What is black coffee?

  • By: Steve
  • Date: May 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

 

Black coffee is the liquid that comes from adding water to ground coffee beans. White coffee is more popular than black coffee because there are more ways to change the flavour with milk and sugar but good black coffee allows you to taste the real flavour.

Most people drink white coffee because so much coffee is mass-produced to satisfy the huge worldwide demand and as a result a lot of cheap coffee is poor quality.

Poor quality coffee tastes bitter or sour and is not pleasant on the palette and so the best way to mask or change the flavour is to add milk or sugar or both.

Black coffee is better for you than white coffee because it’s pure without any added sugar or milk and so if you can make the switch, black coffee is a lot more rewarding from a taste and health perspective.

If you normally drink white coffee then by changing the method you use to make your coffee and the quality of coffee that you buy then drinking black coffee will become an experience to be enjoyed and can be far better than white coffee.

Why is black coffee better for you than white coffee?

If you care about calorie control as part of your diet then you’ll be pleased to hear that on its own black coffee has absolutely zero calories so there is no need to allocate any of those precious daily calories to coffee because from a calorie management perspective black coffee is free.

Only when you start to add milk and sugar does it start to add calories to each cup you drink.

You need to limit the amount of sugar that you consume each day and if you take sugar with your coffee and you drink 3 or more coffees a day then you are going to use up a big chunk of your daily sugar allowance.

Sugar in coffee is mostly used to mask the flavour of poor quality coffee so once you find the right coffee and love the taste you won’t need sugar anymore because you will want to taste the coffee, not the sugar.

If you buy coffee from a coffee shop and ask for a latte they will always give you full fat (3% fat) milk not semi-skimmed unless you specifically ask for it.

Full-fat milk like sugar masks the taste of poor quality coffee.

To learn more about calories in coffee here is a detailed article:

How many calories in coffee

Once you find the right coffee it can start to become like wine and you really begin to enjoy all of the different characteristics that different coffees bring to the table.

Some people take this very seriously and there is even a specific way to make coffee that will allow you to really taste individual coffees and compare them to others.

If you are looking to find ways to switch from white coffee to black coffee then tasting coffee properly at home is a good way to find black coffee that you like.

World Barista Champion James Hoffman knows pretty much everything there is to know about coffee and in this video, he explains how to taste black coffee at home:

How to make black coffee that tastes good

Coffee is a lot more individual a drink than people think and that is really good news because it means that the most expensive coffee may not be the best fit for you.

For example, I don’t like Colombian coffee. There is something about it that just doesn’t work for me. I just don’t like the flavour.

At first I thought that it must be the quality so I bought more expensive coffee beans from Colombia and I didn’t like those either. But you may love Columbian coffee.

The principle is similar to Marmite. With Marmite you either love it or you hate it (I hate it) but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it just means that it’s not right for you.

There are some rules you should follow in order to weed out the really nasty stuff but after that it’s all about experimenting with different coffees and different brewing methods.

Rule 1 – Don’t drink instant black coffee.

Instant coffee is still the most popular type of coffee that is consumed in the UK with around 70% of us still grabbing the jar of Nescafe coffee granules off the shelf in the supermarket because that is what we have always done.

Instant coffee is the lowest quality of coffee for two main reasons. The first is that in order for it to dissolve fully in water it has to be brewed first and then frozen before being broken down into the granules you add to your cup before pouring over boiling water.

That’s right, instant coffee has already been made months before and then frozen. Coffee always tastes best when fresh so when you drink instant coffee that was made months ago it’s not going to taste very good compared to freshly ground coffee.

Instant coffee is also cheap and cheap means that they have to use low quality coffee beans that have been mass-produced to satisfy the huge demand.

You don’t need to buy expensive coffee beans to get good flavour but its best to steer away from the cheapest.

Here is an article that explains all about instant coffee with a video showing you how it is made:

What is instant coffee?

Rule 2 – Use freshly ground coffee

When you buy a cappuccino or latte in a coffee shop they always use whole coffee beans and grind them just before making your coffee.

It takes longer to do that and it would be much easier if they just used ground coffee that had been ground in advance but it just wouldn’t taste as good if they did it that way.

If you are paying £3 for a cup of coffee Costa or Starbucks or Café Nero want to make sure you come back and want to give you the best flavour possible so they grind the beans at the last minute.

