Drinking black coffee to some might sound down right disgusting. If you’re one of those people I have a question for you.
Have you ever tried specialty coffee?
If the only coffee that you are being exposed to is commodity coffee then I completely understand your disdain towards drinking black coffee. If you have and you’re still not a fan, well maybe you just haven’t found the right beans for you.
Specialty coffee has been grown and processed with one thing in mind; FLAVOR.
Did you know that coffee has more flavor compounds than wine? Your everyday coffee like Folger’s and maxwell house and most gas station coffees are considered commodity coffee. Lot’s of these places get their beans from farms that are there to produce huge amounts of coffee and maximize profits. Little care is given to how the bean will taste in the end.
So if you’re looking to make the change towards drinking black coffee but can’t imagine how you’re going to do it, I’ve got a few tips for you and you can probably already guess the first one.
Tips To Start Drinking Black Coffee
Buy Good Beans
As I mentioned above, if you aren’t buying specialty coffee I highly suggest you start. The difference in taste between specialty coffee and commodity coffee is like night and day. I would describe commodity coffee as having the flavor of brown. Let’s just say that commodity coffee doesn’t make it easy to start drinking black coffee.
Specialty coffees are a lot easier to drink black because the beans are grown, processed and roasted with the intent to produce the best tasting cup of coffee.
One thing that goes along with buying good beans is making sure that they are fresh. If you buy beans from the grocery store you will probably notice a best buy date. Most of the times your best buy date will be anywhere from 12-18 months after the coffee has been roasted.
This is outrageous that they can even say that coffee will be fresh for this time frame, especially since most of the time your coffee has already been ground.
If you are buying coffee from a great coffee source you will notice the roast date(Not the best by date) on the bag. In most cases you want to use your coffee within 10-12 days of roasting. This is for whole bean coffee.When it comes to ground coffee, you actually start to lose quality within 15 minutes of it being ground.
This is of course unless you are Lavazza, These guys are based in Italy and actually nitrogen flush their coffee allowing freshness times to be extended.
So, buying good quality coffee crafted with love is your first and most important step to start drinking black coffee.
(There are links to great coffee roasters at the end of this post.)
Slowly Reduce Sugar and then Cream
Let’s be honest some of you might be actually drinking creamer and sugar with a little splash of coffee instead of the other way around.
If this is you, don’t try and go cold turkey right off the bat. You will shock your system. The first step to slowly reducing your cream and sugar is to measure out how much you actually put in your coffee everyday. I know when I used to drink coffee with cream and sugar I always just eyeballed the color of my coffee and took a sip. If it tasted sweet enough we were good to go.
So if you measure out exactly how much you’re putting in you can began to ease your way into drinking black coffee.
I recommend to start reducing your sugar intake before your cream. For example if you use 3 tablespoons of cream and 2 of sugar, start by using 3 tablespoons of cream and 1.5 tablespoons of sugar.
I like this method better than reducing them both at the same time because I think that the sugar hides more of the coffee’s bitter notes and slowly exposing yourself to these is “the worst part.”But, if you follow step one this actually shouldn’t be so bad.
After you have halved your sugar intake in your coffee start to lower your cream until that is also at half strength.
Rinse and repeat until you have eliminated all of your cream and sugar and can enjoy drinking black coffee.
Try different brewing methods
Brewing methods have a huge impact on the flavor of your coffee. For instance the same beans can be used to make an espresso as well as a your standard cup of coffee from your auto drip maker.
There are a number of ways to make coffee that you can do at home for cheap.
Two of my favorites are the aeropress and and the pour over method.
The pour over method will give you a similar tasting cup to that of an auto drip maker but, if you have a cheap auto drip maker you probably aren’t getting the most out of your coffee. With the pour over method you gain so much more control. You can control the water temperature and brew time to exactly how you want them. Both of these things have huge impacts on the flavor of your cup.
The aeropress is a newer invention in the coffee world. Busting on the scene in 2005, this brewing method gives you a cup that tastes somewhere between a pour over and an espresso. I love the aeropress. When you have great coffee this method pulls out a lot of the awesome flavors that the beans are holding for you.
These aren’t the only two other brewing methods, I wrote a post going into detail about the most popular ones. Click the link below to check that out.
Find your favorite coffee flavor
This is a big one and a very personal one as well. Nobody can tell you what the best tasting coffee is, this is just something that you’re going to have to find for yourself. This is actually one of the most fun parts.If you have never explored the world of fine coffee your view of coffee is about to change a whole lot!
Coffee from all over the world offers different flavors. For example, coffee’s in Brazil may have some nutty or chocolate tones while lots of coffee from Ethiopia will give tons of fruit tones, like blueberries or strawberries.
So if you’re used to grocery store”breakfast blend” coffee then I suggest to start exploring the world of single origin specialty coffee to find a flavor that you wll love.
If this seems overwhelming or a little too fancy for you don’t worry. It’s really not that complicated once you expose yourself to it a little bit. There are lots of resources out there to help you find great coffee. Sweet Marias is a great resource to the coffee world. They sell green, unroasted coffee beans there. If you want to roast at home this is awesome.
If roasting isn’t something you’re interested in sweet maria’s still offers great knowledge. All of their single origin coffee’s are laid out in an easy to read manner. They have great descriptions about what the beans offer flavor-wise.
For more help on developing your coffee flavor palate:
Grind Right and Grind Fresh
This step can be done on any beans and will dramatically improve your flavor. As we learned earlier ground coffee begins to lose it’s freshness within 15 minutes of being ground. Even though you buy your coffee from the store and it’s been vacuum sealed, keeping it fresh that only works for a limited time. Your first cup will probably taste ok. But, your second and third days cup will probably have a huge drop off in flavor. Well you will when you start drinking your coffee black you’ll notice it more. The sugar and the cream help you hide a lot of the bad flavors in that cheap, commodity coffee.
This huge drop in flavor is due to the coffee being exposed to oxygen. Our wonderful life giving oxygen also takes our great coffee freshness from us. Ground coffee has more surface area exposed to it than whole bean coffee does, this allows more oxygen exposure.
So, now that we know we should be grinding right before we brew we should also match our grind size to brew type. A quick break down of grind type for brew type is here:
- Fine: Espresso
- Medium/fine: Pour Over
- Medium: Auto drip
- Coarse: Cold Brew, French Press
For a More in-depth look at grind types check this out:
So, Those are some things that I think you can start doing to ease your way into drinking black coffee. The biggest take away I think you should get from this is to buy better beans. That will be the easiest way to start kicking the cream and sugar.It’s great when you have coffee that is actually worth drinking for the flavor rather than the energy boost
Once you get used to drinking black coffee there is nothing better. Black coffee, like beer, is an acquired taste, you will have to get used to drinking it this way. Any beer lover or black coffee drinker can tell you that they are so glad that they went through the process of acquiring the taste.
Cheap coffee makes this process a whole lot harder.
Here are some great specialty coffee roasters that will give you a great tasting cup of black coffee.
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