The Best Dark Roast Coffee of 2021

Dark Roast Coffee Beans

There’s no shortage of coffee lovers across the world, but not everyone has tried the insanely rich taste of the best dark roast coffee.

While most people would go for light roast coffee, true coffee connoisseurs will tell you nothing can beat dark roast coffee.

In your quest for the best dark roast coffee, you’ll come across an array of options. We did a little digging in the trenches for you and are happy to share the top 10 choices you can pick from.

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Quick Glance – Our Top 5 Picks For Best Dark Roast Coffee

1. Death Wish Coffee Whole Bean

2. Coffee Bros Whole Bean Dark Roast

3. Kicking Horse Coffee – Kick Ass

4. Koffee Kult Dark Roasted Coffee Beans

5. Starbucks Whole Bean Espresso Dark Roast

Summary: Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee

  • High caffeine

  • Slow roasted

  • Fair Trade

  • Organic

Coffee Bros Whole Bean Dark Roast

  • 100% Arabica beans

  • Caramel flavor

  • Roasted slightly lighter

  • Fresh

Kicking Horse Coffee - Kick Ass

  • 100% Arabica beans

  • Shade grown

  • Sweet and smoky

  • Fair Trade

Koffee Kult Whole Bean Dark Roast

  • Small batch roasting

  • Rich and smooth

  • Fair Trade

  • Organic

Starbucks Whole Bean Espresso Dark Roast

  • 100% Arabica beans

  • Full bodied

  • Caramelized sugar flavor

  • Bold

Let’s delve deeper into each of these coffees to see what makes them irresistible.

The 10 Best Dark Roast Coffee

1. Death Wish Coffee Whole Bean

DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Coffee [16 oz.] The World's Strongest, USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Arabica and Robusta Beans (1-Pack)
$19.96 ($1.25 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 10:49 am GMT

This coffee quickly grabs your attention because the company claims it’s the strongest coffee worldwide. 

The caffeine quantity per cup is twice that of average coffee. This whole bean coffee is incredibly strong and able to give you that kick in the morning.

The strength is possible due to the combination of Robusta and Arabica beans, as the former has a higher percentage of caffeine. 

Although some people consider Robusta beans as lower quality, they contribute stunning flavors to a dark roast.

Death Wish is known to source only Fair Trade and organic coffee varieties. The outcome is a flavorsome smooth coffee with low acidity and less bitterness.

The slow roasting process at the company’s New York headquarters naturally produces coffee whose strength is higher than an average cup. The small-batch roasting method results in a quality and consistent drink.

Other than the high caffeine level, this coffee contains unmatched tasting notes. It consists of chocolate and cherry notes that will excite even the dullest taste buds.

Death Wish Coffee’s distinct taste might be a bit too much for some folks, it’s strong and if you don’t like powerful coffee – both the taste and caffeine this isn’t going to be your favorite.

Once you see the packing of this coffee, you’ll want to talk about it right away. And we know how proper packaging contributes to the freshness of the coffee.

So, if energy is what you need and you aren’t afraid of the high caffeine hit and possibly even some jitters, then grab a cup of Death Wish Coffee and give it a taste test.

2. Coffee Bros Whole Bean Dark Roast

Coffee Bros Dark Roast Whole Bean | 100% Arabica | 12oz
$14.99
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01/18/2021 03:46 pm GMT

Two brothers, Dan and Nick Hunnewell launched the brand in May 2019 with a mission of bringing better coffee to customers while giving back to regions that grow coffee.

Part of the Coffee Bros story is partnering with One Tree Planted and for every 5 bags of coffee they sell, a tree is planted in a coffee-growing region to combat deforestation. 

The coffee is made from 100 percent Arabica beans whose aroma and flavor hit all the right spots. 

To achieve its phenomenal flavor, the coffee undergoes a slightly lighter roasting so it can highlight the natural flavor notes. The roasting method still brings out all the traditional flavors you’d expect in a dark roast.

The roasting technique that Coffee Bros uses results in a combination of delicious flavors, including creamy caramel, chocolate, and maple syrup.

At Coffee Bros, they understand the connection between proper sealing and the drink’s freshness. That is to say, to enhance the freshness, they pack all their coffee beans as soon as they roast them and remove air from the bags.

Next, they send the coffee in small batches to Amazon every week to ensure that only the freshest coffee is available for sale. Their coffee only lasts one to three months past the date of roasting.

