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What Is Black Coffee? Benefits & Side Effects

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Black coffee is a coffee drink where you don’t add cream and sweeteners. And it’s not espresso. Instead, it’s made from one of many brewing methods. Learn more about black coffee and the brewing methods while reading through this piece.

As a coffee enthusiast, I should know everything about coffee. Even more information about the obvious culprits (like black coffee). There’s more than meets the eye.

You’ll find these points while reading:

Read on to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Black coffee is a coffee drink without sweeteners, cream, or other flavorings
  • Black coffee isn’t espresso
  • Make black coffee with a drip coffee maker, French press, cold brew, or other brewing methods
  • A better way to drink coffee for people who want to avoid sugar

What is Black Coffee?

TasteBold, slightly bitter, & dependent on bean type and roast
AromaRich & varied depending on roast and origin
Mouth feelLight to full-bodied, depending on brewing method
Caffeine level *95 mg per 8-ounce cup (on average)
Calories2–5 per 8-ounce cup
Other names for black coffeePlain coffee, drip coffee, filter coffee

Black coffee is a coffee drink without milk, sweetener, or cream. To maintain the name “black coffee,” you’d need to serve the drink without additional flavorings like milk, honey, and other additives.

And its serving is usually 8 oz (236 ml). It doesn’t matter what type of roast you use. But whatever roast you use will impact your coffee’s taste and caffeine content. For instance, lighter roasts have a teeny bit more caffeine and retain more of your bean’s flavor.

Make black coffee using one of the following brewing methods:

  • AeroPress: a more portable option
  • Cold brew: less acidic & caffeinated
  • French press: doesn’t require a filter
  • Pour-over: gives you control over your drink’s strength, temperature, texture, & taste
  • Drip coffee: a bit more acidic

It’s an ideal way of getting your caffeine fix without any of the unhealthy ingredients in creamers.

How to Make Black Coffee

You’ll need the following to prepare black coffee:


  • 8-ounce cup

Brew time:

  • 3 min–24 hours
    • The time to brew will vary by brewing method

Here are the different methods of making black coffee:

1. Cold Brew


  • 1 cup (128 g) of coffee beans
  • Filter: depends on the maker used
  • 4 cups (946 ml)of hot water

The amount of coffee beans and water needed may depend on the cold brew maker used.

Brew time:

  • 12–24 hours

I can’t provide exact steps. As each cold brew maker’s steps will vary.

For instance, my Hario Shizuku Slow Drip requires me to dump coffee beans into a holder and then place a filter on top. From there, I mount the water carafe on the coffee jar and fill it with water.

Over 12–24 hours, water drips through the beans and into the coffee jar. And the water will do the rest of the work for you.

Ensure you store this at room temperature. Until the heated water cools.

2. AeroPress


  • 1 scoop of super fine grind coffee beans
  • AeroPress device

Time to make: 2 min


  1. Scoop the coffee beans into the AeroPress
  2. Pour hot water into the device until it reaches the top of the “3” circle
  3. Wait 30 seconds for the coffee to extract
  4. Use the stirring rod & give your coffee 3 stirs
  5. Fill with boiling water until it reaches the top
  6. Screw on the filter cap & wait a minute and a half
  7. Place your cup on top of the AeroPress & plunge all the coffee out of your brew chamber

3. Pour-over


  • 29 grams coffee beans
  • Pour over device
  • Cone filter
  • 20 oz of hot water

Brew time: 2 min

Steps to make:

  1. Boil your water
  2. Place filter in your dripper
    1. No need to pre-wet it, unless you’re using a #2 filter
  3. Fill the filter with coffee
  4. Pour water over your coffee grounds
    1. Ensure all grounds are saturated

You’ll want to do 4 separate pours. Each pour should last 15 seconds each. Before the following pour, wait 30 seconds for the water to seep.

4. French Press


  • 8 tablespoons coffee beans
    • Use a coarse grind
  • French press
  • Wooden spoon

Brew time: 4 min


  1. Rinse your press with hot water
    1. Doing so helps ensure better flavor extraction from coffee beans
  2. Add the ground coffee beans to your French press
  3. Fill the French press halfway with hot water
  4. Wait 1 minute
  5. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the layer at the top of your coffee
  6. Add more hot water (until it reaches the top)
  7. Let coffee brew for 4 minutes
  8. Place the lid on your press & push the plunger all the way down

5. Drip Coffee


  • Drip coffee maker
  • Coffee beans: varying amounts needed, depending on the machine
    • Coarse grind
  • Coffee filter: paper or reusable, compatible with your drip coffee maker.
  • Water: amount needed varies by coffee maker

Brew time: 4-6 min


  1. Measure the desired amount of coffee beans
  2. Grind the beans to a medium consistency
  3. Place a filter in the drip coffee maker’s basket
  4. Add the ground coffee to the filter
  5. Pour water into the coffee maker’s reservoir
  6. Turn on the machine & wait for your coffee to brew
  7. After 4-6 minutes, when brewing is complete, pour the coffee into a cup

Potential Health Benefits & Risks of Drinking Black Coffee

Some benefits and risks of drinking black coffee post include [1, 2, 3]:

Potential Health BenefitsPotential Health Risks
Boosts metabolismInsomnia
Enhances cognitive functionHeartburn
Lowers risk of type 2 diabetesAnxiety
Reduces risk of Parkinson’s diseaseElevated blood pressure
Rich in antioxidantsStained teeth
Supports heart healthBone loss
Improves physical performanceDependence or addiction
Lowers risk of certain cancersGastrointestinal issues
Reduces risk of depressionNutrient interaction

Potential health benefits and risks associated with drinking black coffee.

