9 Best Dark Roast Coffee For All Your Needs

If you are in a rush and just want to find out what the best dark roast coffee is, the best pick we recommend is the Death Wish Dark Roast Coffee.

Ready to go to the dark side?

With a stronger body and deeper, darker notes, dark roast coffee has that extra “kick” that light or medium roasts don’t have.

If you enjoy your coffee with a mildly bitter tastelow acidity, and want your dark chocolate or nutty toasted cravings satisfied, these dark roasted coffee beans are perfect for you.

9 Best Dark Roast Coffees Reviews

Death Wish Dark Roast Coffee – Best Overall

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Chocolate & Cherry
  • Origin: Peru, India
  • Certification: Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic
  • Blend: Robusta & Arabica

There’s a reason why Death Wish coffee takes our number one pick for best dark roast coffee.

Apart from its chocolate and cherry flavors, it’s the strongest coffee on this list. Need that extra jolt in the morning? Then grab a Death Wish coffee.

Fun fact: Death Wish Coffee is known for being the “world’s strongest coffee.”

You might be thinking, does Death Wish coffee use additives to boost their caffeine content? The secret lies in their beans.

They use both Robusta and Arabica beans since Robusta beans have more caffeine content. This unique blend is how Death Wish can achieve that extra strong caffeine dose compared to most dark roast coffee beans.

If it makes you feel safer, Death Wish coffee is also USDA certified organic and has the Fair Trade seal.

Is Death Wish Coffee for You?

If you love a bold, roasted flavor with hints of chocolate and cherry, Death Wish will satisfy your tastebuds.

It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a dark roast coffee that provides an intense caffeine hit and a boost of energy.

PROS:
  • USDA organic certified
  • Fair Trade seal
  • Great flavor
  • Very strong
  • Great if you’re not a morning person
CONS:
  • Expensive
Check Price

Peet’s Coffee House Blend – Best Value

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Spicy, sweet, & citrus
  • Origin: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica
  • Certification: Kosher
  • Blend: Arabica

For a dark roast coffee blend pioneered and first crafted by Alfred Peet himself, the House Blend dark roast carries value like no other.

It’s a signature blend stretching as far back as the 1960s and has been a consistent top-seller over the decades.

The slow-roasted by hand process is perhaps one of the most valuable qualities of this dark roast coffee. We love the balanced, crisp, and citrus finish Peet’s Coffee House Blend provides.

Not to mention the pleasant hint of spiciness after every sip.

Now it may not be as strong for people who want that extra kick in the morning, but it’s the perfect cup of coffee to have just before the sun begins to set.

Is Peet’s Coffee House Blend for You?

If you’re not after a boost in energy levels and prefer a balanced, medium-bodied coffee, going for Peet’s is a bullseye on your coffee preferences.

PROS:
  • Well-balanced coffee
  • Crisp, citrus finish
  • Medium-body
  • Great price value
  • Signature blend
CONS:
  • Goes stale quickly
Check Price

Seattle’s Best Coffee Post Alley Blend – Best Budget Pick

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Smoky, rich, robust
  • Origin: Latin America
  • Certification: None
  • Blend: Arabica

If you’re serious about going dark side, Seattle’s Best Coffee Post Alley is the true test! The Post Alley Blend is Seattle’s Best’s most intense dark roast coffee beans.

So what can you expect from this intense dark roast blend? A smoky, intense French roast, except there’s a twist: Zero bitterness and wonderfully smooth.

Read:  12 Best Nespresso Pods - OriginalLine vs. VertuoLine: Which Suits You More?

Dark roasts will usually have a bitter profile compared to a light roast, which has an acidic profile.

Not everyone loves their coffee with a roasted or smoky flavor. Some prefer it sweet, acidic, and fruity. Some prefer a hint of chocolate, while others love the nutty, toasted flavor.

We don’t know what Seattle’s Best secret is, but its flavor profile and affordable price make it one of the best dark roast coffees you can’t miss out on.

Is Seattle’s Best for You?

