Hot and black. Some say that's the ultimate way to drink coffee. We tend to agree because what better way to taste the beans than to drink the resulting coffee hot and black, the way it was meant to be brewed? But black coffee makes a delicious backdrop to a number of hot or iced specialty drinks, from the popular Americano to the iced mocha latte to one of our favorites, Vietnamese egg coffee (which can be made without sugar). So, no matter how you enjoy your coffee, knowing which grocery store coffee brands to drink black can help boost any coffee drink.
Ask someone what makes a good cup of coffee, and you might get a different answer each time. But a good cup of coffee begins with the beans and brew. Sourcing plays a vital role in the final coffee product, along with your brewing method and chosen water temperature for drinking. From geographical origin to roasting procedures and from the brewing water you use to the ideal serving temperature, therein lies an art to crafting a cup of coffee worthy enough to drink black. It should be bold, rich, smooth, and memorable.
We gathered brands based on regular coffee found at most grocery stores, eliminating flavored blends. Then, we eliminated large-chain coffee shops and store brands. Resulting brands were then chosen based on decades of coffee drinking and brewing, thousands of reviews, and reaching out to other coffee lovers.
Wicked Joe Organics
Wicked Joe Organics is wicked good coffee (and one of our favorites). In New England, the word wicked is a popular slang term meaning over the top, good or bad (or wicked weird in some cases). Wicked Joe Organics is certified organic and fair-trade, offering single-origin coffees, blends, and decaf from coffee growers all over the world. Taking time for and paying attention to detail, Wicked Joe Organics is involved in the coffee-making process, from the raw bean to the final packaged product.
Available as either ground or whole bean, Wicked Joe Organics Bella Maria gives you an overall, enjoyable, and flavorful light to medium roast with a smooth sip that's best not hidden by creamers or sweeteners. Featuring hints of chocolate and fruit, it's a subtly sweet, rich cup of coffee. For a bolder, heartier black coffee, the big house blend is a good get-up-and-Joe as your everyday cup. The dark roast, Wicked Italian, delivers a deep cup of coffee with a kick that leaves no bitter aftertaste and is for anyone who likes black coffee with a bite. Though Wicked Joe comes with a wicked price tag compared to other on-par coffee brands, it's worth the extra cash.
Death Wish Coffee Company
Death Wish Coffee Company gets high praise for its certified organic and fair-trade coffee beans but is known for its caffeine count. The attention-grabbing name either pulls you in or makes you question life choices. Depending where you fall on the scale of coffee drinking, Death Wish may or may not be the bold hit of coffee you're looking for.
With caffeine in one cup that nearly exceeds what's considered the maximum amount of caffeine you can safely consume, you might expect Death Wish coffee to pack a sucker punch and come off too harsh from higher levels of caffeine. But it doesn't. The medium roast is bold, earthy, light, and slightly sweet; it goes down easy. The dark roast is deep and rich, but not in your face. The espresso roast might be too dark for some to drink black, but it provides a richness that holds well when complemented with creamy or sweet ingredients. And though often coveted for the caffeine kick, black coffee is certainly loved for its taste. If you fall into both categories, then Death Wish has you covered. We would advise you, however, to keep an eye on your caffeine level intake.
Sporting a bold blue bag and sunrise-colored logo, Kauai Coffee Company stands out on the shelf with happy, cheerful packaging, and that's how this coffee once landed in our grocery cart. Kauai is pricey for grocery store coffee, but the medium-roasted Blue Hawaiian is bright and strangely reminiscent of a sunny day. How does a sunny day taste? Fresh, light, and makes you smile. The signature medium roast delivers a black coffee that's somewhat floral, which gives the coffee a smooth finish.
Located in Hawaii and the largest coffee grower in the U.S., Kauai Coffee Company is involved in the entire coffee-making process, from bean to mug. Considered a coffee estate — a coffee farm that grows, roasts, produces, and sells its own coffee beans, Kauai Coffee is certified fair-trade and non-GMO, growing several varieties of arabica coffee beans, such as Kauai blue mountain from Jamaican seed, typica from Guatemalan seed, and acaia from Brazilian seed. It's considered one of the best Hawaiian coffee brands among coffee fanatics.
Peet's Coffee is a well-known grocery store coffee brand and popular small coffee shop. We included it in the list since it's not a large chain like Starbucks or Tim Horton's. According to the company, the medium roast, Big Bang, is a best seller and signature blend. A little harsher than Wicked Joe and Death Wish, Peet's medium roast has a light fruity undertone (that light kick of tang that hits the back of your tongue when you first take a sip) with a background note that's rich like chocolate or roasted nuts.
Peet's medium roast could be too light for those who prefer more oomph. With such a smooth finish, it goes down pretty quickly. Customers alsoenjoy the dark roast, Major Dickason's blend, which was named after a loyal customer and is one of Peet's original roast options. It features a mix of earth and spice, and apparently, everything nice. The brand's coffee comes in whole bean, ground, and K-cup options as well, which makes it one of the best grocery store coffee brands, no matter how you choose your morning cup.
