How to Make Black Coffee that Tastes Good

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Update: I first wrote this post about how to make black coffee in 2013. I was absolutely bleary-eyed from having had two babies back-to-back, and coffee was my LIFE. This post has been a huge hit, launching me into an ongoing investigation into java. I like it hot. I like it cold. I like it every which way! Below is the original text and photos, along with some updated information as I've researched further. The ever-simple recipe is down at the bottom, just as deliciously-dark and rich as ever.

We drink a lot of coffee. Pre-ground, whole beans and K cups. I've been on a mission to learn how to make black coffee that tastes GOOD. And I've done it! We make coffee a ton of ways: big carafes for the whole day or when we have company, and little French press pots when Nate and I have time together before the kids get up.

How to Make Black Coffee that Rocks

many people, many coffees

Most days, I'm figuring out how to make black coffee for one. Just me and the K-cup. Since going on the Paleo diet, I've most often been drinking black coffee. And to be totally honest, for a while there it kind of sucked…because there's a learning curve for how to make black coffee.

toddler morning snack

This is what my mornings without Nate look like. I get the baby settled in the jumper while I feed the toddler breakfast and contemplate the (literal) pile of stuff I have to deal with for the day.

That mess there is my “to-do/put away” pile that accumulated while I was away at a conference recently.

how to make black coffee

So that first cup of coffee in the mornings is a big deal. It's important that it taste good, strong, rich. It needs to jolt me out of my haze and help me feel good about tackling my day. On days like this, a less-than-stellar cup isn't even worth the energy it takes to make. Clearly, it became imperative that I learn how to make black coffee properly.


My mom's been a long-time lover of coffee. I can still remember her sending me up to the counter for her usual when I was a kid. “Double-tall nonfat extra hot latte with extra foam, no whip.”

We lived in the coffee-loving city of Seattle before coffee was uber chic, and I like to think I inherited some of my mom's refined cafe preferences. But the fact remains that at 20-something years old, I still hadn't figured out how to make black coffee that didn't taste like mud to me. So I snooped around her kitchen when we were up to visit last weekend to see how she does it. “What's this coffee brand on your counter, mom? Gevalia?”

“Oh, yes,” she explained. “I've been drinking that coffee for years.”

I picked her brain a little more to get the lowdown on how to make black coffee. Here are the biggest tips I picked up.

Tips for making black coffee that actually tastes GOOD.

How to Make Black Coffee

  • Choose a premium coffee brand. Don't go for the bottom-of-the-shelf stuff that you find in cans.
  • Find the right level for you. My mom likes the richness of French Roast, whereas I'm more of a medium brew gal because it's not so overwhelming.
  • Use filtered or bottled spring water.
  • Use the right equipment. Bargain paper filters and cheap metal pots can impart strange tastes into your brew. Also, don't forget to clean your coffee maker by running some vinegar through it monthly.
  • Go big or go home. I typically use 2 tablespoons per cup. Weak coffee is more likely to be bitter.
  • Drink it fresh and don't overheat it. A good coffeemaker brews coffee at around 200 degrees for 45 seconds and doesn't let coffee sit on a warmed platform after brewing.

I knew that Gevalia would be the perfect blend for me to learn how to make black coffee with…IF I could find K-Cups. I'm loving the convenience of good coffee in a hurry, and it's nice not to have to clean the whole pot on days when it's just me. Amazon has them in a medium blend (my favorite) at an awesome price.

Gevalia K-cup

I never fully understood how K-Cups worked until I got my own machine. Each little pod is basically a small packet of coffee grounds. The machine pokes a hole in the top and bottom of the packet that the water drips through, just like a mini version of a big coffee maker. The small serving size and ease of clean-up makes for the perfect cup with no hassle. We even take our machine camping sometimes!

how to make black coffee for one

Rock on.

If you're into cold brew, we have a pretty amazing recipe for that as well. And butter coffee? Got ya covered there as well! How about coffee cupcakes, coffee cookies or coffee beef? Check, check, check.

