Last Updated on September 17, 2021 by John Moretti
Dark roast coffee beans produce a rich array of flavors, a hearty aroma, and a potent level of caffeine. But which dark roast coffee beans are suitable for your needs? First, let’s take a look at some of the most popular and delicious options on the market. I’ve carefully researched each option to find the most appropriate choices for a broad array of different tastes.
- Best Overall Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee Dark Roast
- Best Budget Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Volcanica Dark Roast Blend
- Best High-Caffeinated Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Death Wish World’s Strongest Ground and Whole Bean Coffee
- Best Spicy Dark Road Coffee Beans: Cafe Umbria Dark Roast Beans
- Best Organic Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Beans
- Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans for Cappuccino: Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend
- Best American Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Stumptown Hairbender Espresso Beans
Dark roast coffee beans go through a deeper level of roasting to produce a richer taste and a lower level of acidity. Each of the options here was rated based on many factors, including taste, acid level, caffeine content, and much more. So when you’re done reading it, you’ll know about many different factors, such as:
- What each coffee presents to the buyer
- What options seem appropriate to you
- Which traits I used to grade each brand
- The dark roast coffee beans you want to buy
Subtle Earth Organic – Best Overall Dark Roast Coffee Beans
This dark roast coffee bean comes right out of Honduras and is one of the best options I could find on the market. Upon tasting it, I found it had a very rich flavor with an undercurrent of chocolate. The velvety body went particularly well with many types of subtle creamers, such as hazelnut. The depth of flavor was superlative, providing an excellent and exciting option for many buyers.
Even better, this coffee has been certified by the CCOF, meaning it meets all requirements for organic advertising. This fact is important because many beans may falsely claim to be organic. So always look for the CCOF certification whenever shopping for organic foods like coffee beans. But what about the GMO status of this bean?
Thankfully, the CCOF has also certified it as GMO-free, meaning you can enjoy great coffee grown ethically. I suggest brewing it in small batches and serving it with friends. It pairs perfectly with most chocolate cookies and is a great way to start the day. Next, flavor it with the previously mentioned hazelnut creamer or whole-dairy milk to deepen the flavor further and produce a fantastic combination of textures.
- The organic nature of this bean helps to produce a healthier option for many buyers
- Low acidity makes this an excellent choice
- It comes in an attractive and large bag that helps provide you with coffee for a long time
- The “shiny” appearance may be a bit off-putting to some coffee buyers
- Beans may go moldy more quickly because they lack preservatives
Volcanica Dark Roast Blend – Best Budget Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Are you on a budget when it comes to your coffee purchases? I get where you’re coming from there. Not everybody who wants to enjoy dark roasted coffee may be able to afford huge, two-pound bags of coffee. However, many brands create a high-quality and inexpensive option for people on a budget. Of all the types that I tried and experimented with for this article, Volcanica was the best budget option.
This particular blend is for espresso coffee, meaning it has a great combination of Central and South American Arabica beans. These beans are among the most popular for dark roast coffee. Their acidity is just right, in my opinion. It isn’t so heavily acidic that you might find it hard to drink but not too bland, either. A slight kick to it helps add to its value for those who want a nice and powerful coffee blend.
The taste blend is fantastic for dark-roasted coffee fans. It produces a sweet caramel taste with a dense flavor body that retains its taste well. There is also a slight spice that I enjoyed, though it shouldn’t be too overwhelming. In many ways, this is a good middle-of-the-road option, and that’s fine by me. Sometimes, we just want a not-too-spicy blend that doesn’t wear out our budget.
- The price is incredibly fair for this bean, making it a tremendous first-time dark roast blend
- Works well with many types of brewing situations, including espresso and cappuccino
- Produce a sweet caramel taste that may appeal to many coffee drinkers
- Some report a slightly sour taste that may not suit everyone
- Slightly less bold and flavorful than other options on the market
Deathwish World’s Strongest Coffee – Best High-Caffeinated Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Do you like your coffee strong and potent enough to keep you awake for hours? Then, Deathwish might be the best dark roast option for your needs. This company’s branding is very entertaining, which is a big part of its charm for me. It claims to have the “world’s strongest coffee,” and customer reviews (and our taste tests) confirmed that you’d get a pretty good burst of energy when enjoying a cup.