Coffee Bros Dark Roast coffee originates from Brazil, Peru, and Sumatra. Unlike similar products on the market, the coffee is not burned or over-roasted.

3. Kicking Horse Coffee – Kick Ass

Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 2.2 lb, 35.2 Ounce
$25.00
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01/18/2021 02:34 pm GMT

Kicking Horse Coffee’s motto is ‘wake up and kick ass!’ and that perfectly represents what drinking their dark roast will make you want to do.

Founded in 1996, the Canadian coffee giant has robust core values: awake, curious, authentic, inclusive, and courageous.

They define the Kick Ass roast as sweet, audacious, and smoky. It lacks the burnt flavor common in dark roast coffee. 

Although it’s strong, you’ll love its flavor even if you’re a fan of light roast coffee. The most common tasting notes in Kick Ass include chocolate malt, molasses, licorice, and an earthy lingering finish.

This coffee is not only shade-grown, but it’s 100% Arabica and that should tell you it’s of premium quality. Kicking Horse Coffee sources the coffee from South America and Indonesia.

The taste is highly-rated, and chances are this will become your best dark roast coffee.

To ease your mind, the coffee is Fair Trade certified and the company is committed to giving back to the coffee farmers. The roasting takes place in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The other tasting notes in this coffee include brown sugar, cacao nibs, and hazelnuts. If you prefer dark roast coffee with full taste and no acidity, then Kick Ass Dark Roast is ideal for you.

With Kick Ass being organic-certified, you should look forward to a high-quality cup-of-joe. Overall, we recommend you go for these unique dark roast coffee beans.

4. Koffee Kult Dark Roasted Coffee Beans

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted - Organically Sourced Fair Trade - Whole Bean Coffee - (32oz)
$26.99 ($0.84 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 07:09 am GMT

Looking for a special type of roast coffee to try? Take your coffee cravings to a new level with the Koffee Kult dark roast coffee.

Koffee Kult’s reputation is nearly as bold as the flavor of its coffee beans. It’s easy to recognize this brand by its unconventional, witty branding strategies that cleverly make them stand out from the crowd.

The dark roast coffee delivers an excellent level of consistency along with a rich and smooth taste. 

Most drinkers adore this coffee for its cinnamon and cocoa flavors. Additionally, Koffee Kult’s dark roast has a pleasant finish that you can’t easily find in cheaper brands. 

The beans undergo small-batch roasting in Florida after which they are quickly packed and shipped within hours. 

To make the perfect blend, Koffee Kult uses organic coffee that originates from Guatemala, Colombia, and Sumatra.

The resulting drink of Koffee Kult dark roast coffee is smooth, strong, and bold but not bitter.

The other attribute that makes this Koffee Kult coffee unique is its strong aroma that quickly fills up the room and gives you a powerful feeling once you pour a cup. And when you take a sip, you won’t have any desire to stop. 

Are you into espresso too? The yummy lingering finish makes this coffee ideal for brewing espresso.

5. Starbucks Whole Bean Espresso Dark Roast

Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee, 20 Ounce (Pack of 1)
$9.99 ($0.50 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 05:48 am GMT

Starbucks is a big name in the world of coffee, and they have made an amazing bag of dark roast coffee for you. The bag is great for espresso, and it gives you the needed wake-up call.

There are numerous buying options available and the coffee comes in multiple sizes and dark roast types.

The Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast is our favorite.

The coffee is bold, full-bodied, and with a special caramel taste. If you prefer the caramel sweetness and drinking a cup-of-joe with frothed milk, this coffee will please you.

Basically, the dark roast coffee allows you to enjoy your best Starbucks coffee without leaving the home.

For a heavenly taste, be sure to use clean, filtered water. Remember to clean up your coffee machine before use and grind your coffee beans just before you start brewing.

Each pack contains six to 12 oz bags of Starbucks dark roast coffee.

Thanks to the years of expertise and focus at Starbucks, you should expect the finest cup. Each coffee bean goes through an exceptional balance of time and temperature to reach its peak of acidity, aroma, flavor, and body.

As with any Starbucks coffee, the dark roast whole beans have consistent quality, which means you’ll get a tasty cup of coffee each time you brew one.

6. Don Pablo Medium Dark Decaf Coffee

2LB Don Pablo Colombian Decaf - Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 lb Bag
$19.99 ($0.62 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 10:49 am GMT

Really good dark roast coffee doesn’t mean it has to have caffeine. For all of our decaf coffee lovers we’ve got a delicious option to consider.

