How do you take your coffee? Do you head to a local coffee shop, and watch the barista whip up some heavy cream in a milk jug? Maybe add some cinnamon syrup and sprinkles? Then it goes in a paper cup and you are ready to start the day!
Have you ever thought about taking it back to basics? The best black coffee may not get the recognition it deserves. There are plenty of reasons to drink your coffee black, and pay tribute to those clever little beans! I want to explain why this should be your morning cup.
Black coffee is made from a shot of espresso and hot water. That's it. No need to add milk or cream (that makes it white). Traditionally, black coffee is served without sugar, too. There's no reason why black coffee can't taste great. In fact, it just enhances the natural flavor of the beans. Leaving out the extras allows us to focus on what coffee actually tastes like.
The best coffee to drink black is one made with good quality coffee beans. You'll notice the difference between a good and not-so-good coffee bean. We can mask lower quality coffee beans with things like flavored syrup, sugar, and cream. If you're drinking straight black coffee, only the best beans will do.
There are ways to know you're drinking the best black coffee. If you buy your coffee beans whole from a good source, everything you need to know will be on the bag. It should give you important information like expiry date, origin of bean and roast level. Once you've chosen the best beans, the rest is up to you.
Keep your coffee at its best by storing in a cool, dry, dark place. Only buy coffee that has been freshly roasted - stale coffee tastes bad! Always grind your own beans just before brewing to avoid early oxidation. Before you choose the best coffee beans, here are some things to consider.
It's true that certain areas are just better at growing coffee than others. Call it a natural gift. The environment, the weather, and other factors all go into making the perfect coffee bean.
Often, exotic locations at high altitudes will produce some fine coffees. The weather can be a mix of sunshine and humidity, which coffee plants thrive in. If the plants grow in volcanic soil, that's great too. The beans pick up nutrients from the soil and it adds a unique flavor. Altitude matters because it affects the growing time. Higher up, cherries take longer to develop. This gives them more time to develop sugars and flavors.
A famous area for growing some of the finest coffee is known as "The Bean Belt". This zone is a band of tropical regions, that lie across the equator. It includes countries like Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, etcetera), and Ethiopia. Yep - some of the big names in coffee!
It is best to plant coffee seeds in shaded areas. They need regular water, so seeds are often planted during the wet season. Most countries have one major harvest per year. During the harvest, best results come from hand-picking the crop. This way, experts can use their experience to manually select only the best cherries.
Harvesting is usually a labor-intensive process. The coffee may be strip picked or it can be selectively picked. In the strip picking method, workers strip all cherries from the branch at once. The selective method requires that only ripe cherries are picked individually. This is the method used for the finer coffees around the world.
There are two main varieties of coffee beans. They are Arabica and Robusta. Most people agree that Arabica is the more premium variety. For the best black coffee, choose Arabica beans. I say this because, with black coffee, you can't cover up a bad taste. Going for the better beans means that you won't need to cover anything up!
The main differences between the two types are taste, growing conditions, and price. Robusta coffee plants are easier to grow and yield more fruit. This is one reason they're cheaper to buy. Robusta plants are also better protected against pests and disease.
Arabica beans give us a more delicate, sweet taste. They have tones of sugar and fruit, with a higher acidity. Robusta has a harsher, almost peanutty taste. That's not to say they're not still good, though. Robusta beans are regularly used in espressos for their rich flavor. Ultimately, it comes down to which you prefer.
I know some people are put off by drinking black coffee. "Why would I want to drink beans soaked in hot water?" Adding milk, cream and other extras can be a great way to add flavor to your coffee. For many, it makes it more drinkable.
Instead of asking the above question, they should be asking another. "Is black coffee good for you?" Because it is! Here are some reasons to take your coffee black.
Black coffee is one of the easiest coffees to make. You don't need to concentrate on getting that perfect, fluffy microfoam. You don't need many ingredients, either. I do recommend using an espresso machine for the best results. Grab your machine and follow this simple recipe on how to make black coffee.
The more you practice, the better the results. This gives you even more of an excuse to drink black coffee every morning! Get the espresso right, and the rest of the drink will follow beautifully.
You will need:
Grind your coffee beans just before brewing. The great thing about making your own coffee at home is the control you have. Select the beans and the roast level to suit your tastes. Make sure you check when the beans were roasted, too! The fresher, the better. Some espresso machines have a built-in grinder to save you the work.
Pull the water first. A common misconception is to make a black coffee the other way, with coffee first. Use hot water from your espresso machine to fill the cup. Leave some space at the top for your espresso.
Now pull the espresso. This is the basis of your drink and will make all the difference. It really matters, so follow the instructions of your machine to the letter. Try not to let the shot extract for over 30 seconds. Otherwise, it can over-extract and the coffee will taste burnt.
You'll know you've done it properly if there's a light crema on the top of your drink. Now, take a sip and appreciate all of the qualities of those coffee beans!
We've already gone over the health benefits of drinking black coffee. The sheer amount of benefits may have surprised you! To find out more about the nutritional info of black coffee, check out this table below. The following information is based on an 8oz cup of black coffee.
Does black coffee have calories?
Yes, but not many! An 8oz cup will contain 2-5 calories.
Does black coffee have sugar?
No, there should be no sugar in black coffee. But if you want to add some, no one will stop you.
Caffeine in black coffee
So there you have it! A look at black coffee in a whole new light! Drinking black coffee enhances all of the flavors of those coffee beans. It gives you the chance to experiment with different beans and roasts. You can really become the expert. Not only that, but it's a lot healthier than some other caffeinated options.
For the best black coffee, choose your beans wisely. Follow my guidelines here and you can't go far wrong! What are your favorite beans to use in black coffee?