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.

3 Answers 3


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.


I just read that milk binds to the tannins in tea. I've taken to doing a cold brew round with my tea and coffee, doing milk where possible, minimal and minimally high glycemic sweetener, and to the coffee I add roasted chicory and dandelion roots and only heating once it's made by microwave. Since I don't want to waste it and it's not all coffee anymore, I did this thing that I do with the tea that either it's wet or I hit it with a little tap water before hitting it with the boiling water , then I put it right in the fridge and it's in there there for another couple days -I mostly drink green tea now. And Right now I'm having just about 4 oz of coffee and 8 oz of peppermint tea. Oops this part got spliced off- I don't know if the fact that it's not technically getting hit by heat helps at all but, I think it does. With the coffee I mean. With the tea, waiting to drink until I've hit it with hot water means I don't ever drink it fully cold or hot brewed... and this is helping my stomach!

  • Welcome to Coffee SE! Please elaborate a bit more about the milk, which seems to be your main answer. The first sentence starts out with that but after that you mention a lot of different things which don't seem to be related to milk anymore and I'm not really sure about their relevance with respect to the question.
    – JJJ
    May 20, 2022 at 21:00

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