Cue the Don Pablo Medium Dark Roast Coffee.

But why Don Pablo? 

Well, first, Don Pablo dark roast whole bean coffee has a distinct, full flavor because its processing involves the use of water rather than synthetic chemicals. 

Secondly, this coffee has a higher PH value than any regular coffee, meaning it’s less acidic. Not to mention, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Besides, Don Pablo Medium Dark Roast Coffee is organic and grows under the shade in Nicaragua’s highlands. Only here can you find premium Arabica.

Many customers love this coffee because of the company’s unwavering commitment to coffee quality. Not only do they source the best Arabica beans from across the world, but they also use the slow roasting process and small-batch ordering to ensure customers enjoy a fresh, delicious, and rich cup of coffee always.

It’s worth noting, though, that this coffee is a dark medium roast rather than a full-dark roast. 

7. Real Good Coffee Co Extra Dark, French Roast Coffee

Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, French Roast Extra Dark Coffee Beans, 2 Pound Bag
$24.99 ($0.78 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 05:48 am GMT

With a company name, such as Real Good Coffee Co, you’d expect the coffee produced to be really good. Thankfully, this brand lives up to its name.

They produce great tasting coffee and have been craft roasting their coffee in Seattle for over 30 years.

So what makes their French roast coffee stand out?

Well, the coffee is an extra bold, dark roast, and has a slightly sweet finish. The whole beans produce a strong and delicious cup of coffee without any iota of bitterness.

The French roast coffee contains rich undertones of dark chocolate and raspberry. Furthermore, there’s an exotic hint of anise – a Mediterranean spice.

Even better, the dark roast coffee by Real Good Coffee Co works with all coffee machines, including espresso makers, Aeropress, drip machines, French press, Moka pot, and pour over.

The coffee beans originate from first rate Arabica beans from Central and South America. The coffee is sourced and packaged responsibly before being roasted in Seattle.

8. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s K-Cup Dark Roast

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason's Blend K-Cup Coffee Pods for Keurig Brewers, Dark Roast, 75 Pods
$34.98 ($0.47 / Count)
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Mr. Peet conceived the Major Dickason’s blend and it’s now the coffee associated with a rich flavor. The flavor notes are rich, full-bodied, smoky, and complex.

You can brew the coffee in the morning or other preferred time of the day with a single serve coffee maker. No need to brew a whole pot if you don’t want to.

By choosing Peet’s K-Cups, you aren’t compromising on the coffee quality, as it’s similar to their bagged coffee. 

Peet’s Coffee grows and sources this coffee responsibly, expressing care to the communities that farm the coffee. 

Since 1966, the company has been sourcing superior quality coffee beans. The beans undergo hand-roasting in small batches for maximum freshness and a flavorful cup.

9. AmazonFresh Whole Bean Dark Roast Coffee

AmazonFresh Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1)
$15.49 ($0.48 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 10:49 am GMT

A coffee product by Amazon? Convenient. But, is it good?

Sure, the dark roast whole bean uses 100% Arabica beans sourced from Central and South America, which, upon roasting, result in coffee containing the least amount of acidity ever known.

That’s not all.

This coffee is also a great choice for those on budget. So, if you’re searching for superior dark roast coffee and don’t have enough purchasing power for a high-end coffee product, you can go for AmazonFresh Dark Roast.

The other upside of this Amazon product is that it comes as whole beans, meaning it can stay fresh longer. 

Thus, you can grind your coffee whenever you want. 

To further ensure the coffee is fresh, Amazon packs it soon after roasting using a one-way freshness valve aimed at delivering a high-quality experience.

The coffee goes through expert roasting in individual batches, which helps to unlock maximum flavor and aroma. The process takes time so you can smile after every sip.

The dark roast coffee is ideal for espresso. Every coffee enthusiast at home that prefers the chocolaty, smoky dark roast, will fall in love with it.

It’s worth noting that some users have reported a reduced flavor at a coarser grind so if French press is your jam this might not be the best dark roast coffee bean for you. 

10. Mayorga Organics Café Cubano Whole Bean Dark Roast

Mayorga Organics Café Cubano Roast, 2lb. Bag, Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee, Specialty-Grade, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Direct Trade, Kosher
$17.98 ($0.56 / Ounce)
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01/18/2021 10:49 am GMT

Mayorga Organics is based in Rockville, Maryland where the roasting and packaging takes place. However, they import coffee from Central America.

