In the department of the best dark roast coffee, we’ve made it very difficult for you to dismiss the choices reviewed. Every single dark roast here ranks among the strongest coffee currently available online. So they’re sure to give you the kick you seem to love so much with dark roasts. And the flavors are smooth and rich with subtle hints of chocolate, cherry, and lots more.
Our team of professional coffee experts has put together this list keeping in mind everything important. Such as the type of coffee beans used, where they come from, etc. So you can make a well-informed decision for a wholesome at-home coffee sipping experience.
- Review of the Best Dark Roast Coffee
- 1. Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean
- 2. Death Wish Coffee The World’s Strongest Whole Bean Coffee
- 3. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee
- 4. Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
- 5. Seattle’s Best Coffee Post Alley Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee
- 6. Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean
- 7. Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee Farm-Direct Dark Roast Whole Beans
- 8. AmazonFresh Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- What to Switch to the Dark Side of Coffee?
- What to Look for When Buying Dark Roasts
- Frequently Asked Questions
- To Sum It Up.
Review of the Best Dark Roast Coffee
1. Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean
Kicking Horse Coffee has only enhanced its reputation further with the Dark Roast Whole Bean offering. This is deep and dark as well as only slightly bitter. The experience is like having semi-sweet dark chocolate. It leaves a clean feeling, no doubt.
Those with a sensitive gut can also go ahead with this one as it doesn’t give rise to any cramps, and no headaches either.
- Sweet and smoky dark roast whole bean coffee
- Kosher, Organic, and Fair Trade certified, plus shade-grown
- The aroma is reminiscent of dark chocolate and vanilla
2. Death Wish Coffee The World’s Strongest Whole Bean Coffee
Just one cup of Death Wish Coffee and you’re all set for your busy day. It has been said that this stuff keeps you up and running like a mule. So you better watch out!
You can have it with milk or as a cold brew. The bold flavor comes from a blend of both Robusta and Arabica coffee beans. And the flavor profile is subtle and smooth with hints of chocolate and cherry and without any unpleasant bitterness.
Just the aroma of the whole beans at the time of processing, pressing, and brewing is addictive in itself.
- Bold, intense, artisanal dark roast whole bean coffee
- USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified
- Smooth and subtle flavor with chocolate and cherry undertones
- Premium quality Robusta and Arabica blend
3. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee
Even though this isn’t the original version of Major Dickason’s Blend that greatly contributed to the success and popularity of Peet’s Coffee toward the end of the 1980s, it is quite a steal. But it may be slightly acidic, which is a problem you can easily solve by adding double scoops of French Roast by the same coffee brand.
The final result, no doubt, is smooth, strong, rich, and full-bodied coffee with low acidity. And if this one’s not right up your alley, then how about the mild, smooth light roast or aromatic, smooth medium roast instead by none other than Peet’s Coffee only?
- Complex and rich dark roast ground coffee
- Coffee that is grown and sourced responsibly
- Smoky and full-bodied Major Dickason’s Blend
4. Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
Simply fantastic – the two words we think describe these dark roasted whole beans in the most accurate manner. You feel like you’re actually drinking dark chocolate. And no need to add sugar either, but you can use a little bit of cream though.
Prepare both espresso and coffee using an AeroPress, and look forward to perfect results each time. On top of that, the coffee bag has an easy pull tab with a thick resealable liner. There’s also a one-way valve at the back for keeping away coffee’s archnemesis, the air.
- Bold-flavored, smooth dark roast whole bean coffee
- Beans are not oily and the acidity is well-balanced
- Heavy-bodied and bright with cocoa, cinnamon, and a long finish
- Organic, Rainforest-friendly
5. Seattle’s Best Coffee Post Alley Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee
If you like your daily coffee to be strong, then turn your attention to Seattle’s Best Coffee. Their dark roast ground coffee is flavorful, strong, and bold. So it’s not like you’re drinking coffee-flavored water at home. Even the price is pretty reasonable, which means just because you want to enjoy a strong cup of coffee doesn’t mean you have to spend more.
Just be sure to use filtered, cold water for brewing. And also store the coffee away from light and heat, meaning in a dark and cool place.
- Intense dark roast ground coffee with a smoky flavor
- Strong, bold, and flavorful
- The best for cold brewing
6. Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean
If you prefer sipping light roast coffee, then good for you. But if black coffee always means a dark roast packed with a profound depth of flavor, then you’ve met your match. Exploring a brand like this is never a bad idea, which has been proven by the many positive reviews about it on Amazon.
