many people, many coffees

As you can see, we drink coffee a lot of different ways around here. We buy pre-ground and whole beans. We make 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.

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

toddler morning snack

This is what my mornings without Nate look like. I get Sidekick settled in the jumper while I feed Some Boy 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 Mom 2.0.

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.


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 brewing a good cup. 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.

how to make black coffee for one

Rock on.

How do you take your morning cup?