The Mayorga dark roast is a Cuban-style coffee with hints of sweet, syrupy smokiness, and vanilla. The coffee has low acidity with a smooth, bold finish.

It’s sustainably sourced from certified organic and quality-inspected cooperatives and farmers in Latin America. This coffee is Non-GMO verified, USDA, Kosher, and Direct Trade certified.

Not only is the coffee roasted and packaged in the United States, but it also undergoes slow roasting in small batches to ensure maximum freshness that translates into an excellent flavor.

The coffee is high-quality, shade-grown, 100% Arabica, specialty grade.

If you love espresso, this coffee bean is a must try. Just be sure to create the finest grind. 

Some users state that the beans are oily, and this may happen due to longer roast times (slow-roasting), but the purpose is to reduce acidity.

Ultimate Dark Roast Coffee Buying Guide

What Is Dark Roast Coffee?

The longer coffee is roasted, the darker the beans turn so an easy way to identify dark roast coffee is looking for beans darker in color. 

Dark roasted beans have an oily surface, a thick body, and are generally low in acidity.

The difference between light roast and dark roast coffee is immense and some coffee lovers do not like dark roast beans because the increased roasting time results in a more single-note flavor than that of light roast.

Coffee is a matter of personal taste, so it is common to find two coffee lovers unable to agree on what good coffee tastes like. Coffee means different things to different people.

If you enjoy coffee that tastes like roasted nuts or caramel dark roast is going to be right up your alley. Because dark beans tend to be more oily than light a toasty taste often develops.

Dark roast beans flavors develop from the roasting process and the bright tones and coffees origin flavors dissipate due to the longer amount of time the beans are roasted.

Dive into the following guide to get a detailed look at how you can arrive at the ultimate dark roast coffee that tastes the best to your taste buds:

Varieties of Dark Roast

Let’s start out by identifying the varieties of roast categories:

·         Light Roast

·         Medium Roast

·         Medium-dark Roast

·         Dark Roast

The dark roast category is further subdivided into the following varieties depending on the roasting intensity:

Vienna Roast

With Vienna roasting, you end up with flavorful, oily small spots on the beans’ surface. The oil is brought to the surface by the roasting time and very tricky to achieve because if it’s not roasted long enough the oil won’t appear and if it’s roasted too long too much oil will come to the surface.

French Roast

These beans are on the darker end of the spectrum and are similar to the color of dark chocolate.. The flavor is natural, with traces of bittersweet notes. You can also pick chocolate and raspberry hints if your tongue is keen enough.

Italian Roast

The beans are somewhat nearly burned to get Italian roast, and that’s why they are darker with flavors that range from bittersweet to charred. They are also more oily. However, much of the original taste is gone. Italians love this coffee, and that’s why it is synonymous with espresso.

Continental

Continental coffee is the most robust dark roast coffee; it leaves a burnt taste in your mouth. It’s even more darkly roasted than espresso. It is best used with milk to moderate the extreme bitter taste.

There are still other varieties, but which are more or less similar to any of the above, so the names are often used interchangeably. They include High, Turkish, Spanish, Heavy, Double, and Neapolitan roast.

Origin

Each geographical region has unique characteristics; sunshine, soil chemistry, altitude, and rainfall. All of which play a factor in how the coffee from each region will grow and ultimately taste. 

When you’re tasting different coffees on your journey to find your favorite dark roast make note of the origins that appeal to you. They’ll be helpful in narrowing your search.

Generally, coffee is grown along the equator zones known as the Bean Belt. The zones are between 25° north and 30° south along the equator. 

Coffee farming is practiced in more than 50 countries, but there are those famous coffee regions whose flavors are well-known and popular. 

The following are the popular coffee regions:

South America

South American coffee is mainly from Brazil and Colombia and is generally low in acidity. The coffee is of high-quality, with peanut and chocolate flavors.

Central America

Central American coffee has different flavors and aromas. The acidity level is medium. One well-known coffee from this region is the Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee Dark Roast from Honduras.

Southeast Asia

The most common coffee from this region is the Robusta, though there are also Arabica beans. The flavors are intense, and often have a heavy taste due to the climate they grow in.

Africa

The most common coffee from Africa is the Arabica, with an intense and bold taste. There are other varieties known for their fruity and citrus notes. Ethiopian coffee is heavy, with a fruity and floral taste. Kenya also produces sought after Arabica beans with a sharp and full body.

