5 Best Dark Roast Coffee

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on February 23rd, 2023

If you really love coffee, by now, you must be aware that you are more likely to buy sub-par beans if not keen when shopping. I have found kicking myself several times for buying the wrong beans, and honestly, the experience was horrible. I wouldn’t wish you to make the same mistakes, and that why I have prepared this guide. 


Quick glance

Please note that this piece will cover dark roast beans exclusively. For other roasts, stay put for the upcoming guide – it will be ready in a few days.

stack of coffee beans on person's hand

What is dark roast coffee?

As the name suggests, dark roast coffee is normally dark brown in color and often has an oily surface that is noticeable when you brew the beans. These coffees have a heavy body, low acidity, and tend to reveal deeper, darker flavors. Dark roast coffee is roasted longer at an internal temperature of 240 °C.

Dark roast coffee varieties 

  • Italian – this is Starbuck’s specialty and is made especially to bring out sweetness and intensity. 
  • Continental – this originates from Belgian and French traditions. The beans are roasted as much as possible to bring out their max potential flavor. 
  • Espresso – these normally have an oily and shiny exterior and are almost black in color. 
  • French – this variety of coffee showcases all coffees’ darkest color and features a smoky and rich flavor.
  • New Orleans – this is a dark and bold roast that showcases a nut-like finish. 
  • Viennese – this dark roast variety is normally characterized by tiny oil spots on the beans and deep color. 

Which beans make the best dark roast coffee?

While any coffee beans can be roasted, some do better than others. Often beans that have higher sugar profiles are normally preferred. Here are some of the beans that make good dark roasted coffee.

  • Sumatra Mandheling
  • Guatemala Antigua
  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
  • Colombian Supremo
  • Tanzania Peaberry

Bonus! While some people prefer to purchase single-origin coffee beans, some choose dark roast coffee that is blended from several different types of beans. Such coffee tends to have a unique flavor profile and gives the coffee lovers a lot of options.

What coffee beverages can be made with dark roasted coffee?

From experience, you can prepare just about any brew with dark roasted coffee beans or grounds. It works well in percolators as well as for automatic drip brewers. Where it really excels, though, is in milk-based drinks. 

These coffees are suitable for cold brews such as those Starbucks make and espresso drinks. Brews such as macchiatos normally depend on the strong flavor of dark roasted blends to rise up through the dairy products to the coffee drinker’s lips.

What else can you prepare with dark roasted coffee?

There is a lot you can do with dark roasted coffee. I use it also to make one of my favorite drinks: Holiday Dark Hot Chocolate. Here is how to prepare it.

What you need:

  • 1 cup of brewed dark roasted coffee
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 ounces of dark chocolate
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Whipped cream
  • 4 coffee cups
  • 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  • Mix the whole milk, sugar, and cream in a saucepan and whisk them together over medium heat. Make sure that the mixture doesn’t come to a boil, and be sure to whisk continuously.
  • Add the dark chocolate and allow it to melt. Make sure it is fully melted before continuing.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
  • Add 2 ounces of dark roasted coffee to each cup. 
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the coffee until the mixture is about an inch away from the cup’s rim.
  • Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (optional).
  • Sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg on top of the whipped cream.
  • Enjoy your hot cup of holiday chocolate!

Brewing

While you can just throw your dark roasted coffee into your automatic drip coffee maker and get a fine pot of coffee, you will prepare a better tasting brew if you stick to acceptable brewing methods. Here are some tips on how to make a better cup of dark roasted coffee:

  • Be sure to use a coarser grind when brewing this type of coffee
  • Consider using a cold brew method of preparation
  • Use purified water instead of tap water
  • Grind your coffee beans right before brewing
  • Don’t let dark roasted coffees brew for long
  • For hot coffee preparation, use water that is cooler than what you would normally use

What does dark roast coffee taste like?

With the right dark roast, this coffee is normally characterized by minimal acidity, nut, caramel, and chocolate tastes. Dark roasts are often bold and rich, full of body and texture.

Is dark roast coffee more bitter?

Dark roasted coffee is normally roasted for a longer period, and as a result, more flavors from the bean’s origin are lost, resulting in a substantial bitterness to their taste. They have higher caffeine content (the degree of roasting does not substantially affect the amount of caffeine in the coffee) and are cheaper than light roast.

Is dark roast coffee healthier?

Compared to light roast that has a higher content of chlorogenic acid, dark roast coffee is healthier. Keep in mind that consuming a higher dose of chlorogenic acid has been linked to stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Is dark coffee stronger than light roast?

No, it isn’t. It is a common misconception that roast level impacts caffeine content. If you really want to have a stronger cup, just use more grounds when you are brewing.

