This is a guest post from Kieran MacRae resident coffee lover at Above Average Coffee. If you are trying to watch your health then these tips will help you enjoy black coffee.
Why love black coffee?
No one wants to be labelled as a fake coffee lover. Although it is delicious, a coffee laden with creamer and syrup is not the healthiest choice and it does dampen down the coffee flavour to almost non-existent in some cases.
If you’ve always wanted to be the sophisticated type that sips black coffee in a truly instagrammable manner then here’s how you do it.
Coffee naturally contains compounds that give it an intense and sometimes bitter flavour that can be difficult to enjoy when you first take a sip. To get you over this hurdle and to a place where you really truly enjoy black coffee, I’ve comprised this guide to help you out.
We’ll start with the important, what not to-dos, and then we will cover what to do and finally how to brew coffee to make it taste great on its own.
Tips of what not to do
Jump Right In With Espresso
If you’re keen to train your palate to appreciate the rich complexity of black coffee then the last thing you want to do is jump straight in with the strongest brew.
An espresso is incredibly intense and often too much for first-time drinkers. You don’t want to end up putting yourself off coffee so opt for an americano to begin with until you’re fully appreciating all the delicious flavours.
Use Old Beans
The older the coffee beans, the more aromas and flavours are lost. Brewing java with old beans can lead to a stale, disappointing brew that will do nothing to excite you for all the flavours coffee can boast.
Use the freshest beans you can find and this will transform your black coffee to new heights.
Use a Tricky Brew Method
There are several brew methods that can be tricky to get right or that can be prone to producing bitter coffee. The use of a coffee percolator or Moka pot isn’t the best option for beginners as they have a tendency to enhance the bitter notes in coffee.
The higher the brew temperature the more risk you have of burning coffee and this is the most common reason for people needing to add sweeteners and creamers to their morning cup of joe.
How to enjoy black coffee – things to do
Use Freshly Roasted Beans
Coffee beans fresh from local roasters are bursting with delicious flavours that give coffee so much depth of flavour you’ll never want to add anything to your mug again.
The ideal time to drink coffee is 5-7 days after roasting so if you’re looking for the richest and most delicious black coffee, this is the time to enjoy it.
Grind At Home
Pre-ground coffee has more surface area to contact oxygen and over time, this leads it to lose flavour notes. The best way to preserve all the coffee deliciousness is to buy whole beans and grind them up at home.
A burr grinder will give you the best results and make sure you choose a grind setting that is recommended for your chosen brew method.
Once you’ve got your hands on some delicious freshly roasted coffee beans the first thing you’ll want to do is reduce or remove any sweeteners you normally add.
This should be done slowly i.e. reduce sugar or sweetener amount gently until it’s barely a sprinkle you add.
The good thing about taking it gradually is your taste buds will adapt to the incremental changes and you’ll barely notice the difference compared to suddenly removing it completely.
Next up, we need to reduce any milk, creamers or anything else you add to your coffee. Again, it’s best to do this slowly as you will barely notice the changes compared to suddenly removing it altogether.
Mind Over Matter
It may be a strange one but what we think about really does affect how our food tastes. The vast majority of cases where people don’t like a certain food can be solved by them changing their mindset towards it.
If you love the smell of coffee but find black coffee a bit too much then sit for a while and inhale the aroma. Keep repeating to yourself how delicious it smells and how wonderful it’s going to taste. Keep your mind dead set on the idea that black coffee tastes wonderful and don’t let it waver.
This may not work the very first time but trust me, if you persevere you’ll suddenly find yourself enjoying coffee black and your mouth watering when you brew it.
Best Brew Method for Black Coffee Novices
Here are some great coffee brew methods that help enhance those delicious coffee flavours and are a good choice for brewing it black.
The Aeropress uses pressure as well as hot water to extract a rich flavour from your coffee beans. It makes a brew similar to an espresso but is a bit sweeter and lighter so perfect for first-time black coffee drinkers.
You want to grind your coffee to a medium-fine grind and follow the brew instructions stated by the manufacturer (there’s also an inverted method that coffee lovers swear by – have a google!).
A pour-over coffee makes a light and flavourful cup that’s easy to drink. There are many pour-over devices such as the Chemex, Hario V60, Bodum and many more.
First, you add the coffee ground to a medium-coarse setting to your filter paper in the funnel portion of the device. Next, you want to pour water that’s around 90°c gently and carefully over the coffee allowing it to drip through into the lower portion of the coffee maker.
The filter papers remove oils and sediment leaving a light and clean cup of java that’s perfect to enjoy black.
The classic French press is a firm favourite amongst coffee lovers and it produces a bold, thick brew that’s a bit more intense in flavour and characterised by the micro sediment suspended in the coffee. If done correctly it makes a truly delicious cup of joe and it is really easy to use.
Add coarsely ground coffee to the pot and pour just enough hot water (195-205°F) over it to wet the grounds. Wait for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ and then top up with the rest of the hot water.
Wait for 4 minutes and then press the plunger down gently and evenly to strain the coffee grounds. Serve and enjoy!
If bitterness is a flavour that you just can’t get over when it comes to black coffee then you have to try the cold brew. It’s a method where the coffee is steeped in cool water for 12 or more hours to gently extract the flavour. Because the water is cold you won’t find any hint of bitterness here.
All you need to do is add coarsely ground coffee into a pitcher of cold water and store it in the fridge overnight (or even at room temperature). The next day, you strain away the coffee grounds using a cheesecloth, french press or tea strainer and there you have a cold brew!
You can top it up with cold water until it tastes just right for you. Cold-brew can be enjoyed as it is, over ice, or you can even warm it up and drink it hot. This brewing method makes a distinctively sweet cup of coffee and is the ideal choice to get you into taking it black.
There are lots of great options to brew coffee in a way that makes it really easy to enjoy without any milk or sugar. Make sure you use the freshest coffee beans available and gradually work your way to a strong black cuppa, don’t jump in too soon otherwise you may put yourself off for good. If you really can’t avoid cream why not try some healthier alternatives to cream?
Keep that mindset positive and before long you’ll be artfully sipping that black java with the sophistication of a true coffee connoisseur. changing your drinking habits can help you lose weight more easily too.
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