Best Dark Roast Coffee – 10 top Picks

You might simply like dark roast coffee because it’s what you’re familiar with. Especially if you usually sip on the most concentrated form of coffee, espresso.

But it’s possible that you just like strong, intense, and bold-flavors

Anyway, you’re here for to discover the best dark roast coffee. So let’s get to it!

Below we run through 10 of our favorites, and if you’re in a hurry here’s our ultimate choice: 

Top Pick
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

Bold and earthy flavor, complimented by syrupy and chocolatey notes. Naturally low acid yet rich and dark.

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Alternatives at a glance

Best Brewed With Milk
Peaberry Dark Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona

This 100% Kona dark roast has medium acidity and is complimented by sweet to nutty undertones.

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Best French Roast
French Roast by Lion Coffee

Decadently dark with an intense flavor, this one's perfect if you are looking for the ultimate DARK roast.

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Best Low Acid
Lifeboost Dark Roast

Nicaraguan single origin beans, which have been shade grown and certified USDA organic. Get 50% off your first order by using our link too!

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Best Central American
Volcanica Costa Rica Single Origin

Costa Rica is known for its rural beauty. The perfect stage to produce premium quality coffee beans and this dark roast is exceptionally flavourful!

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Best Body
Dark Brazil Cerrado Coffee

Dark, nutty and single-origin. What’s not to like? Use discount code SIP10 for 10% off your order too!

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Best Served Black
Organic Dark Mexican Chiapas

Smoky, bold and electric! With no bitterness and a smooth finish it makes a refreshing dark brew. Use discount code SIP10 for 10% off your order too!

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Best Dessert Coffee
The Dark Side of the Moon - Creme Brûlée Coffee

Creme Brûlée Coffee - do we need to say any more?

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Beanbox Community Favorite
Bearded Lady Blend

A Guatemala and Ethiopia blend with chocolate undertones. Yum!


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Best Aroma
Summer's Boldest Blend

A unique blend of Ethiopian and Kenyan beans, this is a rare dark floral explosion!


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The 10 Best Dark Roast Coffee Choices

1. Volcanica’s Sumatra Mandheling

I feel Volcanica’s Sumatra Mandheling coffee is the best dark roast coffee on this list. It almost feels like a delicacy.

Top Pick
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

Bold and earthy flavor, complimented by syrupy and chocolatey notes. Naturally low acid yet rich and dark.

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It has a heavy body, and is naturally sweet, with the lingering taste of brown sugar. It has the aroma of cocoa, and winey, fruity notes as well.

It’s sweet and has a lot of depth. I couldn’t ask for much more when it comes to a dark roast coffee!

More generally, Sumatra coffees are known to have low acid levels, so you won’t have to worry about this cup of Joe upsetting your stomach.

Lastly, it’s certified organic coffee, so you know you’re not putting in any pesticides or harmful chemicals into your body. It’s strong, healthy, and insanely delicious. You can’t go wrong with this one!

2. Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee 

We hinted on the fact coffee can unsettle your stomach if you’re sensitive.

If this is you, Lifeboost’s dark roast arabica beans (also labeled as French and Italian roasts) are what I’d recommend. This coffee has a pH of 6, which is a lot less acidic than other coffee options, most of which have a pH from 4.5 to 5.

Best Low Acid
Lifeboost Dark Roast

Nicaraguan single origin beans, which have been shade grown and certified USDA organic. Get 50% off your first order by using our link too!

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In particular, this coffee has a rich, cocoa body with a hint of orange peels and a spiced finish. It’s a flavorful coffee with no bitterness whatsoever.

These beans are also organic and mountain shade-grown, so they’re a relatively healthy option for dark roasted coffee beans.

3. Koa Peaberry Dark Roast

Most coffee cherries contain two coffee beans face to face, separated by a ridge in the middle. But 3 to 5 percent of the time, one bean fails, and the other bean ends up with enough nutrition for two beans. The result is called a “peaberry” bean. It’s harder, denser, and rounder than your usual coffee bean. 

Best Brewed With Milk
Peaberry Dark Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona

This 100% Kona dark roast has medium acidity and is complimented by sweet to nutty undertones.

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Peaberry beans are roasted separately and produce a similar but more distinct flavor profile than its twin sets of siblings. That doesn’t mean all peaberry beans are better than flat beans, but it does tend to be the case. And Koa’s peaberry Kona beans are no exception to this rule.

These beans produce incredibly flavourful, medium-bodied, and subtly sweet coffee, finished off by a pleasant acidity. This is a cup full of flavor that I would love to wind down an afternoon with.

4. Volcanica Costa Rican Coffee

Volcanica’s Costa Rican coffee is farmed and packaged in the Tarrazu valley.

Best Central American
Volcanica Costa Rica Single Origin

Costa Rica is known for its rural beauty. The perfect stage to produce premium quality coffee beans and this dark roast is exceptionally flavourful!

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The volcanic soil and high altitude climate in the area work together to produce one of the world’s highest quality coffees. The coffee beans are roasted perfectly, with just a thin coating of oil on the surface to add body to your coffee.