What is the right temperature to brew dark roast coffee?

While the right temperature is up for debate, it should be in the range of 195 – 205 °F. If temperatures are allowed to go past this range, roasts burn and ruin the good flavor.

Best dark roast coffee of 2020

Now that you know a lot about dark roast coffee, here are some top brands I enjoin you to try. 

Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast

Key features:

  • Origin: India and Peru 
  • Type of beans: Robusta and Arabica blend 
  • Bag size: 1 pound, 1 pound (2 packs), 5 pounds 
  • Flavor: notes of chocolate and cherry  
  • More features: Kosher certified, Fair Trade, and USDA Organic, low-acidity blend, small-batch roasting, highly caffeinated

Touted as the world’s strongest coffee, Death Wish has continued to grab the attention of many. Has it grabbed yours? It contains double the amount of caffeine in each cup compared to average coffee. Besides the high caffeine continent, it also has some fascinating tasting notes, including cherry, chestnut, nutty, and chocolate. 

Its distinct taste is something most people appreciate, though some might not like it. If you happen to give it a shot, you will like how smooth it is and its low acidity level. 

This coffee is organically grown, so be sure you will enjoy a chemical-free java.

Pros

  • Smooth taste 
  • Uniquely packed 
  • Packs a caffeine punch 
  • Great packaging 
  • Organic coffee 

Cons 

  • Distinct coffee taste is not for everyone

Koffee Kult Gourmet Coffee Beans

Key features:

  • Origin: Brazil, Colombia, and Sumatra 
  • Type of beans: pure Arabica 
  • Bag size: 1 pound, 2 pounds, 5 pounds 
  • Flavor: notes of cinnamon, cocoa, smooth, heavy body, bright with a long finish  
  • More features: no bitterness , no oil, balanced acidity, small-batch roasting, great for Aeropress, French press, pour-over, drip, and espresso coffee drinks

Koffee Kult Gourmet Coffee Beans is one of the beans that arrive fresh and yield great tasting java. It is a blend of Arabica beans sourced from Sumatra, Guatemala, and Columbia and has a bold flavor that is never bitter. Its low acid profile makes it suitable for those with sensitive stomachs. 

Although its packaging might be a little annoying, the housed product won’t disappoint. 

Pros 

  • Impressive consistency 
  • 3 sizing options 
  • Great smell 
  • Bold but smooth taste 

Cons 

  • Beans can be quite weak

Kicking Horse Coffee Kick Ass

Key features:

  • Origin: Indonesia and South America 
  • Type of beans: 100% Arabica 
  • Bag size: 10 ounces, 34.2 ounces 
  • Flavor: chocolate malt, licorice, molasses, and an earthy lingering finish  
  • More features: shade-grown, ideal for French press, pour-over, drip machine, and cold brew

Sourced from South America and Indonesia, these beans are carefully selected at the Rocky Mountains base. They are kosher certified, organic, and Fairtrade certified. When brewed, they produce a flavor with notes of licorice, chocolate malt, and molasses, although sometimes it can be slightly bitter.

Pros

  • Highly rated taste 
  • A unique and distinct taste 
  • 3 sizes available 
  • Certified as organic 

Cons 

  • Some clients received a stale batch of beans 

Cafe Don Pablo Organic Coffee

Key features:

  • Origin: Honduras 
  • Type of beans: 100% Arabica 
  • Bag size: 2 pounds (2 packs) 
  • Flavor: chocolaty and rich with a profound depth of flavor, velvety body  
  • More features: organic certified by CCOF, low acidity, GMO-free, small batches slow roasting

Looking for dark roast coffee suitable for any brewing method? You won’t go wrong with this one. Although they look oilier than other dark coffee beans, the satisfying aroma and flavor will make you forget about that. They are sourced from Honduras and have a silky body with a low-acid level and chocolate taste profile. 

Pros

  • Doesn’t cause acidity issues 
  • Deep flavors 
  • Great for all brewing methods 
  • Made organically 

Cons 

  • Can be stuck with a large bag

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Peet’s goes to any length to source quality bean from around the world purposively to make sure your brew tastes better. Although it can get bitter overtones if too much of it is used, it often makes a rich and complex flavor profile. It is packed in a bag that keeps the grounds fresh, and it’s a good blend for French press, drip, or cold brew brewing.

Pros

  • Great to brew at any time of day.
  • Rich flavorful taste.
  • Sourced from 9 roasters.

Cons

  • May have a laxative effect.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. Remember to support us by purchasing through the Amazon/Walmart/Impact Radius links provided. Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.