ultimate guide to black coffee

Black coffee. You either love it or… you’re just not brewing it right. Okay, maybe as coffee dorks we are a little biased. But black coffee is a pretty amazing substance. Pure, fresh water and premium coffee beans is a magical combination that can actually have some great health benefits too.

In our ultimate guide, you can find out what black coffee is doing to your body, how best to brew it, and other frequently asked questions.

By black coffee, we mean plain coffee. Water plus coffee grinds, nothing more and nothing less. To make the best black coffee possible, skip the instant coffee granules and go for fresh coffee grounds or beans. The flavor will be superior and you’ll also benefit from the health benefits we’ve listed below.

Black coffee is low in calories, low in nutrients and isn’t necessarily bitter, despite what you may have heard. Brew it right and you’ll find that you love your coffee black, without the mountain of sugar and generous splash of cream.

If you need any more convincing that you should take the leap towards black coffee, read our How to Start Drinking Black Coffee article.

Black Coffee and Health

Before we really delve into the health benefits and side effects of drinking black coffee daily, we’d just like to point out that moderation and balance is the key. You’d get sick of drinking nothing but coffee all day every day – it’s the same principle.

To keep your coffee consumption in a healthy range so you don’t need to guilty take each sip with worries about your health, you should have no more than 4 cups a day. Or 2 cups, for pregnant women. Chase down your favorite coffee with a balanced, healthy diet and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Is black coffee good for you?

black coffee and health

Yes, especially when you compare black coffee to a latte or other milky coffee beverages. And especially especially when you compare it to Starbuck’s most sugary coffee inventions.

Without the added sugar, cream and syrups, black coffee is a 0-calorie drink with health benefits including:

The health benefits of black coffee are all about preventing and reducing risks of disease. A regular, low calorie cup every morning can do you a world of good.

And hey, the best benefit of all is the big smile on your face when you finally perfect your black coffee brewing just how you like it.  

Is black coffee bad for you?

Black Coffee heatlh risks

The side effects of drinking coffee come from 2 places – the additives (milk, sugar, etc.) and the caffeine. With black coffee, you only have caffeine side effects to worry about. These include:

  • The short-term energy drop. When the caffeine wears off, you suddenly find yourself dead on your feet.
  • Too much caffeine can make you jittery, impulsive and even lose concentration due to the excess adrenaline and stress hormones that caffeine increases.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns from consuming too much coffee or at the wrong times of days can lead to an unhealthy pattern of relying on coffee to stay awake at the right times.

There are other side effects that are a little more superficial but still important to know about. First, it’s going to stain your teeth. This is hard to avoid, even if you go to lengths to drink coffee through a straw.

Acidic, bitter black coffees can also cause heartburn, so choosing a low acidic coffee bean is worth considering too.

Finally, the caffeine in black coffee could also cause acne to pop up, triggered by the excess hormones it stimulates.

So, is black coffee bad for you? In our opinion, not overly. The side effects only really come into play if you go crazy with caffeine levels, and compared to sugary, creamy coffee beverages, black coffee is practically a health drink.

Is black coffee Keto friendly and good for diabetes?

Yes, black coffee is keto friendly. You can drink as much as you want so long as you don’t add too much sweetener, cream, milk or sugar. Adding a moderate amount of cream and even turning your black coffee into a latte is possible if you follow keto rules. The Perfect Keto blog has some tips to help you create a tasty drink with your black coffee. Just promise us you’ll use a decent coffee bean!

As for whether black coffee will spike insulin, the answer is yes, if you already have diabetes. Consuming a few cups of coffee can increase your blood sugar levels, making you even less responsive to insulin and making the problem worse. Anyone with diabetes will know that careful monitoring of blood sugar levels is key. Consuming a small amount of black coffee could be possible, but you really do need to consult your doctor before you take a sip!

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Regular consumption of black coffee is linked to reduced chances of diabetes if you don’t already have it – the key is to drink it black. Adding sweetener and milk effectively nulls these health benefits by adding fats and sugars to your diet.

What About Cholesterol?

Although black coffee doesn’t contain cholesterol, it can still impact your body’s ability to create and process cholesterol, so it’s best not to have a cup if you’re about to take a cholesterol test.

Research is mixed about why and how much black coffee will impact your cholesterol levels, but studies seem to indicate that the more oils there are in your coffee, the higher the risks are. So, you can choose non-oily beans for a start and then opt for quick brewing methods, like espresso, to keep cholesterol concerns low.

Black Coffee and Weight Loss

coffee and weightloss

Google any food or drink with the term “weight loss” and you’re going to get a million and 1 results claiming miracles and more tips to lose weight fast. Black coffee is no different.

If you avoid the clickbait and start looking into the studies on black coffee from the scientific community, you’ll find that actually, some of the weight loss claims aren’t so farfetched.

We took a closer look at the evidence tied to black coffee to find a realistic answer. Just bear in mind that if you’re serious about losing weight, stop looking for miracle foods and put some hard work into it!

Is black coffee good for weight loss?

Black coffee can help you lose weight… but whether it’s a good way to lose weight remains to be seen.

The main component in black coffee that helps you lose weight is the caffeine. It does this by binding to neurotransmitters, blocking adenosine and increasing dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. The most immediate and notable result of this is that alert, awake, ready-to-go feeling, which can have a big impact on your workout to help lose weight (see when to drink black coffee below).

But it also impacts other bodily functions, like increasing your metabolism and signaling your body to break down fat cells and release them into your blood. This alone will marginally help you lose a little bit of fat. We’re taking a tiny, unnoticeable amount.

The real weight-loss trick comes with diet and exercise, as always. Black coffee can act like an extra boost, breaking down fat cells easier and increasing your metabolism so when you do go on that diet or head to the gym, your body will shed weight faster.