Those who love that smoky, intense flavor profile are coffee beans specially roasted for a unique breed of coffee lovers.

If this sounds like you, Seattle’s Best is the dark roast you’ve been longing for.

Then again, for those who are willing to try different aromas and flavors, it wouldn’t hurt to spare a few bucks and try this intense dark roast with its affordable price tag.

PROS:
  • Highly affordable
  • Great flavor profile
  • Very smooth
CONS:
  • Smoky flavor isn’t for everyone
Check Price

Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Audacious, smoky, sweet
  • Origin: South America & Indonesia
  • Certification: Fair Trade & 100% Organic certified
  • Blend: Arabica

Yes, it’s seriously a kick-ass dark roast coffee. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have that burnt flavor of dark roasts.

Although it carries a similar smoky flavor as Seattle’s Best Post Alley Blend, it’s also surprisingly sweet and even those who prefer lighter roasts can appreciate this Kick-Ass blend!

This is perhaps due to the way the coffee beans were grown. While most coffee beans are sun-grown, Kicking Horse’s Kick Ass blend is shade-grown.

As a result, shade-grown coffee offers even more robustness than sun-grown coffee beans. You can also expect a tasting note similar to chocolate malt or an earthy finish.

Is Kicking Horse Coffee for You?

If you want to enjoy the full taste of your coffee without any acidity, Kicking Horse is for you!

Apart from its chocolate malt and earthy tasting notes, if extracted appropriately, you’ll even be able to taste hazelnut, cacao nibs, and brown sugar flavors!

PROS:
  • Shade-grown coffee
  • Fair Trade seal
  • Light roast lovers can appreciate this blend
  • Affordable
CONS:
  • Some didn’t enjoy the smell
Check Price

Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Sweet, cinnamon
  • Origin: Sumatra, Guatemala, Colombia
  • Certification: None
  • Blend: Arabica

Koffee Kult is one of the few dark roast coffees on this list that provide an intense, powerful aroma. The best part? It tastes like cinnamon and liquid dark chocolate.

Wouldn’t that be an interesting flavor to try?

There’s just one slight problem: It has that burnt aftertaste, which can be a major turn off for some. Sad to say, using Koffee Kult’s coffee beans aren’t the best pair for a drip or pour-over brew method.

However, if you’re in the mood for cold brew, then these coffee beans will surely be worth the spend.

Is Koffee Kult for You?

Koffee Kult’s coffee beans don’t quite hit the mark when it comes to hot coffee, but it deserves praise as the best dark roast for cold brew lovers.

After all, there’s a market for those who prefer to drink their coffee cold instead of hot. Additionally, these dark roast coffee beans aren’t half bad if you’re whipping up an espresso.

PROS:
  • Great for cold brew
  • Hints of cinnamon and liquid dark chocolate
  • Great aroma
CONS:
  • Burnt aftertaste
  • Lacks depth in its flavor profile
Check Price

Mayorga Organics Cafe Cubano

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Syrupy smokiness, sweet, vanilla
  • Origin: Latin America
  • Certification: Non-GMO verified, USDA certified
  • Blend: Arabica

Add another shade-grown coffee to your list of best dark roasts.

The Mayorga Organics is an excellent pick for Cuban coffee lovers. Although, it’s not as great as a standalone coffee since it lacks the robustness of a typical dark roast.

However, making an espumita with some whipped sugar goes perfectly with these coffee beans. For an even better taste, buy whole beans.

Going for pre-ground beans can impact the flavor of your coffee in more ways than you’d expect. What whole beans have over ground coffee beans is freshness.

Read:  The Best Coffee for Cold Brew: Our Top 8 Picks

Preserving the freshness of whole beans and then controlling the grind of those coffee beans creates a serious taste gap over ground coffee beans.

Is Mayorga Organics for You?

If you’re looking for that sweet, syrupy flavor with a smooth finish, Mayorga Organics coffee beans are a satisfying treat.

If you don’t mind having coffee that lacks the robustness or strength of a typical dark roast, you’ll enjoy the quality of Mayorga Organics.