Furthermore, these coffee beans are perfectly and freshly roasted whey they arrive at your doorstep. So much so that you’ll see the aromatic oils shining. And lastly, the flavor is dark, rich, and smooth without the typical dark roast bitterness.
- Certified Organic dark roast whole bean coffee
- 100-percent Arabica and GMO-free
- Chocolatey and rich with an intense, deep flavor profile
- Low acidity and velvety body
7. Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee Farm-Direct Dark Roast Whole Beans
You may not like spending so much on coffee, but once you’ve had even a sip of this, there’s no turning back. These dark roast whole beans prepare rich yet smooth coffee. You can make it even stronger and it still tastes smooth with a clean finish that too, meaning no nasty aftertaste that you normally get with dark roasted coffee.
Even in comparison to Starbucks dark roast, this one’s far smoother plus cleaner tasting. We figured that if it keeps you away from spending your monthly salary at Starbucks just for satisfying your daily caffeine cravings, then Blue Horse coffee pays for itself.
- Shade-grown, sun-dried, hand-picked 100-percent Kona coffee
- Freshly roasted with oil still glistening on the beans
- Strong and smooth with a clean finish
- Sustainably grown and free of pesticides and herbicides
8. AmazonFresh Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
In comparison to Death Wish Coffee, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Peet’s Coffee, etc., is AmazonFresh a brand you can rely on in order to quench your strong, bold dark roast cravings? In competitive terms, AmazonFresh Dark Roast Whole Beans do indeed disappoint, but only in the sense that they’re slightly more bitter than the others.
However, on its own, the dark roasted coffee is more than just satisfactory, especially considering its low price. The blend is full-bodied with only Arabica coffee beans. And you get such delicious hints of dark chocolate that you almost forget the coffee comes from a noob brand like AmazonFresh.
- Dark roast whole bean coffee expertly and freshly roasted
- Made of high-quality, 100-percent Arabica brans
- Full-bodied with subtle notes of dark chocolate
What to Switch to the Dark Side of Coffee?
Back in the days, dark roasts were the only way coffee was devoured. But it’s only now, in this day and age, that the coffee roasting process has become so advanced. Therefore, giving rise to specialty coffee flavors found in lighter roasts.
The quality of coffee as well is rising as the years go by. This means more and more roasters don’t feel the need for hiding unpleasant, unsavory flavors often a part of low-quality coffee beans. Darker roasted coffee, even though not as variety-packed as lighter roasts, offers more consistency.
Needless to say, dark roast is more suitable for brewing espresso. And that means more commonly used in cafes around the world. For example, espresso roast, which balances all the flavors and acidity of the coffee.
Furthermore, those who prefer stronger coffee go for darker roasts since it tastes better when prepared with milk for striking the perfect balance between bitter and mellow taste while preserving the full-bodied character of the coffee.
What to Look for When Buying Dark Roasts
Type of Coffee Beans
There’s Arabica and then there’s Robusta. The former is the most common, and also milder and more well-balanced than the latter. On the other hand, Robusta has a higher caffeine content with more bitterness. It’s also cheaper in terms of price.
More often than not, Robusta coffee beans come in a blend with Arabica. So that coffee lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Then there’s a third option too – Kona coffee. This is Hawaiian coffee that, no doubt, has a flavor that’s full-bodied. It’s also very expensive.
Type of Dark Roast
If there are different types of coffee beans, then it’s only natural to assume that the roasting process is also not the same. The first one that comes to mind with regards to dark roast coffee is Vienna roast. It involves roasting the beans for a much longer time. And what this process does is produce tiny oil spots on the surface of the beans while also enhancing their flavor.
The next is the French roast. This particular process is used for giving rise to a dark brown shade, bittersweet notes, and natural flavors. Such coffee contains exotic, rich undertones.
Italian roasting is also quite popular among dark coffee drinkers. The best part about Italian roasts is that they’re almost burned, meaning darker and oilier than the French version. Those who prefer charred coffee with bittersweet notes thoroughly enjoy Italian dark roast. It has a deep chocolatey character with subtle caramel hints.
Origin of the Coffee Beans
If the coffee beans are sourced from Central America, expect mid-level acidity, diverse aroma, velvet body, and rich flavor.
South American coffee (i.e. from Brazil and Colombia) offers low acidity and full-bodied flavor.
Coffee beans coming from Africa are mainly Arabica, which is used for preparing bold, intense coffee. You get a whole range of flavors here with fruity notes.