India

Indian coffee has a mellowing taste with chocolate and cherry notes. It’s typically medium bodied, smooth and low in acidity. 

Does Dark Roast Mean It’s Stronger?

There is the myth that dark roast coffee is high in caffeine, possibly because of the bitter taste and plump appearance. On the other end, another myth has it that dark roast coffee has less caffeine because it loses the caffeine content during the roasting process.

There is a difference in caffeine levels between Arabica beans and Robusta beans but it has nothing to do with how long they’re roasted.Dark roast coffee is actually stronger or better described as deeper in flavor. It has a more robust, singular flavor, though with less of the fruity floral and diverse flavors you get from light roast. 

Dark coffee lovers are, however, more after the strong taste, not the sweet. 

Which Beans Make The Best Dark Roast Coffee?

While there are many types of coffee beans in the world that can make dark roast coffee, the most outstanding ones are:

Arabica Coffee Beans

Most coffee lovers prefer Arabica because it is well-balanced, fruity, more acidic, sweeter, and milder than Robusta. It has traces of different flavors, such as chocolate, sugar, and fruits. 

Arabica coffee beans have 40-50% less caffeine than Robusta beans.

Robusta Coffee Beans

On the other hand, some coffee lovers prefer Robusta, insisting it is the best because it has more caffeine; they also enjoy its more bitter but less acidic flavor. 

In truth, it has less flavor than Arabica beans. Robusta beans have more caffeine and taste stronger but that comes with tasting harsher too.

Kona Coffee

Apart from these, there is a third runner up; Kona coffee. 

Kona originates from Hawaii and is known for its wholesome flavor and aroma. 

If you imagine it is cheaper than the first two because it is at number three, you’re mistaken. It can be as expensive, being rare. There are blended versions of Kona you can get at a lower price, but the original, pure one is costly.

Brew The Best Dark Roast Coffee text and coffee beans in a mug

Tips for Brewing the Best Dark Roast Coffee

First of all, ensure the coffee you buy is fresh. That really goes for any coffee, not just dark roast. 

A coffee that has lost its freshness is not going to give you the best taste. 

Do not buy ground coffee that has stayed on the shelves for a long period of time. In fact, we recommend you grind your beans yourself whenever possible.

The coffee should also be well packaged. Poorly packaged coffee leads to air coming in contact with the beans or grounds and that immediately decreases freshness.

The method you use to brew your coffee also affects the taste. So the following tips should help you brew the best dark roast coffee:

You can use different brewing methods when it comes to dark roast coffee. You can use a drip machine or an espresso maker. Then there are the French press, Aeropress, Moka pot, and pour over. 

All these methods work with many dark roast varieties. However, the espresso brewing method is the most preferred for dark roasts. 

In fact, it is the method used by most cafes. The espresso method balances the flavors while also rounding the acidity.

The stronger taste is best blended with milk to calm and enhance the bitterness. 

Take the time to fine tune and set the appropriate grind sizes. Grind your beans when you are about to brew so that the grinds are not exposed to the air for long. 

Oxidation weakens the grinds. It would be best if you only ground what you intend to use immediately, not extra for future use.

You should also watch out for the brewing duration and water to coffee ratio. The strength of your coffee will ultimately be determined by the coffee to water ratio. 

When it comes to water, use cold, fresh, and filtered water so that it never interferes with the coffee flavors.

About the temperature, we recommend that the water should not over boil. According to the National Coffee Association 195°F to 205°F is the ideal brewing temperature 

Brewing at the ideal temperature is key to achieving the best extraction and in turn the best flavor. 

Too hot and you’ll end up with bitter coffee and too cold you’ll end up with flat and sometimes sour tasting coffee.

The best way to discover the aroma and taste that works specifically for you is through experimenting, that’s part of the fun of brewing coffee at home. 

Eventually, you develop a craving for a particular taste which only you know how to brew to your definition of perfect, and that’s the beauty of coffee. You become the master of the game.

Final Word

Finding the best dark roast coffee comes down to taste preferences and the only true way to determine what you like the best is trial and error. 

Heck, you may even decide you don’t like dark roast and prefer the brighter taste from light or medium roasts. 

That’s perfectly fine, there are no rules when it comes to finding the coffee you like. Sip, sample, and go with what tastes good to you!