How to drink black coffee (and enjoy it!)
Since opening our first specialty coffee shop we’ve had one recurring question, “is there a secret to drinking black coffee and actually enjoying it?”. The simple answer is yes and drinking black coffee is so much easier than you think! Whether you want to drink black coffee because you’re saving on the calories, you’re taking part in Veganuary, or you’re curious to try drip coffee, this blog has a few tips and tricks to get you started and, in the meantime, you may find yourself becoming a specialty coffee connoisseur.
DOES BLACK COFFEE TASTE GOOD?
Black coffee can be quite off-putting at first. It’s bitter, dark, and often, quite intense. But as your palate matures, black coffee has incredibly beautiful tasting notes. You can begin to notice these delicate flavour as you develop a deeper appreciation for black coffee. Black specialty coffee isn’t harsh, to begin with, they’re sweet, bright, and dynamic in a way that milk can cover up.
You may be thinking that getting rid of the milk, cream or sugar that you put in your brew may instantly make your brew taste bitter and hard to drink however, most people who drink black coffee, choose to do simply because of their coffee taste preferences. If you really think about it, drinking black coffee will allow you to experience a cup of the coffee the way it was designed to taste. Coffee farmers put so much thought and time into growing coffee that will give you the best tasting cup (albeit this is also dependent on how it is roasted and brewed; we will get to that). However, coffee farmers are extremely thorough and work tirelessly to ensure cherries are harvested at certain times of the year so that the green coffee is of the highest quality to sell to roasters. The taste of coffee can vary considerably depending on the region, altitude, varietal and how it is roasted. Black coffee can have notes of berries, spices, flowers, and beyond. The whole supply chain, from seed to cup, is learning to make better coffee.
Coffee roasters then spend their time cupping, tasting and profiling the coffee to get the most flavoursome cup possible. Drinking black coffee allows you to recognise these differences and enjoy the different flavour profiles of the coffee.
LEARN ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DRINKING
When you start to drink black coffee, you'll also find that it's a great opportunity to learn more about the different types of coffee beans and how they're roasted. For example, did you know that there are two main types of coffee beans? They are;
Arabica coffee beans are considered superior, are grown at high altitudes, and offer a sweeter, more complex flavour. Robusta coffee beans are grown closer to the equator and have a higher caffeine content with a harsher taste.
Adding things to coffee makes different coffees taste more similar to each other. A few dashes of milk to a cup of earthy Ethiopian won't be the same as adding a bit of milk or cream to a tropical and citrusy, washed coffee like Colombia but the more dairy you add to your coffee, the flatter the tastes will be.
The best way to explore the tasting notes found on your coffee bags such as chocolate, jasmine, nuts, or red fruits is to not add dairy or sugar to your cup. And if you think it might be fun to develop your coffee drinking palate, it’ll be tough to do so without switching to black coffee.
BUY FRESH, QUALITY COFFEE
Quality coffee beans are the key component to drinking (and actually enjoying) black coffee. Always make sure that the beans you have purchased have a “roasted on” stamped dated on the packaging so you know how fresh your coffee beans are.
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. You may fancy trying our Colombia coffee, which is lemony and a bit on the acidic side. Or you could go for a full-bodied, fruity Ethiopian, which is most definitely a favourite origin amongst specialty coffee drinkers.
CHANGE UP 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 fresh press instead of your traditional drip brewer. Each of the brewing methods will extract various flavours which could alter the taste of your brew. The most important thing you have to do is to find the brewing method that suits your taste. After brewing the coffee, taste it before adding any sweetener. Take a sip or two and think about what you feel for a moment. This will be a great way to expand your palate.
GRIND THE BEANS YOURSELF FOR ULTIMATE FRESHNESS
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 flavour rather quickly and the longer it’s been on the shelf the duller the taste. Grinding your own beans will truly make you feel like an at-home barista. Just be sure to only grind the number of beans you need for that moment.
Coffee beans should be ground right before brewing for maximum freshness if you have access to a burr grinder or bought ground specifically for your favourite brewing method.
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.
So, after reading our tips and tricks, the big question is… are you ready to make the switch and start drinking black coffee?