieved from https://beanbox.com/blog/black-coffee-beginners-guide
  3. Is coffee good for you or not? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/09/28/is-coffee-good-for-you-or-not

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Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

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