If you're a coffee drinker, you're aware Folgers is commercialized to be "the best part of waking up." The catchy jingle made for clever marketing, but Folgers has been a household coffee brand for more than 100 years because of its standards of beans. The company's history is steeped in tragedy, treasure hunting, and the gold rush that led to Folgers coffee; James Folger started his coffee career at the age of 14 years old. Along the way, Folger discovered that mountain-grown beans were superior, which is why Folgers has been a best-selling coffee brand for decades.
Available in a range of roasts and blends, Folgers is one of the top coffee brands we'd grab at the grocery store for our coffee needs. Consistently delivering a reliable black cup of coffee that will, yes, at the very least, be one of the better parts of our morning, Folgers offers a variety of coffees that are enjoyed black, with cream, or in any number of coffee recipes. Bold, rich, and smooth, Folgers covers the bases with options like black silk, an extra smooth roast, simply smooth for sensitive stomachs, gourmet supreme for dark roast lovers, and, of course, the classic medium roast.
Café Bustelo, despite its bright yellow and festive package, might be overlooked on the grocery store shelf amid countless other coffee brands striving for attention with either fancier labels or more intriguing flavors. Despite the cheerful, bold nature of the packaging, it's not a brand you hear about often, and yet it's a favorite in coffee circles. In fact, during our research, it became evident it was a must-try.
Boasting a strong kick of coffee, Café Bustelo sources beans from Latin American countries like Brazil and Nicaragua. The beans offer a rich, earthy cup of coffee that has highlights of roasted nuts. It finishes smooth with very little aftertaste. The truth of Café Bustelo is that it is a good coffee. Ironically, the lower price tag coupled with the mass-produced brand makes you think it might taste cheap, too. But Café Bustelo puts out a grocery store coffee good enough to drink black. It's available in cans, vacuum-sealed bags, K-cups, and instant, and is one of the most affordable java brands on the shelves.
Eight O'Clock Coffee
Eight O'Clock Coffee has a range of coffee to choose from for your daily caffeinated needs (and even your decaffeinated ones). Featuring a single origin to blend with roasts from light to dark, Eight O'Clock delivers a no-frills swig of black coffee. It rates well enough among coffee drinkers, but there isn't too much that makes it stand out from the rest. If you're looking for a consistently good cup of black coffee, you could do a lot worse than this brand. It's affordable, found in many grocery stores, and makes for a solid ingredient for recipes like coffee butter (repeat after us, coffee butter) or coffee gelato (or ice cream — we're flexible).
Eight O'Clock Coffee began in 1919 and was established as a best-selling coffee company long before many of the other brands on this list. Originally sold at the A&P supermarket, Eight O'Clock Coffee got its name after a simple survey determined that the most popular times patrons enjoyed a cup of coffee was either 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. No matter what time you prefer your coffee, Eight O'Clocl has a black coffee offering for your time, including flavored varieties like hazelnut or French vanilla, which are a delicious alternative to plain black arabica beans.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Well-known in Vermont, Green Mountain Coffee is an iconic product that's found in every nook and cranny of the state — from grocery stores to gas stations to any other place that sells coffee, fresh or shelved. Delivering a solid cup of joe, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is one of the largest coffee roasters in the U.S., and though the coffee is quite popular, Green Mountain is also well-known for its connection to Keurig as one of the first K-cup brands to be created. The brand sources beans from a wide range of renowned coffee-growing regions, including Sumatra and single origin beans from Colombia.
Having lived in Vermont for years, this writer has had her share of Green Mountain coffee, and it makes for a decent coffee brand to drink black. Aside from rave reviews provided by everyday coffee drinkers, Green Mountain received accolades from actor Kevin Costner, who gave his stamp of approval through a recent partnership, which launched a new dark roast, Horizon Blend. Green Mountain also makes one of the most affordable cups of joe on the market, so it fits well as one the best grocery store coffee brands to drink black, given the great price point.
Coffee drinkers rank Cameron's as a go-to cup of coffee. It's a great coffee brand to drink black, as the roaster pairs its blends to elicit expressive profiles that make desirable flavor notes. Coffee consumers like Cameron's coffee for its smooth taste, low acidity, rich aroma, and freshness. With its affordable price tag, Cameron's is good to have on hand or for any coffee recipes you can make at home.
Cameron's coffee brand is one of the best you can find in grocery stores and is fairly popular with coffee consumers despite only recently emerging into the brick and mortar nationwide market. Started as a small-batch roaster in the late 70s and early 80s, Cameron's has since morphed into a large roastery that offers multiple blends. Featuring a range of light to dark roasts with flavor profiles that span spicy to fruity and simple to complex, you get to choose from a Jamaican, Hawaiian, or Scandinavian blend, just to name a few. The company prefers to source from small family farms in regions such as Sumatra, Kona, Ethiopia, and South America.
