Try Drinking Your Coffee Black

in Buying Coffee, Serving Coffee

I was really happy this week to get this message from one of our regular guests on the site, Robin:

“Happy New Year Marc.  I took your advice and went “cold turkey” and I am now drinking black coffee…. WOW what a huge difference it makes.  Thank you.”

It was timed perfectly with a lunch conversation I was having today with a friend.  For my entire coffee-drinking life, I put two creams and two sugars in every cup.  To lose some weight, I eventually switched from 10% cream to 5% cream and of course…just put in twice as much.

What’s more, I was polluting the coffee although at the time, it wasn’t the world’s greatest coffee.  I would buy their biggest tin of pre-ground coffee and spend the next 3-4 weeks working through it.  I knew enough about freshness to put the lid back on the can between brewings, but not enough to know that much fresher coffee was out there and much better practice was needed in my kitchen.

Try Drinking Your Coffee Black

I’m not in college anymore and as the quality of my coffee has improved, there’s all the more reason to stop sweetening and whitening it.  With enough cream and sugar, every coffee you ever drink will taste the same, so that as you learn more and more about the Coffees of the World, you’ll never appreciate their uniqueness without drinking them black.

Do like Robin did and give it a shot for one week to see what you think.  There are some promises I can make you.  First of all, you won’t like your first cup of black coffee as much as what you’ve become used to drinking, so that’s why you need to give it a FULL week.  If you don’t enjoy it, how much difference can it possibly make in your life to have tried it for one week?  But I can promise you it will make a huge difference if you love coffee and come to enjoy drinking it black.

Second, you should find yourself a medium-roasted coffee for this experiment rather than the (to quote Starbucks) bolder darker-roasted coffees.  Ease yourself into the experience.

And third, I did indeed lose weight by cutting out cream and sugar.  So you do something better for yourself while you learn to enjoy coffee the way that coffee was meant to be enjoyed.  I can’t wait to hear from you as you convert!


  1. Weird and timely that you post this now … Tim Ferriss advises in his brand new book – the 4-Hour Body – that if “you simply remove milk from your daily coffee and replace it with Saigon cinnamon (delicious, btw), many people will lose an additional 2-5 lbs. of fat per week.”

    PS, I LOL’d @ the college coffee bit.

    Comment by Julie VW — January 4, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  2. There is a good deal of positive information on casual caffeine intake coming in from the medical community. Fatty cream and sugar are not good for anybody but otherwise we might find out black coffee is an important part of your balanced day :).

    Comment by Marc Wortman — January 7, 2011 @ 12:59 am

  3. I drank black coffee for 20 years and would have it no other way. After traveling to Paris and other places a number of times and following their ways, I found myself putting half and half in coffee and cannot seem to return. I know I have put on a few pounds in a few years of doing this. I originally would only think of black coffee as the way to go. I definitely want to go back. And that is why I am researching making the best cup of joe.

    Comment by Kristin Kriegbaum — April 6, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  4. Thanks for the comment, Kristin. Perhaps some of the mellower, less complex coffees would help you get back to enjoying good black coffee, while a complex coffee like a Guatemalan is very rich in flavor. Best of luck! To your comment, I lost a few pounds when I stopped putting two creams and two sugars in each cup of coffee I made.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — April 10, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  5. Ditto Tim Ferriss and the general Paleo community. My dash of creamer and one Splenda are the two things that have kept me from being full paleo. Here’s hoping that going zero dairy will fully clear my skin.

    Comment by sue — January 19, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

  6. I know this is a really old article but I had to comment RE: the first comment. You simply cannot lose 5 lbs of fat in a week, no way no how. To do that you’d need to cut your calories by so much you wouldn’t be able to live. For instance, I am a 30 year old male, weighing in at 208 lbs. At my moderate activity level, I need to eat around 3,000 calories a day to maintain my weight. That’s 21,000 calories a week. To cut a pound of weight(not fat, weight, which is fat + muscle + water), I have to reduce my intake by 3,500 calories. That’s just one pound. Multiply times 5 and you get 17,500, leaving me only 3,500 calories to eat for the WEEK. Soooo, impossible. I’ve lost over 30 lbs and believe me, losing 2 lbs a week is about as much as you can lose and remain healthy. For the record, I take my coffee with sugar and creamer daily, 2 cups a day(50 calories each, and I count them!). If you want to lose weight, put down the fork. There is no easier way.

    Comment by Sean — September 30, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

  7. I live in a family where thy love drinking black coffee. I dunno what phenomenon it is to like the bitter taste; I do like coffee but I always make sure I have a good amount of cream and sugar in it.

    Comment by Juan Miguel — April 15, 2016 @ 1:55 am

  8. I think that everybody should enjoy coffee the way they like it best. It’s a drink that lends itself well to being customized to personal taste. I only drink black coffee, myself.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — April 19, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

  9. i tried and did so successfully few years ago…but i came across an article online that says drinking plain black coffe can be very bad for your stomach,, the lady said she had no idea why she was having soo much severe stomache pains and went to the doctor she had gastritis and turns out she said it was the black coffee, so now i drink ti with milk or creamer no sugar nor sweetners.

    Comment by adam — August 20, 2016 @ 3:05 am

  10. Thank you for sharing, Adam. I believe given the health benefits of coffee, that if it doesn’t cause noticeable stomach discomfort, that person is probably fine. Otherwise, darker roasted coffees and cold-brewed coffees are lower in acidity (much lower in the case of cold brew) and could be another alternative.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — August 20, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

Add your comment