I've traditionally had coffee with milk, no sugar. However I've recently switched to a diet that involves either reducing milk intake or switching to a milk substitute.

I've been trying to make the switch to black coffee, but I'm finding the tannins (metallic/coppery taste down the sides of my tongue) a little too much to bear. I use a coffee pod machine mostly, but I've also found this problem with espresso black coffee.

I do notice the 'tannic' taste more when the coffee has cooled, but I'm wondering if there are certain types of coffee bean, roast styles, or even serving styles that I could adopt to reduce it without introducing milk back in?

Edit: A few notes.

  1. I've had the same problem with almond milk.
  2. Introducing sugar is a no-go.

Salt can reduce the perception of bitterness. Sugar-alternatives can help too (stevia, et al.). But assuming you don't want to add anything to your straight black coffee, I would change what you have control over. Brewing method and coffee.

Cold brewing reduces acids extracted from the coffee, which reduces bitterness. AeroPress brewing extracts less than most other hot methods like a french press.

For coffee, try out light roast or medium roast coffees, as these will have less tannins. You should also try out dry-processed vs wet-processed coffees, as those methods introduce different flavors to the coffee. Most dry-processed coffee will have a more stone fruity flavor due the the sweet cascara fruit flesh drying onto the beans.


Tannic acid grows exponentially for a while during roasting, then starts to decrease.

So, I can advise either you can add some (aged) green beans or dark roast beans to your coffee to find the best balance for yourself before grinding. This may decrease the overall acidity and tannin level of your cup.

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