Black Coffee vs. Other Coffee Drinks

Let’s compare black coffee to other types of drinks many folks commonly confuse them with:

DrinkIngredientsCaffeine Content *Brew Time
Black CoffeeHot water & ground coffee95–200 mg4–6 minutes
Long BlackEspresso and hot water (reversed)63–130 mg25–30 seconds
AmericanoEspresso & hot water63–130 mg25–30 seconds

Ingredients, caffeine content, and brew time of black coffee, long black, and Americano drinks.

I’ll emphasize the differences among these drinks more throughout the following sections.

1. Black Coffee vs. Long Black

  • Black coffee starts with hot water poured over ground coffee, while a long black is espresso poured over hot water
  • Black coffee has a milder taste, while a long black is bolder and stronger
  • A long black has a rich crema layer on top, while black coffee does not
  • Black coffee uses drip or immersion brewing, while a long black uses an espresso machine

A black coffee, prepared by pouring hot water over ground coffee, offers a milder and smoother taste than a long black. I prefer this when I want a gentle start to my day. The brewing method, such as drip or immersion, affects black coffee’s flavor profile.

A long black, made by pouring espresso over hot water, presents a bolder and more intense flavor. This is my go-to when I need a powerful caffeine kick. The rich crema layer on top adds to the visual appeal and enhances the taste.

The primary differences lie in the preparation, flavor, crema, and brewing method. Choose black coffee for a milder, smoother experience or a long black for a bolder, stronger one.

2. Black Coffee vs. Americano Coffee

  • Black coffee uses hot water poured over ground coffee, while an Americano combines espresso & hot water
  • Black coffee has a milder taste, while an Americano has a bolder, espresso-like flavor
  • Black coffee utilizes drip or immersion brewing, whereas an Americano requires an espresso machine
  • Americano has a more diluted taste due to the added hot water, compared to black coffee

An Americano, which combines espresso with hot water, provides a bolder and more robust flavor. I enjoy this when I want an espresso-like taste but with a more diluted intensity. An espresso machine is necessary to create the Americano, though.

The differences between black coffee and an Americano lie in their preparation, flavor, brewing method, and dilution. Opt for black coffee if you prefer a milder experience. Or an Americano for a bolder yet diluted espresso-like taste.


Read on, and you’ll find a bunch of frequently asked questions about black coffee.

Does Starbucks have Black Coffee?

Yes, it does!

Can Black Coffee Help with Weight Loss?

Black coffee may aid weight loss by boosting metabolism and suppressing appetite. But you should combine it with a healthy diet and exercise for best results.

What is the Difference Between Black Coffee, Espresso, & Americano?

Black coffee is brewed using various methods and served without additives, while espresso is a concentrated shot made with high pressure. An Americano is a diluted espresso with added hot water, offering a milder taste.

What is the Ideal Water-to-Coffee Ratio for Brewing a Cup of Black Coffee?

The ideal water-to-coffee ratio for brewing a cup of black coffee is typically 1:15. Meaning one part coffee to fifteen parts water.

Can Black Coffee Be Made Using Any Type of Coffee Bean or Roast Level?

Yes, black coffee can be made using any type of coffee bean or roast level, allowing for a variety of flavors and profiles.

Is There a Difference in Caffeine Content Between Black Coffee & Other Coffee Drinks?

Caffeine content varies across coffee drinks, but black coffee typically contains more caffeine per ounce than milk-based or diluted coffee beverages.

Can I Add Milk, Cream, or Sweeteners to Black Coffee?

You may add milk, cream, or sweeteners to black coffee according to your preference, although it’s traditionally served plain.

What is the Difference Between Iced Black Coffee & Hot Black Coffee?

Iced black coffee offers a refreshing, chilled experience, brewed either hot and then cooled down, or cold brewed for a smoother taste.

Hot black coffee delivers a warm, traditional coffee experience, prepared using hot water poured over ground coffee.

How Should I Store Coffee Beans or Grounds for My Black Coffee?

To ensure the best taste and freshness, store coffee beans or grounds in an airtight, opaque container, away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture, at room temperature.


Black coffee is a drink without sweeteners and cream. Only coffee and water. Since it doesn’t use espresso, it’s not an Americano or long shot.

To make a great-tasting coffee, you’ll need high-quality beans. Check out our guide on the best coffee beans.


* Caffeine content varies depending on factors such as bean type, roast level, and preparation method. The provided values are approximate ranges for an 8-ounce serving.

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Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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