Robusta coffee beans, for the most part, originate from Southeast Asia. This type of coffee is incredibly intense and bold with earthy undertones.
It goes without saying that if the coffee, post-roasting, is not packaged immediately, it starts to lose the original freshness of all the flavors and aromas. So it’s highly advisable for you to check the date of roasting when buying your coffee, be it dark, medium, or light.
Another thing that matters here takes the form of a one-way valve on the bag of the coffee. This valve is put in place to allow the degassing of the coffee (after roasting) to take place. During the process, carbon dioxide is allowed to escape. And since it’s a one-way valve, oxygen or air is not allowed to enter.
Since we’re on the subject of freshness, let us also bring to your attention that you should freshly grind your coffee beans right before brewing. And if you’re using ground coffee, then make sure to store it in an airtight, opaque container so that air and light don’t interfere.
Dark roasts can be brewed in a drip coffee machine, espresso maker, Moka pot, French Press, pour-over, and AeroPress.
To be honest, dark roast tastes delicious both iced and hot, so you can brew it both ways. But it’s the cold brewing technique that makes darker roast coffees especially rich. Because it’s only slow, cold-water brewing that has the ability to bring out all the deep, nutty, chocolatey, and earthy tones present in a dark roast.
If you’ve gone through our reviews, you know what these certifications are. Now let us tell you what each one means.
- Fair Trade – Coffee brands and farmers follow better trading guidelines, more sustainable development, and environmental standards.
- USDA Organic – No amount of synthetic herbicides and pesticides have been used.
- Rainforest Alliance – In simple words, it means the conservation of the environment.
- Kosher – Coffee made using just coffee beans and water without any inclusion of artificial flavors, dairy, or chemicals.
The cost actually depends on the type of coffee beans, the origin of coffee beans, the type of dark roast, etc. In general, Arabica coffee is more expensive. But Kona from Hawaii is the most expensive. Then the price also differs from brand to brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Coffee Is Stronger, Dark or Light Roast?
It’s not the roast of the coffee that determines its strength. The bitterness of the coffee does indeed increase as the roast gets darker, but that doesn’t necessarily make it stronger.
Your coffee strength is actually decided by the amount of water you use for preparation. This means that even a light roast can brew a strong cup of coffee, and the other way around.
Another common misconception is that dark roasts have higher caffeine content. That too is wrong or misleading information. The longer the coffee beans roast, the more the caffeine levels are destroyed. But, in comparison, both light and dark roasts contain nearly the same caffeine content.
What Are the Health Benefits of Dark Roast?
Dark roast means more antioxidants, which means greater anti-aging benefits. This type of coffee roast also contributes to weight loss since it boosts metabolism.
Then there’s also good news for those who drink coffee just to improve their mental alertness and focus. Keeping that in mind, a dark roast, more often than not, is prepared strong, which means you can perform better.
At the same time, coffee is linked to reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and also depression.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard as that can lead to anxiety, nausea, headache, stomach sensitivity, etc.
What Does Dark Roast Coffee Smell Like?
You should know that it’s the origin of the coffee beans that is responsible for the unique aromas. But, on the whole, most coffee smells nutty and slightly caramelized. Dark roasts, in particular, usually smell slightly burnt or charred.
What Is the Difference Between Light, Medium, and Dark Roast Coffee?
Light roasts are subjected to a lower temperature and shorter roasting time. And that means more moisture is packed inside those coffee beans, which makes them denser. So you get a higher caffeine content, brighter and more fruity flavor, and more acidity.
Moving on to dark roast coffee beans, these spend more time in the roaster and are also exposed to a higher roasting temperature. So the beans lose more moisture, become less dense, less caffeinated, less acidic, and even less flavorful.
As for medium roasts, this type of coffee offers the best of both worlds. The flavors, aromas, acidity levels, caffeine content, etc. are more well-balanced here.
To Sum It Up.
There’s just no denying how important a coffee roast can be when it comes to affecting the flavor of your coffee, be it whole bean or ground. But keep in mind that the flavor and aroma are also decided by the origin and type of coffee beans. Then there are different types of dark roasts too, such as French roast, Vienna roast, and Italian roast.
But, slowly and steadily, specialty coffee in the form of light and medium roasts are gaining momentum. Nevertheless, the fact remains unchanged that dark roast coffee is the traditional choice. So, even now, there are millions and millions of coffee drinkers out there who simply cannot replace their freshly prepared, strong dark roasted brews with anything else.