You might not find this in a restaurant menu per se, but baristas everywhere will ask you if you want your coffee black. You might hear other talk about how they only drink their coffee black. Which sounds odd, what else color does a coffee come ?
Well, as it turns out, black coffee is both simple and a sort of rite of passage for any coffee drinker. Let me explain.
So what is black coffee ?
Black coffee is simply brewed coffee without any added sugar or milk or flavorings. It is the pure form of brewed coffee, and it has the strongest coffee taste. Black coffee is often described as bitter and bold, and it's the most efficient way to detect the true flavor of the coffee you're using.
All brewed coffee, no matter the brewing method, is black coffee as long as you add nothing else to the brewed coffee.
Adding milk or sugar or anything else to flavor it will change the taste. This is why you will find hardcore coffee lovers annoyed by the idea of any other kind of coffee than a black one.
Black coffee is the purer version of your average cuppa
But why is black coffee considered superior (at least by the 'true' fans) ? Well, it has to do with the taste. As I said above, adding anything to your coffee will alter its taste. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
In a way, adding anything to your coffee is a sort of no-no, since a good coffee will have a good flavor on its own. It will be a bit bitter, but that's part of its charm.
There are different flavors, more fruity coffees, chocolate-toned coffees, spicy ones, take your pick. You'll only be able to observe the coffee's true taste and texture if you brew it black.
So black coffee is the pure essence of the coffee you've bought. But the exact same coffee will taste different, depending on how you brew it. You might like a black espresso, but hate the Americano version.
This is because the espresso uses a small amount of water in relation to the coffee grounds, and passes through them at a much faster rate. and is boiling hot.
This will give you an espresso with that creamy foam on the top, with just an inch of actual coffee to enjoy. It's the most concentrated coffee out there.
An Americano is an espresso mixed with quite a bit of water. It's almost lighter than a filter coffee. Some people love their coffee this way, and they can enjoy it for longer since there is more actual coffee to drink. Some find this an abomination, but to each their own.
Not everyone is fine with black coffee - and that's okay
I for one used to drink black coffee exclusively. This was in college, and I always made a big ol' mug of coffee to help me through the night when studying.
What I discovered about myself, after drinking coffee only black, was that I always left about an inch on the bottom of the mug, and hated it when it got cold. It often did, because a mug is big, ya know.
So I went the other way for a few years, with 2-3 lumps of sugar for half a mug of coffee, and the rest milk. Yes, half my mug was milk.
In time I discovered that both black coffee and milk coffee are great in their own way. I can hear a few coffee fans groaning, but to each their own.
The truth is, black coffee can be both delicious and harsh. Not everyone is going to be okay with that level of flavor. And to some it might just taste too bitter, or even a bit sour (regardless of brewing method).
This can be both saved by changing the coffee you buy and the coffee to water ratio, to make the black coffee your own. But, most people will tend to add just a bit of milk or sugar or both to their coffee.
And I think that's kind of cute. It's our own personalities in a way, and we're staying true to what we like or don't like when we take our coffee black or not.
If you'd like to switch to black coffee, I can tell you how to do it in 6 days. But sticking with black coffee is harder than switching to it, so be warned.
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In the end, it's a matter of taste but there are some advantages
It's a matter of taste, a lot like with dark chocolate. For example I absolutely love the 85% cocoa ones, my boyfriend can't stand the bitterness. I can detect the flavor of the cocoa and enjoy it, he can't get past how dark it tastes.
To each their own, and it's the same with coffee. But, there are some things you can only get from drinking your coffee black.
For example the actual flavor of the coffee will always, always be obvious and noticeable in a black coffee. So if you've just bought a new coffee, make yourself a nice black cup for the first test. As strong or as light as you like, that's up to you. But it's the only way to find its true taste.
Another advantage is that by not adding cream or sugar you're reducing the amount of fats and carbs you're putting into your body. Maybe you need to cut them down, or maybe you don't. But if you're on a fitness spree then black coffee is actually the smarter way for you to go. Especially if you drink several coffees throughout the day.
If and when you find the perfect balance of water in your coffee, the perfect brewing method for your tastes, you'll notice what I did. Black coffee, as opposed to milk coffee, boosts you energy and mood.
They're both coffee, yes, but the milk and sugar sort of steal the coffee's thunder, and it doesn't work its magic quite as well. It still wake you up, but the mood-enhancing benefits aren't there as much.
Depending on how much coffee you put in your cup, black coffee might actually keep you on the healthier side. If you're drinking an espresso in the morning and that's all you need for the day, you're good. You're not overdosing your liver or giving yourself the hypertension that comes with drinking large amounts of coffee for years on end.
In the end it's all a matter of taste. I said a few lines above that being able to drink black coffee is like a rite of passage. It a way it is. You don't have to drink black coffee every time you pour a cup, but you need to be able to appreciate the flavor of a black coffee when you're trying out a new one.
And there's always that one host who has no milk or sugar in their home for some reason, so black coffee is all you're getting.We all have that one friend.
But you do you, and take your coffee any way you like it. I still put a lump of sugar in, and a bit of milk. Sometimes coconut milk. Sometimes I add a bit of vanilla or rum extract. I like options and tweaking with my coffee, so if you like messing with yours too then go ahead.
Just remember that black coffee is the base for all coffees, and deserves its own respect.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?