Also worth mentioning: rumor has it that drinking black coffee every day can help with losing weight. I've actually experienced a fair amount of easy weight loss since switching to a carb-cycling lifestyle, where I drink only coffee in the morning and hold off until later to have food.

Some doctors say that chances of developing certain types of cancer may be reduced for people who drink coffee daily, as well as increasing brain function. Many people who drink daily say that coffee can boost memory. Cardiovascular health has also been shown to remain steady among coffee drinkers. The risk of developing liver cancer has actually been shown to be reduced in a couple Japanese studies of coffee drinkers.

So who's ready for some home brewed coffee? I'll definitely take a cup of black coffee in the morning and afternoon, or at least a coffee a day!

Yield: 1 cup

Black Coffee

cup of black coffee

Whether you're using a carafe, a Keurig machine, or a traditional coffee maker, this is how to make a great cup of black coffee.

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp group coffee or 1 K-Cup
  • 8 ounces boiling water


  1. Before making black coffee, check if your machine requires filters. If it does, the manual for your coffee maker will give specific instructions for placing the filter into the machine. Usually it goes into a cone-shaped area.
  2. Insert the coffee into your French Press, pourover carafe or coffee machine. If using a Keurig, place the K-Cup inside the K-Cup insert and close the lid.
  3. Add 8 ounces of water into the machine and press start. If using a French Press or pourover carafe, pour gently and evenly over the grounds and wait 5 minutes before pressing (for French Press) or removing the carafe (for pourover).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

How do you take your morning cup?

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20 thoughts on “How to Make Black Coffee that Tastes Good”

  1. I have noticed that when I drink coffee from my mom’s keruig I don’t need to add cream and sugar.

  2. Hmm I have NEVER tried black coffee. I am in love with creamer. I think that is why I drink coffee-for the creamer 😉 lol

    I will have to check it out!

  3. This is a great post for a coffee lover like myself. I have been slowly weaning myself of the yummy creamers and flavored lates. All your bullet points are great! Thanks for sharing!

    • On my (now rare) trips to the coffeehouse, my baristas are so surprised to see me leaning towards the more gourmet/traditional drinks now rather than the frilly oversweetened stuff. Nate came home with my old favorite the other day and I was like, “Wooooah sugar overload!” Once in awhile I’ll have something special as a dessert now, but my tastebuds have changed quite a lot.

  4. My husband loves coffee and the stronger the better. I haven’t tried Gevalia, but I want to try it!

  5. I am new to your site, found you on Pinterest and anything “COFFEE” catches my eye 😉 Great post. Gevalia has been a fave at our house for a couple of years. They really do make yummy, rich blends for a very reasonable price.

    • Welcome, Jen! Stick around, you’ll find lots of coffee obsession in these parts. I think it’s about time to try my hand at an ice blend with these K-cups. I’ve actually heard you can brew them directly into a cup of ice for ready-to-go iced coffee. I wonder if I could brew it straight into my Magic Bullet blender cup for a super-easy coffee shake!

  6. OMG. Did I know that you were from Seattle? We’re practically sisters! I grew up in Juneau, AK. I consider Seattle my second home, and the best shopping on the planet because they don’t charge us Alaskans sales tax.

    I’m a bit of a coffee aficionado myself. I used to drink my coffee black but then got pregnant with The Stinky, and I couldn’t handle it black anymore. I’m also a fellow Paleo and I LOVE coconut milk (from the can) in my coffee, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract. It tastes like my beloved Vanilla lattes and you eventually trick yourself into thinking you’re drinking sugar. I call it a “Summer Latte”. You should try it sometime.

    • No way!!! I freaking love Juneau. Nate and I actually went on an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon, and talked extensively about moving to Anchorage.

      Mmmm…cinnamon and vanilla in coffee is the best! I think I need to go make one of those right now.

  7. Hey thanks for the recipe! I just made a black coffee and sip it and it tastes nice. 🙂 Thanks a lot! Chelsea!

  8. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog when looking for ways to drink black coffee and I see you’re in San Diego as well! Awesome! I hope we get to meet one day!

    • Hah, small world!! I’m sure we’re bound to bump into each other one of these days. And good luck with the black coffee. That’s how I drink mine every day now!

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