Laying on the couch all day eating take-out, then drinking a cup of black coffee for “weight loss” isn’t going to work. It just doesn’t work that way.

Long Term Weight Loss

The big problem with caffeine in general, not just black coffee, is that you’ll develop a tolerance over time. The more tolerant you are, the more caffeine you’ll need to consume to feel the alertness and benefit from the weight loss features.

This is why we don’t recommend relying on black coffee as part of your weight loss regime. It’s just not sustainable. As your tolerance grows, the weight-loss benefits fade away and you’ll find it even harder to lose weight.

So, is black coffee fattening in any way? The answer is no, but it can still cause bloating. Acidic black coffees in particular can irritate your stomach and digestive system causing swelling. Luckily, it’s temporary! Black coffee can be used for a short-term weight loss regime but it’s best not to drink a cup right before you need to squeeze into that tight dress, especially if you’re prone to bloating.

When to drink black coffee for weight loss?

It takes approximately 45 minutes for the caffeine to meet peak levels in your blood stream, so if you want to take advantage of the higher metabolism and fat burning, you should hit the high point in your workout 45 minutes after downing your cuppa Joe. Start warming up as soon as you begin to feel the effects of the caffeine – usually around 10 minutes.

Black Coffee General Questions

Stop scratching your head, you’ll go bald. If you’ve still got some burning coffee questions, check our black coffee general questions section (you guys really have some random questions sometimes) or search our blog for more detailed black coffee info.

When does black coffee go bad?

storing coffee

Brewed black coffee starts to taste nasty after a few hours, unless you’ve cold brewed it in which case it will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Whatever you do, don’t reheat your black coffee as this will destroy all those delicious flavors you brewed the first time. Just make a fresh cup if you didn’t finish the first one hot.

As for the black coffee beans, they can go stale in a matter of hours… or last for 2 weeks if you store them correctly. We have an article to help you keep your black coffee beans fresh.

Who is Black Coffee?

Black Coffee is a record producer and DJ, real name Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo. He makes house music and has released tracks with David Guetta and Usher. We don’t know if he likes to drink black coffee, but we certainly hope so.

Are black coffee people psychopaths?

No, they’re not. Well, not all of them. But you won’t become a psychopath by drinking black coffee and there’s no guarantee that a psychopath will like black coffee either.

This theory stems from research that linked people who enjoy bitter flavors with psychopathic personality traits. The media made the leap between this study and black coffee. Not only is the evidence limited at best, but it’s also not really relevant to black coffee at all when you think about it, because not all black coffee will be bitter.

If your black coffee is bitter and you don’t like that, try brewing it differently or switch to a different bean. Simple.

Is black coffee homogeneous or heterogeneous?

Prepare it well and your black coffee will be homogeneous, as you’ll completely dissolve the coffee in it and filtered out the insoluble particles (the coffee grounds). Take a sample, any sample, from your brewed black coffee cup and it will be the same.

If you threw a handful of coffee grinds in a cup of boiling water, at that point it would be heterogeneous as the 2 ingredients appear separately.

Of course, it’s almost a matter of perspective. If you look at brewed black coffee on a microscopic level, you could consider it heterogeneous if the individual particles appear separated.

Our advice? Stop worrying about it, stop Googling random questions and just enjoy your black coffee instead.

Why black coffee is bitter?

Bitterness is usually a sign that you’ve over-extracted the coffee beans. You’ll over-extract if you brew for too long, use water that’s too hot, use grinds that are too small (smaller grind = faster extraction) or don’t clean out your coffee equipment.

Coffee beans will have a natural bitterness, but if you select the right bean and brew it correctly, you’ll find that the bitterness is no longer the primary flavor of the black coffee.

Why black coffee makes you poop?

Coffee stimulates your colon, promoting bowel movements, AKA poop. This is mostly down to the caffeine, but decaf will also have the same effect to a lesser extent. Coffee has many effects on the body, including stimulating bowel activity and stimulating stomach acid to move food through your body quicker.

Can black coffee prevent pregnancy?

Research does point to the idea that caffeine can reduce your chances of getting pregnant, especially if you consume a vast amount of it (4+ cups a day). However, it won’t necessarily prevent fertility. Studies seem to show that those that drink a lot of caffeine, whether it’s from black coffee or not, just take longer to conceive.

Can black coffee break your fast?

It depends why you are fasting. In most cases, no, because it’s considered a very low or 0 calorie drink. If you add sugar or cream it’s a different story.

If you’re fasting for a diet or weight loss, black coffee may actually help if you find that it suppresses your appetite.

Other reasons for fasting, like Ramadan, can mean that consuming black coffee or even water will break your fast if consumed at the wrong time.

How is black coffee prepared?

Ah, what a question. This is what we live for at Coffee Dorks. There are so many ways that you can prepare black coffee and a million more micro-adjustments you can make to your chosen process to alter the resulting coffee.

All methods work by dousing the coffee in water to extract flavor.

If we had to pick one way for a beginner to use, it would be with the French Press. To prepare black coffee in a French Press, you’ll need the French Press (a relatively affordable coffee maker), water, coarse ground coffee, a mug and a little patience. Check our how to use a French Press guide.

How much black coffee per day?

The accepted guideline is 400mg of caffeine per day, which equals about 4 standard cups of black coffee, made with a French Press or even just instant coffee.

The only exception here would be espresso, which is much more concentrated and has about 75mg of caffeine per shot.

More than 4 cups (400mg) and you’re consuming an unhealthy amount of coffee and will begin to feel negative side effects.

Will black coffee keep me awake?

Yes, it will keep you awake. Caffeine is a stimulant that will make you feel awake, alert and energetic… but it won’t last forever. You’ll typically find that you’re sleepier and grumpier than normal when the caffeine exits your system.