I particularly liked that this coffee was certified as both Fair Trade and USDA organic, allowing you to feel comfortable about your coffee choices. Each six-ounce cup provides one calorie with no added gluten, protein, or carbohydrates. They strongly recommend 2.5 teaspoons for every six ounces of water to get the best caffeine intake without overstimulating yourself.
And I strongly suggest following this advice because Deathwish is no joke with its caffeine content. Offset some of that potent flavor with a light creamer but avoid sugar. The combination of sugar and caffeine might be a bit too much for some drinkers.
- The acidity of this coffee is relatively low
- If you want a rich and flavorful coffee, you’ll get more than enough taste here
- Lack of additives or preservatives keeps this bean rich in natural aroma
- The caffeine content may be a bit too high for some users who want a milder blend
- Rich taste may also be a bit too heavy for some users used to lighter blends
Cafe Umbria – Best Spicy Dark Road Coffee Beans
Coffee spiciness is not quite the same thing as the spice found in foods like peppers. Instead, it indicates a richness of flavor and a potent kick that is often hard to define. That said, there is definitely a little bit of heat in some of the spiciest dark roast coffee beans. And you might notice that Cafe Umbria definitely has the highest “kick” or spiciness of any bean on this list.
Mixed with Arabica coffee from Central and Southern America, this blend brings in some of the best characteristics of coffee from around the world. Anticipate the rich and earthy textures typical to African beans and the flavorful kick of Central and Southern American coffee. I love this blend of different flavor types and think it makes this coffee a real potent option.
I also love the story of this brand. Named after the Umbrian town of Perugia and run by multiple generations of the same family, Cafe Umbria remains a fascinating player on the dark roast coffee beans market. Anyone who wants their coffee with a bit more zest and life is likely to fall in love with this blend and suggest it to friends, family members, and others in their life.
- A powerful blend of various world-class beans that produces a spicy and enjoyable flavor
- Rich caffeine content that helped get me going in the morning and kept me asking for more
- Subtle but enjoyable, aroma that added much to the overall flavor profile of this bean
- It might be a bit too spicy for those who want a more all-purpose coffee blend
- May possess a fairly dark aftertaste that left some of our taste testers unhappy
Lifeboost Espresso – Best Organic Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Many of the beans I’ve discussed so far have some elements of organic production. Of all the organic options I researched, though, Lifeboost was the best. These beans combine a multitude of different flavors and scents into one cup, producing a blend unique to this company. And this firm’s commitment to organic and ethical growing makes them hard to top for those who love organic foods.
When you brew a cup of this coffee, you’ll note a nice blend of chocolate and caramel aromas and tastes. Frankly, this bean may have produced one of the tastiest cups of coffee I had when compiling this list! I strongly believe that’s because this organic bean lacks the kind of additives that other coffees use to stay fresh. So unlike them, you’re getting no chemical residue or aftertaste when brewing this bean.
Just as importantly, I loved that this brand was so committed to ethical growth. They use only sustainable growing and sourcing methods, hand-roast all the beans, wash all in spring water, dry them in the sun, and pay fair prices for all their products. I know that those interested in organic foods appreciate ethical growing methods, and this company is one of the best I could find for ethical growing.
- Slight chocolate taste gives this coffee one of the tastiest flavors on my list
- Ethical production methods help to keep you happy whenever you drink a cup
- Reasonable price considering the unique, organic techniques used to grow this bean
- Some areas might not stock this bean, meaning you may have to order it online
- Organic nature may cause the coffee to go stale quicker: we suggest small bags to minimize waste
Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend – Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans for Cappuccino
Peet’s has a long history of coffee brewing and once operated out of a single store in the late 60s. At that time, a man named Major Dickason came into the shop regularly and demanded a dense, dark, and flavorful coffee. However, the man never seemed satisfied – finally, the shop hit upon a dark-roasted bean and coffee blend that met his taste. And since then, it has been known as Major Dickason’s blend.