PROS:
  • Great price value
  • Smooth profile
  • Best for Cuban coffee lovers
  • Shade-grown, USDA Certified, & Non-GMO Verified
CONS:
  • Not very strong
Check Price

AmazonFresh Dark Roast 

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Syrupy smokiness, sweet, vanilla
  • Origin: Latin America
  • Certification: Non-GMO verified, USDA certified
  • Blend: Arabica

Now that’s something you don’t expect to find – Amazon selling their version of coffee beans.

To be honest, the AmazonFresh dark roast isn’t half bad. It’s one of the few dark roasts on this list with the lowest levels of acidity.

However, it had that burnt flavor, especially when using a coarser grind, making it bearable for drip or pour-over coffees.

On the other hand, using a fine grind mostly takes away the burnt flavor. Now, if you’re feeling like you need a cappuccino or espresso shot, whether single or double, AmazonFresh shines better in this area.

Is AmazonFresh for You?

If you’re not particular about pour-overs, cold brews, or even a French press, and prefer to stick to cappuccinos, lattes, and espresso shots, AmazonFresh is a solid choice.

The best part? It’s budget-friendly!

PROS:
  • Budget-friendly
  • Low acidity
  • Great price value
  • Great for cappuccinos and espressos
CONS:
  • Burnt flavor
  • Not great for coarser grinds
Check Price

Kicking Horse Coffee, Grizzly Claw

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Decadent chocolate
  • Origin: Central & South America
  • Certification: Fair Trade seal, USDA certified, Kosher
  • Blend: Arabica

Grizzly Claw brings a similar profile to Kicking Horse’s Kick Ass blend.

While it’s widely recognized that the Kick Ass blend stands as one of the best dark roasts of Kicking Horse, the Grizzly Claw brings in a more distinct dark chocolate flavor even greater than the Kick Ass blend.

Unlike the two coffee beans mentioned earlier, AmazonFresh & Mayorga Organics, Grizzly Claw’s beans are perfect for pour-over, cold-brew, and drip coffee brews.

For the perfect cup of coffee to have in the summer, these beans are worth the price tag.

Is Grizzly Claw for You?

If you’ve already tried the Kick Ass blend of Kicking Horse and want a different dark roast profile to try, this is it.

Grizzly Claw offers a different dark roast experience, and with its distinct chocolate note, it might just leave you with an addicting sensation for chocolate.

PROS:
  • Fair Trade seal
  • Tastes like semi-sweet chocolate
  • Strong, rich body
  • Shade-grown
  • Low acidity
CONS:
  • Pricey
Check Price

Caribou Coffee, Mahogany Dark Roast

Specs: 

  • Flavor/Tasting Notes: Vanilla, chocolate, sweet caramel, nutty
  • Origin: Sumatra, El Salvador, Guatemala
  • Certification: Rainforest Alliance Certified
  • Blend: Arabica

Caribou’s Mahogany dark roast is a complex blend full of surprises.

From the word Mahogany alone, one can expect this dark roast to have an earthy finish, and you’re right, it is earthy. Now here’s what most people don’t expect with this roast: the hint of spice.

What makes the Caribou Mahogany dark roast stand out is the balance of sweetness, freshness, and mild-bitterness in between.

Not only is it rich in its earthy finish, but it has a raisiny hint and a gentle cedar aroma that is pleasant to any coffee drinker.

Is Caribou Mahogany for You?

For those who love a dark roast profile but prefer a mildly bitter taste than an intense bitterness, the Caribou Mahogany is perfect for you.

PROS:
  • Rainforest Alliance certified
  • Pleasing aroma
  • Great flavor profile
  • Balanced dark roast character
CONS:
  • Becomes stale quickly
Check Price

Enter Dark Roast Coffee

Dark roast coffee essentially refers to beans roasted over higher temperatures and for longer periods.

In effect, the longer roasting process of dark roasts results in a heavier body and stronger aftertaste. The roasting process for dark roasts also reach temperatures between 215 and 220 oC.