It’s a full-bodied cup of coffee with balanced flavor and the taste of toasted apples. It’s super light, and just a delicious beverage.

Unusually, I also love the decaf version of these beans. You may be interested in those in case the taste of strong coffee minus the caffeine is enough to wake you up in the morning!

5. Lion French Roast Coffee

French roasts can sometimes end up tasting burnt and unpleasant, as little of the bean’s natural flavor is left. But rather than taste ashy and over-roasted, Lion’s French roast coffee beans are just the right balance of smoky flavor and sweetness.

Best French Roast
French Roast by Lion Coffee

Decadently dark with an intense flavor, this one's perfect if you are looking for the ultimate DARK roast.

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This is how French roasts are supposed to taste. These beans are perfect for people who like intense, full-bodied coffee. It has that strong coffee flavor, but without the bitterness typically found in many dark roasted coffee beans.

As a result, this is perfect if you like drinking strong, black coffee best enjoyed on its own.

6. Fresh Roasted Dark Brazil Cerrado Coffee 

Coffee grown in the region of Cerrado in Brazil is known for its low acidity and distinctly nutty flavor profile. When roasted dark, it also tends to taste more chocolatey. That’s exactly what you get with Fresh Roasted’s Brazil Cerrado coffee. I dunno about you, but I’m a chocolate fiend, so this ticks the ultimate box!

Best Body
Dark Brazil Cerrado Coffee

Dark, nutty and single-origin. What’s not to like? Use discount code SIP10 for 10% off your order too!

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It’s a heavy-bodied coffee that has delicious notes of cocoa and walnut. The darkness of the roast also gives it a toasty edge. This flavor complements the bean’s natural flavor well, just as all the best coffees should!

7. Fresh Roasted Dark Mexican Chiapas Coffee

This organic coffee gets its depth and smokiness from its roasting process. The beans produce a rich body with a nutty, maple finish. These are grown in the Mexican state of Chiapas, where the high altitude elevates the coffee quality.

Best Served Black
Organic Dark Mexican Chiapas

Smoky, bold and electric! With no bitterness and a smooth finish it makes a refreshing dark brew. Use discount code SIP10 for 10% off your order too!

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This is a strong and flavorful cup of Joe. And if you tend to prefer dark roasted coffee, I think you’ll enjoy Fresh Roasted’s Dark Mexican Chiapas. For me, this is the best coffee to take black on this list.

8. Vashon Coffee Dark Side of the Moon Blend 

If you like desserts, you’ll love this creation by Vashon Coffee. It has notes of dark cocoa, and the roast gives it its toasty character, hence its nickname “Creme Brûlée Coffee”.

Best Breakfast brew
The Dark Side of the Moon - Creme Brûlée Coffee

Creme Brûlée Coffee - do we need to say any more?

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This, for me, is the best dark roast coffee to pair with a pastry for breakfast. That would be the perfect start to a day!

9. Straight Outta Fremont – Bearded Lady Blend

In terms of flavor, this is one of my favorites from this list. It’s bold, chocolatey, and sweet, with a hint of almonds. And those flavors are rounded out by deep notes of red cherries.

Beanbox Community Favorite
Bearded Lady Blend

A Guatemala and Ethiopia blend with chocolate undertones. Yum!


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It’s easy to see why the Bearded Lady blend by Longshoreman’s Daughter is one of Bean Box’s most popular coffee beans. It gets its complex flavor profile from Guatemala (known for more chocolatey flavor notes) and Ethiopia (known for more fruity flavors).

If you want to impress your friends and family with your sophisticated coffee taste, this would be a great blend to showcase.

10. Fundamental Coffee Summer Solstice Blend

The Summer Solstice Blend by Fundamental Coffee is unique because it has notably acidic and floral notes. Which you might know is quite unusual for dark roasted coffee.

Best Aroma
Summer's Boldest Blend

A unique blend of Ethiopian and Kenyan beans, this is a rare dark floral explosion!


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The flavors from roasting usually overpower the more subtle natural aromas and the flavor of the beans. Because of this, beans with mild, gentle flavors are often used as light roast coffees.

But these are no ordinary beans, as high-quality coffees from Ethiopia and Kenya are known to have intensely bright, floral flavors.

Despite being a dark roasted coffee, the beans’ sweetness and acidity shine through. Their aroma is so mouthwatering, with hints of orange and spices to for one heavenly aroma.

A Buyers Guide To The Darker Side of Coffee

What’s a dark roast

The main difference between light, medium, and dark roast coffees lies in their roasting process. A light roast will be roasted the least while cooking further will produce darker-colored beans and, therefore darker roasts.

Dark roasted beans also have an oily surface, as roasting draws oils out of the bean. As a result, dark roast coffee also has a heavy body. They’re also known to have a relatively low acid level generally.

Dark roast coffee isn’t the most popular in the specialty coffee community, because it removes most of the original flavors of the beans through heat.

So if you’re dark roasting high-quality arabica beans with a lot of subtle, fruity flavors and aroma, those flavors and aromas might not be cut through to the brew. 