Gevalia is not the same coffee brand as it once was, and that accessibility is for the better. The higher-end, gourmet coffee was one of the first to be roasted fresh and delivered to your doorstep at a time when there wasn't much competition for home-delivered coffee. We remember Gevalia when it was only available directly from the company, and it was this writer's go-to coffee to drink before single-serve coffee makers changed the brewing landscape for the average household. Bought out by Kraft-Heinz (in North America) and JDE Peet's (in other parts of the world), Gevalia later hit grocery store shelves to become widely available to the average coffee consumer. Although it's got stiffer competition these days, the bonus is that it's a great cup that's now made more affordable.
Although Gevalia coffee isn't quite as exclusive anymore, it still ranks as one of the best grocery store coffee brands to drink black because it has a rich, deep taste that can warm up anyone. The traditional Scandinavian roast is always darker, smoky, and with intense notes mixed with a rich boldness. If you're looking for a consistently good cup of black coffee to drink every day, Gevalia light and medium roasts might be the choice to fill your cup. The hints of fruit and caramel and dark roasts exude a practiced approach to roasting coffee.
Wide Awake Coffee Company
Sporting cute cartoon critters with extra large eyes, the fun packaging for Wide Awake Coffee Company indicates an eye-opening cup of coffee for caffeine fans. Favored as an everyday morning cup of joe, Wide Awake Coffee offers multiple roasts and blends with notes of fruit that are sweetly balanced against a richer background. Coffee customers claim this results in a strong, but not bitter, bold cup of coffee. Some reviewers enjoy the smooth, clean taste and prefer drinking the coffee black rather than with cream or sweetener.
Wide Awake Coffee is available for a variety of brewing methods. The beans are sold ground, whole, as pods (for single-serve makers; the pods are even compostable), and cold brew, which is ready to drink. Crafted from 100% Arabica beans, Wide Awake Coffee can be found in stores like Roche Bros., Tops Friendly Markets, Piggly Wiggly, and Brookshires across the U.S.
New England Coffee
New England Coffee has been around for more than 100 years, originating from the city of Boston in Massachusetts. The most popular option is the Breakfast Blend, a medium roast crafted with beans from Africa and South and Central America. Consumers love it for its rich taste, full flavor, and lack of bitterness. The dark roast, Darkest Before Dawn (catchy name), is also popular and valued for a fresh, smooth taste that isn't too overpowering.
New England Coffee sources 100% arabica beans from Central America, Eastern Africa, the East Indies, and South America, offering globally blended roasts that range from light to dark and with multiple flavored blends to try. Its beans are roasted in small batches, and every batch is sampled for quality through a process referred to as cupping, wherein hot water is added to the ground coffee in a cup until a crust develops on top. The crust is broken, and the coffee is evaluated based on smell and taste. The process leads to consistently strong results across all of New England Coffee's blends,
Newman's Own is well-known for its bold and generous 1982 declaration and trademarked phrase, "Let's give it all away." Worthy of a spot for the mission statement alone, 100% of the profits go to kids in need — certainly a good reason to consider Newman's Own in the first place. If you're looking for an affordable, no-frills coffee that gives to a good cause at the same time, Newman's Own fits the bill quite well.
Among salad dressings, sauces, spices, and tea (and many other products), Newman's Own also offers coffee. Keeping it simple with a handful of varieties of ground coffee and K-cups, Newman's Own doesn't stand out much, so for coffee regulars who love understated flavor profiles, you can trust that drinking a black cup of Newman's Own isn't strong or bitter. Customers also praise the charity work. And let's be real: a good cup of coffee that helps children in need will always be a good cup of coffee to drink black.
Originally crafted and processed in Italy, then shipped to the U.S., some bit of LavAzza is now roasted, processed, and packaged in the U.S. Though the entire operations moved in 2022, according to the company, coffee beans sourcing is still done by the same team residing in Italy. LavAzza works closely with coffee farmers wherever its beans are sourced.
The LavAzzo espresso Italiano blend is the most popular to drink black and receives great reviews from many coffee drinkers who prefer lattes and cappuccinos. Coffee consumers enjoy the smooth, bold taste, and most LavAzza coffees are devoid of bitter aftertaste or astringency. This is the mark of a grocery store coffee brand that you can drink black. With such a large range of options to choose from, LavAzza makes for a good coffee brand for multiple brewing methods and is a good option to use for mixed drinks or desserts. And if you're interested in trying it, just avoid these mistakes when making espresso at home.
To create a caffeinated list to consider for your next cup of black coffee, we started with a list of our favorite coffee brands. We eliminated any brand not sold in a regular grocery store. We also struck from the list any coffees from chains, such as Dunkin's, Tim Horton's, and Starbucks. Finally, we reached out to coffee lovers to narrow down the list more.
Aside from offering our decades of experience of drinking black coffee, we scoured the internet for reviews and took to social media to see who was drinking what. We drank gobs of coffee while compiling the list and tried a few new roasts to come up with a well-rounded list of grocery store coffee brands to drink black. With a worthy list in front of us, we reviewed the brands based on experts, customers, coffee fanatics, and our own serious coffee habits. We looked at the variety of roasts and origins brands offered, options for different brewing methods, and the value of the coffee based on price per ounce.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.