To get the best possible flavour out of black coffee buy coffee beans and grind them yourself. It’s a lot easier and cheaper than you might think.

 This article explains ground coffee in more detail:

What is ground coffee?

Rule 3 – Buy coffee beans to make the best black coffee

Buying coffee beans instead of instant coffee or pre-ground coffee will give you the best chance of enjoying black coffee on its own without milk or sugar.

There are so many different varieties from many different countries around the world that are an absolute delight.

Unfortunately the main supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys mostly do instant coffee and their coffee beans are a bit of an afterthought and are not very good.

M & S and Waitrose do a better job at it so if you have either of those two local to you that’s the place to go.

There are no rules when it comes to beans. You need to buy some and give them a go to see what you like.

If you buy them from a supermarket it’s a bit hit and miss because you don’t know what other people think of them.

We have tried lots of different coffee beans from coffee roasters that are not found in supermarket’s and they are proven winners that are enjoyed by thousands of happy customers.

Here is a detailed guide on how to choose and buy coffee beans with some specific suggestions:

How to choose and buy coffee beans in the UK

Just for a little bit of fun as well here is an article about some very expensive coffee beans that are produced in a very unique way

What is Kopi Luwak Coffee?

Just as important as the coffee you use, the way you brew your coffee can have a dramatic impact on how it tastes.

The final piece in the jigsaw to get the best black coffee is to make it in a coffee maker and not use a teaspoon of instant coffee in a cup.

Different ways to make black coffee

You just add water to coffee to make black coffee, right?

Well, that is true to a certain extent but the way that you add the water to the coffee makes a HUGE difference to how it tastes.

There are many different ways to brew a cup of coffee that does not include adding a spoonful of instant coffee to a cup with boiling water.

If you buy whole coffee beans and grind the beans yourself then making the switch to black coffee will be a pleasure because you will be creating your own cup of coffee rather than one that has been mass-produced and pre-processed as instant coffee is.

With coffee, the difference between making it yourself and using instant coffee is comparable to a rump steak and a fillet steak.

The rump steak is ok and perfectly acceptable to eat but a fillet steak is a luxurious treat that has flavour far superior to the rump steak but it does cost a lot more money.

The good news with coffee is that you don’t have to spend a lot more money at all to get far better coffee than you are drinking if you drink instant coffee, all you need to do is buy some coffee beans and grind them yourself.

If that sounds expensive and time-consuming, it isn’t.

You can freshly grind some coffee beans in 20 seconds and you can do it for as little as £10.

All you need is a coffee grinder.

Blade coffee grinders are the cheapest and are where you should start if you have never done it before.

A blade spins around and chops up the beans ready for brewing.

Burr coffee grinders crush the beans and give a consistent grind fineness and with coffee the more consistent you are the better it is but there is no need to buy a burr grinder if you are just starting out brewing your own coffee.

Here is a detailed article that explains all about coffee grinders:

The best coffee grinders

Once you have a coffee grinder then you just need to choose how to make your coffee.

If that sounds expensive and time-consuming then it can be but it doesn’t have to be.

Completely forget about the super expensive coffee machines you see in coffee shops, if you want a good cup of black coffee then you can get yourself something that will do a good job for as little as £10.

Here are some of the most popular methods in the UK for brewing good black coffee with links to more detailed articles.

Filter coffee machines. This is one of the best and cheapest ways to get a decent cup of black coffee.

People often think that you need to make a whole jug of coffee with these machines but you can brew as little as one mug of coffee for yourself.

They are very convenient and are often one-button operation.

Here is an article that goes through all the different types of filter coffee machines:

Best filter coffee machine

Cafetiere. With this type of coffee machine you don’t even need any electricity.

You just add the coffee and some water, leave it for a few minutes and then push down on the plunger to enjoy a super easy and very tasty cup of black coffee.

This article explains more:

The best cafetieres

Espresso machines. If you want to start making your own espresso-based drinks that you get in a coffee shop then you can consider a pump espresso machine.

These will make a great Americano which is a lovely tall black coffee drink.

This article goes into more detail about the lower-cost options:

Best cheap espresso machine

Bean to cup coffee machines. If you want fresh coffee without any hassle then a bean to cup coffee machine will do it all for you and produce a lovely black coffee with just the press of one button.

You don’t even need a coffee grinder because it does everything for you.

This article explains more:

Best bean to cup coffee machines

You are now armed with everything you need to make a great cup of black coffee.

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