The effect on flavor is similar to what barbecuing does to meat. The natural flavors of the coffee fade to the background and are replaced by smoky, sometimes burnt flavors. This is why it’s not uncommon for roasters to mask the unpleasant flavors of low quality coffee beans by roasting them dark.

The “Darker” Roasts

Every now and then, you might see something else on your coffee label, like “French Roast” or “Italian Roast”. That’s because there are subtypes of roasts within each category. Here are the different kinds of dark roast coffee beans!

Vienna Roast

The lightest of these roasts, the Vienna roast is just darker than medium-dark. Here, the beans are roasted until the middle of the second crack.

The oils start to penetrate the surface as a result of the roasting process, and the flavors of the coffee begin to resemble that of dark chocolate. It starts to get a smoky aroma, and it will give you a full-bodied cup of coffee.

French Roast

French roast coffee is roasted even further into the second crack.

The beans will be a deep brown in color, with a thin coating of oil on their surface where the resulting coffee will have a heavy body, and a sweet, caramelized flavor. Most of the subtle natural characteristics of the coffee will have been muted at this point.

Italian Roast

The Italian roast has an even darker brown than the French roast. It’s no coincidence that Italy happens to be the home of espresso a well.

They enjoy dark roast coffees because they are perfectly suited for espresso.

But at this point, the beans have very little of their origin characteristics left. What’s left may come out as undertones or aftertastes, in a bittersweet cup of coffee.

Continental

This is the most robust roast on this list. Continental roast coffee is usually incredibly strong, with a burnt taste. This is often used with milk, in order to help taper off its bitter edge.

Espresso

Though you may have seen this on your coffee label before, “espresso” actually doesn’t refer to a particular roast level.

Rather, it refers to the beans being anywhere from medium-dark to dark roasted, as those used to be considered the most ideal roasts for espresso.

Darker Roast Origins

As I mentioned a while ago, it isn’t uncommon for roasters to hide the beans’ quality by dark-roasting them. But you might be wondering if there are beans that taste better when given this treatment.

It is a good way to tell if you’ll like a dark roasted coffee to see if you think the bean’s origin flavors would taste good when given a more “roasty” character.

Colombia

Colombia produces coffee with a strong caramel sweetness and hints of nuttiness. Colombian beans are often roasted dark, and it makes sense that a toasted edge would suit this coffee. Personally, I find the thought of dark caramel and toasted nuts mouthwatering!

Sumatra

Meanwhile, Sumatran coffees from Indonesia, like the Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling I mentioned a while ago, are similar. They naturally have a deep, earthy flavor that takes to longer roasting quite well, if those flavors appeal to you. Sumatran coffee isn’t my particular favorite, but I do prefer it when the most when it’s dark roasted.

Brazil

Brazil also produces great-tasting dark roast coffees. Beans here have the taste of peanuts, with some chocolate and spice notes. These flavors are tied well together by the smoky flavors you can get from roasting. 

If you’re looking for high quality beans from Brazil, the Dark Brazil Cerrado Coffee by Fresh Roasted Coffee I recommended is a great starting point!

Guatemala

Finally, beans from Guatemala are also commonly dark roasted. They have strong hints of chocolate, caramel, and nuts, particularly for Guatemala Antigua coffee. A smokiness certainly tastes well with these flavors.

Although Guatemala Antigua loses some of its natural citrus flavors when roasted, some roasters make blends like the Bearded Lady blend. In this blend, Longshoreman’s Daughter mixed in Ethiopian beans with the Guatemalan beans to add an acidic dimension to the coffee.                

The Final Verdict

So what is the best dark roast coffee? The truth is, there’s no single correct answer. The best coffee for me may end up not being your favorite, and that’s perfectly fine! Nonetheless my favorite is Volcanica’s Sumatra Mandheling

Top Pick
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

Bold and earthy flavor, complimented by syrupy and chocolatey notes. Naturally low acid yet rich and dark.

SEE PRICE NOW
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What’s important is to develop your taste palette, and keep discovering new flavors. Once you know what you tend to like or dislike, it’ll be a lot easier to find coffee beans that you enjoy. You might even want to experiment with a light roast or robusta coffee beans.

What’s important is to develop your taste palette, and keep discovering new flavors. Once you know what you tend to like or dislike, it’ll be a lot easier to find coffee beans that you enjoy. You might even want to experiment with a light roast or robusta coffee beans.

What’s important is to develop your taste palette, and keep discovering new flavors. Once you know what you tend to like or dislike, it’ll be a lot easier to find coffee beans that you enjoy. You might even want to experiment with a light roast or robusta coffee beans.

Do your research, and don’t limit yourself to only one type of coffee! Eventually, the best dark roast coffee will find its way to you.

Miguel Papa

Miguel Papa

Barista and coffee writer

Miguel Papa is a coffee fanatic with a passion for brewing. During the weekdays, you can find him experimenting with different drinks while he works as a barista. Otherwise, he’s likely writing here for Sip Coffee or enjoying the outdoors.