With such a fanciful story, it’s a good thing that this bean lived up to my expectations. Peet’s rarely lets us down, honestly, but they overwhelmed us with this full-bodied coffee blend. I particularly love using it for cappuccinos because it possesses the kind of rich flavor, deep texture, and minimum acidity that I love in our finest cappuccino blends.
Reaching this goal requires Peet’s to hand-roast each of their beans, paying attention to smell, sight, and taste as they roast. Though hardly scientific, they’re clearly on to something. This bean goes well in just about any blender and can be used to produce a cappuccino of unique diversity and richness. So break out Peet’s when you’ve got visiting friends and add a little milk to lighten its potency for the less hardy drinkers.
- The hand-roasted texture looks great, smells fantastic, and produces a fine mixture of coffee
- The long-lasting design has been around for decades and remains unchanged primarily and perfect
- Works well as a one-cup brew or as a detailed and dense cappuccino mix
- Though mild in acidity, it is a bit higher in this rating than others on my list
- It doesn’t blend well for espresso drinks due to its higher flavor potential
Stumptown Hairbender Espresso Beans – Best American Dark Roast Coffee Beans
If you want to work with an American company with high-quality beans, Stumptown is an excellent option. Utilizing a blend of various coffee beans from Africa, Latin America, and even Indonesia, this blend is a unique combination. But, unfortunately, few companies add Indonesian beans to their blends. Which I think is a shame because I love its unique combination of flavors and aromas.
For example, this blend produces a dark chocolate taste that will raise your eyebrows in a good way. However, there is also a citrus undertone that I don’t find in many coffees on the market today. That unique touch helps this bean stand out and creates what I consider a signature American taste. But while many roasters in the country try a similar approach with their flavor blends, few do it as well as Stumptown.
Expect a reasonable punch of acidity and spice, but nothing overbearing. It’s a middle option for those who want a slight kick but not an overwhelming one. And those concerned about the environment (but not ready to go full organic) will appreciate this company’s dedication to enhancing supply chains, rewarding their growers, and minimizing needless waste and other pollution concerns.
- Perfect for straight espresso shots, allowing you to produce reasonably potent drinks
- Blends well for your average, everyday coffee, as long as you like a bit of a kick
- The potent flavor is an excellent option for the coffee fan who knows what they want
- It does not blend well to create milk-based drinks, for those who want one
- May arrive late when ordering online, causing expired beans
What to Look For When Buying High-Quality Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Each dark roast coffee bean has different aspects you must carefully gauge before purchasing. I took these factors into account and commented on as many of them as possible in each product review section. But if you’re interested in buying different dark roast coffee beans, you must understand these elements to ensure that you buy the best product for your needs.
Your coffee bean’s acidity will vary depending on its darkness. For example, a lightly roasted coffee (with lighter beans) has a more acidic taste. Darker beans produce much less acidity but do possess a slightly flatter taste compared to lighter beans. Carefully consider these factors before choosing.
The caffeine content of dark roast coffee beans typically varies like the acidity. Most experts state that darker beans produce less caffeine overall. The variations are pretty slight for the most part, however. They typically range in the millimeter range, and likely won’t affect your overall coffee experience. Pay attention to this level, though, as some beans may be designed to have a higher caffeine content.
Dark roast coffee beans will produce a drink with a heavier flavor body. This means that it will be less affected by additives like milk, sugar, or creamer. As a result, the authentic black coffee taste will shine through much more clearly. Some drinkers may appreciate this bold body, while others may find it off-putting. If you’re someone who likes flavoring coffee, dark roast beans require a little more work than others.
Lighter coffee beans produce a very soft and appealing flavor with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Dark roast coffee beans have a smokier flavor, one that may even taste slightly burned. Most reviewers compare them to a bittersweet taste with a slight charcoal texture. The darker you roast the beans, the smokier the flavor. Try to find a balance that works for you to get the best results.