Devout coffee lovers will tell you that you haven’t tasted true coffee until you’ve tried dark roast coffee. But for varied reasons, a lot of people shy away from the dark brew, probably because of the presumed bitterness and the jacked-up jolt that is associated with this stronger blend of coffee. But does dark roast really mean bitter and strong? And will these 6 dark roast coffee blends convert any non-believer? Read on to find out.
What is Dark Roast Coffee?
A lot of people have this misconception that dark roast coffee beans automatically means highly caffeinated. In truth, roasting the beans for longer (hence the “dark” roast) makes them less caffeinated—the longer roasting process burns off more of the caffeine in the beans. This would mean that light roast blends have more caffeine, despite what most people would automatically assume.
The beans themselves have much to do with how caffeinated the blend will be. There are plenty of classifications of coffee beans, but two of the most popular are the Arabica and Robust avarieties. Of the two, Robusta contains more caffeine. You can check for the bean variety of your favorite blend to know if it packs quite the punch.
Brewing time also plays a role in how much caffeine eventually winds up in your drink. Basically, the longer you brew the ground beans, the more caffeine your coffee will end up having. Coffee made from traditional drip makers will have more caffeine than, say, a French press. Espresso shots actually have the least amount of caffeine, as the beans only stay in the hot water for less than a minute. But you can easily feel the jolt because the single shot is so concentrated as compared to a cup of your regular joe.
So what difference does dark roast coffee have? Easy—longer roasting time means an entirely different flavor profile. What really changes during the roasting process is the flavor, aroma and taste—the “sensual” characteristics of the coffee.
Let’s be honest – when you’re still groggy in the morning, it’s not the first sip of coffee that gets you awake, it’s the smell. Aside from its taste, the aroma is one of the “sensual” characteristics that differentiate the good coffee from the bad. Roasting coffee beans enhances their flavor, in the same way that roasting nuts and smoking bacon does.
Dark roast is different from light roast because the beans are roasted until they produce their natural oils that make the final brew silky smooth. Roasting longer also burns off most of the “bite”, or that acidic aftertaste that is apparent in most light roast variants. This boldness in flavor that slides on smoothly with no acidic aftertaste is what coffee lovers call the “full-bodied” taste. It’s the heart of their obsession with the potent drink.
Now that you’ve had a crash course about dark roast coffee, why not try some and taste the difference? Here are 6 blends that you can try:
1. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans
This hefty 2-lb (32oz or 907.18g) bag is said to have 100% Arabica beans organically sourced from Sumatra, Guatemala, and Columbia.
Koffee Kult tags their dark roast coffee as “artisan roasted”, which guarantees the freshest roasted beans every time.
As for the taste, this blend boasts being the best choice for coffee gourmands, with the blend tasting bold and heavy, smooth, and with a cinnamon-y taste but no bitterness and little to no acidity.
No claims regarding the caffeine content, though the beans are purely of the Arabica variety, so just by judging by the beans, caffeine content isn’t as high.
2. Death Wish Ground Coffee, Dark Roast
Death Wish coffee has made its rounds on the media, as the brand claims to be “the world’s strongest coffee”.
Death Wish came into fruition when its owners tried to look for a dark roast blend that has all the sensual characteristics and the caffeine content as well.
When they came up empty-handed, they decided to create the perfect blend themselves.
Understandably, their blend of coffee beans is a closely-guarded secret, but they say that each brew from this 16oz bag promises the “never bitter”, bold, smooth taste with the hints of chocolate and cherry that its fans praise.
3. Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Whole Bean
Here’s another 100% organic Arabica whole bean roast coffee.
Subtle Earth Organic’s beans come from the Marcala region of Honduras, and are certified by the CCOF to be organic and GMO-free.
While their beans are sourced from Honduras, their roasters are situated in Miami, Florida.
They say that the beans are roasted in small batches per order, so you can get them as fresh as possible.
This 2-lb bag of gourmet whole coffee beans is said to brew cups of velvety smooth coffee, with a “profound” flavor profile including hints of smooth and rich milk chocolate, and with subtle undertones of caramel, honey, and cocoa.
4. Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass, Whole Bean Coffee
Kicking Horse is offers another premium bag of dark roasted Arabica whole beans, this time, named Kick Ass.
Each 2.2-lb bag of Kick Ass hails its coffee beans from South America and Indonesia, and is certified organic, Fair Trade, and Kosher.
The beans are roasted in the Canadian part of the Rocky Mountains.
Some say that this specific location in the roasting makes this coffee retain most of its kick.
As for taste, Kicking Horse’s Kiss Ass flavor profile is smoky, sweet, and audacious. When compared to Kicking Horse’s two other coffee blends, Kiss Ass has the boldest flavor, making it the true dark roast from the three.
5. Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee
What used to be Death Wish’s debut product became a worldwide sensation.
This 16oz bag contains the same secret blend of highly-caffeinated whole coffee beans, still certified organic, Kosher and Fair Trade, and still claiming to be the world’s strongest.
Just like the ground coffee variant, Death Wish’s whole bean variety promises the same satisfyingly bold, smooth flavor that its cult followers laud praises over.
Death Wish rose to fame by claiming to have crafted the world’s strongest coffee, which means it has the highest caffeine content in all coffee blends in the world.
They’re complete confident in their product that they’re even backing every bag with a money-back guarantee.
6. Black Knight Dark Roast
Black Knight Dark Roast is a coffee blend variant by Fresh Roasted Coffee.
Each 2-lb bag of organic whole bean coffee comes from Central America and Indonesia and is roasted using the air drum technology.
Fresh Roasted Coffee prides itself in its air drum roasting process, which is said to be environmentally friendly.
Fresh Roasted Coffee claims their Black Knight dark roast is aptly named… akin to black knights of old who bring calamity, mayhem, and “all-around awesomeness”.
Roughly translated, Black Knight promises a flavor profile that is as bold and loud, but not as bitter or acidic as lower-grade dark roasts.
Are you now a dark roast convert? Or at least a curious connoisseur? You can start your dark roast coffee journey with these 6 coffee blends. With their army of fans and Amazon verified positive reviews, you can’t go wrong. And if you happen to enjoy what you just sipped? Stocking up on the magical brew is just one click away.