Compared to a medium or light roast, the roasting process for medium roast beans reach temperatures between 200 and 212 oC while light roast beans reach between 175 and 200 oC.

A way to tell a dark roast compared to medium and light roast beans is the color and coating. Dark roasts have a dark brown color and are shinier due to the oils released compared to medium and light roasts.

4 different roasted coffee beans from green beans on the left to dark roast on the right, best dark roast coffee

Flavors to Expect From Dark Roast Coffee

Coffee flavors can vary for both light and medium roasts; however, dark roast coffee is different.

Read:  The 7 Best Pre Ground Coffee for Cold Brew

Here are some flavors you can expect from a darker roasted coffee:

  • Caramel + molasses
  • Chocolate
  • Dried fruit
  • Smoke/roast
  • Toasted nuts

Since dark roasts undergo a longer roasting process, most of the coffee’s inherent original flavors are overshadowed during the roasting stage. Some of the roasting qualities include nutty, toasted, or smoky notes.

This tells us that when it comes to choosing the best dark roast coffee, the origin of beans doesn’t matter as much.

By tradition, darker roasts were used to mask any defective or low-quality beans. This doesn’t mean darker roasted coffee is far less in quality than lighter or medium roasts.

In fact, the next section talks about how you can enjoy darker roasts.

How to Enjoy Dark Roast Coffee

First and foremost, coffee taste is subjective to every individual. That being said, if you prefer the profile of a light roast coffee, it might be hard to appreciate most darker roasted coffees.

Darker roasts are for those who enjoy smooth, yet strong, bold, and chocolate or toasted aftertastes.

Coffee at this level is unique to every individual; however, if it’s really a darker roast you want to try, the best way to enjoy darker roasted coffee is coffee brewed through a filter or pour-over method.

With a pour-over method, you have more control over your coffee’s end quality since the extraction process in a pour-over method helps you achieve different results.

Essentially, the pour-over method allows you to highlight any finer qualities in the coffee bean.

This allows you to enhance the coffee beans’ flavors, which can depend on factors such as the amount of beans you use, the water quality and temperature, the rate of your pour, etc.

In effect, the outcomes are full of endless possibilities up to the brewer (you) to experiment with.

Finally, you can also enjoy darker roasted coffee with milk. Adding milk to darker roasted coffee doesn’t take away the coffee’s innate flavors, unlike medium and light roasts.

How to Enhance the Flavors of Dark Roast Coffee

Most people attribute darker roasted beans as bitter or burnt coffee. As a result, the general notion may lead to people believing that darker roasted coffee has a lower quality than light or medium roasted coffee.

This is not true.

While a burnt, smoky, or bitter taste is a common attribute of darker roasts, the coffee in itself does not lie in the beans’ fault, but rather the brewing process.

Different types of roasts require different brewing methods.

On that note, it’s better to buy whole bean coffee than ground bean coffee. Using whole bean coffee is even more essential for pour-over methods because you can control your beans’ grind size.

Beans with a coarser grind have a different quality than beans with a finer grind. A coarser grind will work better with pour-over, cold brew, Aeropress, or French press methods. A finer grind is better for espressos or a Moka pot.

Another significance of buying whole bean coffee is you can preserve its freshness better than ground coffee. As a result, whole bean coffee allows you to enhance the flavors because of its preserved freshness.

To make things easier on your part, here’s a list of tips to enhance your coffee’s flavors to achieve the best dark roast coffee:

  • As much as possible, buy whole bean coffee instead of pre-grounded beans. The freshness, flavor, and aroma of whole bean coffee is far greater pre-ground coffee.
  • Use a lower water temperature.
  • Go for a more coarse grind than a fine grind.
  • Opt for a shorter brewing time.

Brewing the best dark roast coffee requires a gentler recipe than medium or light roasts.

Now, if you’re wondering if it’s better to use Robusta or Arabica beans, Robusta beans would be a great option if you prefer more caffeine in your cup.

Final Words

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn how to brew the best coffees at home. Going for high-quality beans is already a start!

To learn more, you can start reading about the different types of brewing methods.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

You may also enjoy these articles: