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How, when and why (if) you started drinking your coffee black

Okay, I'm 24. While this is not young, I have had at least 8 years of coffee drinking in my life. I still drink it with cream and sweetener. For some reason, I think of this as an anti-chowish tendancy. I want to get rid of the sugar, and maybe the cream.

How, when and why did you stop drinking sweet creamy coffee? If you still drink it the way I do, does it bother you, or am I just crazy?


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  1. I was a new mother, needed lots of strong serious caf. Putting cream in it only meant that it would cool too quickly before I could get back to it after tending to Little HB. Oh...that, and the day my DH took a sip of my coffee, said, 'bleh!! why don't you drink it black??'
    Huh? Never thought of it.
    And so it began.
    Not particularly chow-ish, but true nonetheless.

    1. Peer pressure. When I started out on the railroad, an older guy (who I looked up to) looked at me as if I was an idiot when I asked for milk & sugar for my coffee. "Whatsa matter, dontcha like coffee?"

      So for a while there, I drank black coffee. But it tastes gross to me, so I got back to tarting it up pretty soon.

      I say, drink it the way you like it, no matter what crusty old men or chowhounds or whoever else think!

      1. I still put a little sugar in it, but I've been drinking it black since I was shortly out of college. I had a number of frustrating experiences with wanting coffee, but having no milk on hand (or spoiled milk), and then having to go buy milk or have no coffee. Therefore, I trained myself to drink it black, so I wouldn't have this problem again. Sugar isn't an issue, since it's easier to keep that on hand. Now I occasionally use milk if I'm in the mood, or if the coffee is hot and I want to cool it down quickly, but that's the exception.

        This is completely contrary to the way my mom drinks coffee, by the way, with no sugar and lots of milk.

        1. I started drinking my coffee black when I could afford good coffee. I found that if you want to start drinking it black find a mild, soft coffee that isn't too dominant in any one direction. Any good coffee roaster can help guide you in making that choice. I like drinking it black now. Coffee can be really expressive and interesting, and the cream/ sugar just muddies it. But if I ever have to go back to the 8 o'clock cr*p I'll definitely be buying some milk with it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: robdsteele

            This is similar to what I was going to say-- try drinking really good coffee, find some beans you really like. Experiment. Then you may be happy to drink it black. Perhaps mild is the best way to start, but what I really like is making a regular cup of coffee with a very dark bean-- Italian roast for example. In any case, try a bunch of different beans to see if there is one you really like black! Nothing wrong with using sugar and cream, but I hate to think how much I would weigh if I did this, considering how much coffee I drink. And I wouldn't use the chemical substitutes to avoid the calories either, blech.

            1. re: Anne H

              Agreed. Started drinking black when I was in my mid twenties and exposed to good coffee. Although, I think even if I had been exposed to good coffee prior, I might not have liked it. I was stuck in a collegiate lucky charms for dinner, everything sweet kinda thing.

              1. re: Anne H

                same here.
                started drinking it black when i was exposed to the coffee served at the original peets in berkeley in the late 1960's.
                it tasted better black than any coffee i had ever tasted before.
                changed my entire attitude toward coffee

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Ah, Vine Street Peet's. I always drink my Peet's with milk. But I had an experience similar to what you describe with Blue Bottle Coffee.

            2. I drink it with milk in the morning, but no sugar. In the afternoon I take it black. Milk is more morning/breakfasty for me, and afternoons and evening the black coffee settles the stomach nicely.
              Adding milk doesnt mask/ruin good coffee. Just use some nice full cream milk, and brew your coffee strong enough to taste it but so strong, that you only taste bitter flavour.

              1. Great question.

                I had a friend in England who started drinking her coffee black after a previous boyfriend told her, "Coffee is a bitter drink and you should drink it that way." She fell for the line and gave up the cream and sugar.

                When confronted with the parallel idea that chocolate is also, at its purest, a bitter food, and not one you'd really want to eat without any sweetening, she went back to doctoring her coffee and never looked back.

                There's nothing less chowish about milky or sweet coffee.


                NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                16 Replies
                1. re: Nosher

                  "When confronted with the parallel idea that chocolate is also, at its purest, a bitter food, and not one you'd really want to eat without any sweetening, she went back to doctoring her coffee and never looked back."

                  Great answer!

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    Yeah but there is something about keeping it as close as possible... certainly Dark Chocolate has a satisfying floral, fruity & smokey complexity that Milk Chocolate misses.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      As much as I personally dislike milk chocolate, I consider it a very different species of thing that is derived from the same fundamental ingredient as dark chocolate.

                      I tend to think of coffee and chocolate as raw ingredients that really shine when other things are added to them.

                      I don't really think that every food needs to be kept as closely to the taste of the raw ingredient, either. That's undoubtedly true sometimes, but there's no rule that good food needs to be close to its origins-- sometimes the best stuff doesn't resemble its components at all. Ever eaten a cake, for example?


                      NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                      1. re: Nosher

                        No doubt... I wasn't generalizing about all foods but in the case of some things like Chocolate, Coffee, Scotch, Bourbon, Tequila, Cabernet Sauvignon & Tobacco they are rarely surpassed in their classic format.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          I would like to submit for your consideration, really good coffee granita had on a steaming hot morning in Napoli, a really great flourless chocolate cake eaten in Paris, and the best drink I've ever consumed, a frozen mango margarita, made with good tequila, frozen mango chunks, lime and whatever else they put in it to make it the best drink ever (had in Ensenada, Baja California, about 15 years ago after riding the 50 mile bike ride between Rosarito and Ensenada, at one of the better restaurants in town at the time. The ingredients are most excellent on their own, but I personally find they can reach sublime more often when mixed ;-)

                          1. re: DanaB

                            I too, like your dad, started drinking coffee at 19 in the military. A foil packet in the cup w/ water and heated w/ either a heat tab or gas syphoned from a Huey. Too many times, on patrol,I ate it right out of the foil packet, dry, for the buzz. I stopped all coffee when back in the real world. At 29, I was in a master's program at UNM, with a course overload. My wife and I would go for a stroll after dinner and stopped in The Purple Elephant, a local coffee shop for a piece of cheese cake and I ordered the "coffee of the week"; it was Mocca Java, black rich and delicious! I shortly thereafter, moved to Norway and found out about kokemalt coffee and then to Helsinki. Finns, I found out, are the largest per capita consumers of coffee. My secretary would make a pot and after 20 minutes dump out what remained in the pot, as it was "stale". My favorite dessert became a cup of black coffee, glass of cognac and a Cuban cigar.
                            Three weeks ago, for health reasons, I gave up alcohol and caffeine. Stopping the wine was easy (I've done it many times.), but the coffee was tough! I had a week's worth of killer headaches. I still make coffee for my wife each morning. I now sleep better and whiz less.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              and this is why i drink cappuchino. so much less caffeine!

                      2. re: Eat_Nopal

                        But milk chocolate is a different beast -- it is to dark chocolate what lattes or cappucinnos are to espresso.

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          but i love dark chocolate bounds above milk chocolate. i must learn to love black coffee...


                        2. re: Eat_Nopal

                          meh. the alcohols in my coffee react well with milk. Why not enjoy them in quantities that you, personally, like?

                      3. re: Nosher

                        "When confronted with the parallel idea that chocolate is also, at its purest, a bitter food, and not one you'd really want to eat without any sweetening, she went back to doctoring her coffee and never looked back."

                        I take particular issue with that statement for this reason:

                        Comparing a product (cup of coffee) that is 0.8% particulate suspension and 99.2% water is hardly equal to a product (chocolate) that, in it's purest state, is 100% the real deal. The flavor dilution (what you are, essentially, doing when you add milk and sugar) has already been done in coffee. Now, if we're talking about coffee beans (whole) with milk and sugar, well, I understand. But coffee, chocolate, wine, these are all elemental substances. By your logic I should be adding some creamer to my Rioja?

                        Cake is a compound - metaphorically speaking - that cannot be compared.

                        Now that I'm done being a jerk I'll say drink it however you want, as long as you like it!

                        1. re: robdsteele

                          No. By the logic I was describing, you should take unpalatable (or unpleasant) food and convert it into a form that you appreciate. And of course, taste is subjective, which is why the original dogma of 'coffee is naturally bitter, and therefore is best in its original state' fails utterly.

                          So while I'd never advocate adding creamer (or cream, even better) to your wine, I wouldn't criticize you for it-- that's the logic.


                          NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                          1. re: robdsteele

                            "Comparing a product (cup of coffee) that is 0.8% particulate suspension and 99.2% water is hardly equal to a product (chocolate) that, in it's purest state, is 100% the real deal."

                            I see. So you take your hot chocolate unsweetened?

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                70% Belgian couveture with hot skim milk, as melted chocolate is too viscous to be drank.

                                But I do really enjoy mexican style hot chocolate too.

                                I think the point I tried to make is being missed, so I will try one more time, but in bullet form:

                                *There is nothing in the world like chocolate.
                                *Any comparison to it is fundamentally inaccurate.
                                *Great coffee needs no additives, it dilutes flavor, which has already been balanced by the presiding roast master.
                                *If you are drinking inferior coffee, sweeten it.
                                *If you cannot pallete coffee, sweeten it (or find an alternate caffeine source).
                                *If a cup of swill powdered coffee with 4 ounces of sugar and a pint of half and half get you off go for it, and I'll stock it when you come over.
                                *All of the above having been said chocolate and coffee (or wine, for that) are not interchangeable for the sake of arguing the characteristics/ qualities/ validation of the other.
                                *The woman in Nosher's story went back to flavored coffe because that's the way she liked it, not because of chocolate. That's the reason we should consume, because we like it (or it's good for you).

                              2. re: robdsteele

                                many add sugar to wine. if you like it that way, I ain't gonna knock you up for it -- tho I will suggest the naturally sweet, instead.

                            1. I refuse to ruin a good beverage with bogus "dairy" or chemical sweetener, so black is the logical alternative. OK, if I'm at a nice breakfast establishment, I'll probably put a little cream in. Otherwise, it's either black or cafe au lait and nothing in between.

                              1. I have always drank my coffee black. My Mom insisted on it when I was a teen and wanted to drink coffee. She said "Life is easier if you drink your coffee black." and it was some of the best advice she ever gave me. It is easier. I stop for coffee in the morning and see folks in a hurry around the condiments and I'm in and out in a flash.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                  "Life is easier if you drink your coffee black."

                                  I laughed so hard at that sentence that it made me cry. And what sage advice too. I am glad someone revived this post I needed the laugh.

                                  1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                    Janet, I have never heard anyone else say this. When I was a young child, my brother and I both recall my parents having a conversation about drinking coffee black. Their argument was that you were an easy guest if you didn't add cream or sugar. No extra ingredients, no guessing about proportions. (And that was in the day before so many choices of sweeteners!) I guess this could more easily be summarized by your mom's "life is easier if you drink your coffee black." So when we started drinking coffee, it was black.
                                    Incidentally, once when I was visiting my grandmother, I noticed that she too drank her coffee black and wondered if she was the start of it all. She told me that she used to drink sugar in her coffee until sugar rations in WWII. Never went back to it after that.

                                    1. re: mountaincachers

                                      It's odd, I can't remember anyone in my family taking anything in their coffee. My husband doesn't either. Unfortunately our 25 year old daughter like Splenda and half and half (preferably one of the flavored ones) and usually at the house we don't have Splenda and she has to settle for milk unless I happen to have half and half on hand for cooking (not flavored of course...hehe)

                                2. I want to second Nosher on this one there is nothing wrong with milk and sugar.
                                  Sometimes I like to use sweetened condensed milk (southeastasian style) as im not good at keeping fresh milk around. I can just pop open a can and get wired on delicouse coffee!!!

                                  1. I'm all for a little cream now and then, but IMHO, good coffee is good coffee without any extras. And BTW- I started out as a big cream and sugar person, and eventually my tastes changed as I got older. Although I still like a little milk and honey in my tea.

                                    My H is all about loading up on the cream AND sugar, he claims to like coffee, but I think it is just a delivery mechanism for the sugar and cream. He even knows the code at D&D for extra cream and sugar- a 6 & 6 (that's 6 creams and 6 sugars- - blechh). They have codes for all the different add-ins apparently.

                                    1. I actually started off drinking my coffee black, but then because of some stomach problems and hearing that black coffee really stains your teeth, I started adding some cream into it...
                                      now it's almost always doctored up except if I'm drinking it with very sweet and/or creamy dessert (cheesecake, creampuffs, etc.)

                                      1. I started drinking coffee when I was 14 or 15, with milk and sugar. Being a self-conscious teenage girl, I cut out the sugar shortly thereafter, as I was worried about the calories. I still drink it with milk, though.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: DanaB

                                          It being almost three years after this thread was originally posted, I feel the need to elaborate. I can drink coffee black if I have to, and especially with good espresso, I will drink it black. However, I prefer coffee with milk, and espresso with sugar.

                                          My dad said he started drinking coffee when he was in the military. A hot cup of coffee was a good way to warm up the hands in the morning, he said. Then he got used to drinking it. I will confess that unless I'm really ill, which might have involved 2 or 3 days out of the past 25 years, I've had coffee every day of my life since I was 14. With milk, or, if forced, with faux milk creamer.

                                        2. My first real job was at a bank when I was a teenager. The only thing available in the break room was coffee. I started w/cream and sugar, but since the coffee was terrible even with that in it, I decided it could be no worse black. I convinced my husband when we were first married to break his cream and sugar habit using Janet's logic. It WAS easier to have both of us drinking it black. I keep cream and sugar on hand when we have company, but I detest having to remember the cream. We drink 1% milk, so that makes a poor substitute.

                                          1. I started to seriously drink coffee when I was in college and slowly developed a taste for it black and strong.

                                            I occasionally add a bit of 1/2-&-1/2, but that is starting to taste muddy and only disguises substandard beans.

                                            1. Ah, well started in my first year of university. It was around 3am with an exam the next morning at 8 and sure enough, there I was needing some fuel to cram every last bit of info in. Of course an empty fridge goes hand in hand with the procrastination stereotype of a student so there I was without cream. I decided to take it straight and fell in love with the taste (or perhaps the stronger caffeine effect) and havent looked back

                                              1. I've always had my coffee black. A friend of my parents was a roaster, so we always had freshly roasted beans. I started drinking coffee at 13, and the coffee was roasted so nicely, I never saw a reason to add sugar or cream. That being said, most of today's coffee is so bad, it needs stuff added to it. I work in the coffee buisness now, and you can tell a good coffee shop by how little cream/sugar is used in the coffee.

                                                1. I was 13... my older cousins & I hopped on an "Economical Class" bus in Mexico City and headed down to Oaxaca City for my first trip there. In the main mercado, I saw a number of vendors selling various locally grown coffee... I had never before thought about single source coffee so curious I went over & received a 30 minute lecture on the subject... got to smell the grains... feel them run through my fingers etc., so I had a sample of black coffee (the only way you could get it) right there & was mesmorized so I bought a kilo for my Uncle's house.

                                                  Later at a small fonda that proudly served local coffee, I had another cup with a bowl of guyabas & sweetened crema... I never looked back... only occassionaly do I have Lattes etc.,

                                                  1. I started drinking coffee when I was 15 working in a bike shop. The old timers brewed up some super dark espresso roast in a regular drip maker, and there was never any milk or sugar around, so I just learned to like it that way.
                                                    I will occasionally add a little sugar if it's especially bitter or if it has that bad commercial/metallic taste.

                                                    1. I started drinking coffee black in High School.

                                                      Got used to it black.

                                                      Tried it with cream. Hated it.

                                                      Tried it with sugar. No go.

                                                      Tried it with cream and sugar. Disgusting.

                                                      That's the how, when and why.

                                                      1. I used to drink it, double-double. Then, when working a lot of midnight shifts, I found that I had no dairy to use. I couldn't stand the taste of creamer so the guy I was working with suggested I try drinking it black. I didn't like it at first but we sat there and downed a whole pot. I was hooked. I liked it so much better when I got used to it black.
                                                        He also pointed out that because there is no dairy in it, curdling, it doesn't have as much of an affect on you. If you know what I mean. I think he was right.


                                                        P.S. It's your beverage, drink it however you like it. Even, ugh, cold.

                                                        1. When I realized how much sugar and calories I was adding to a drink I truly love without all that stuff. I still use a dash of organic 1/2 and 1/2 on the strongest of brews but if it's mild, there is no need to dress it up too much.

                                                          1. When I was in my teens, I read somewhere that to experience true flavors of tea you should drink it plain without masking it with sugars or milk. I started doing it and liked it. Experimented the same way with coffee and loved it. Cannot drink it with sugar anymore - can't taste the coffee when it has sugar. Occasionally, indulge in coffee with milk and that has to have a bit of sugar, same goes tea with lemon gotta sweeten it to bring the acidity up.

                                                            1. When, and only when, I lived in France. Their particular ratio of beans to water in little coffee cups means it's pleasant to drink black. Italian espresso is too bitter for me, American percolator coffee is so bland it actually needs the milk and sugar for flavour.

                                                              Also, if I've had a really rich meal, then I welcome the punch in the mouth of a bitter espresso. Otherwise, it's milk & sugar.

                                                              (p.s. I don't think there's anything anti-chowish about milk & sugar, or any other way of drinking coffee - though the Russian tendency to put lemon twists in espresso does make me gag. People get a little bogged down with notions of authenticity and purity and so on, don't you think? Heed your tastebuds!)

                                                              1. My friend and I were stuck in her newly opened store not really knowing the neighborhood. We sent out for 2 large coffees and they came black, so we decided we had to drink them the way they came.

                                                                Also the problem of some counter people in NYC not knowing that "regular" means milk & sugar, then I took to ordering the coffee with milk and sugar, then it seemed that black was simpler.

                                                                Finally, learning to love Aged Sumatra, New Guniea Peaberry, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and Monsooned Malabar from places like the Daily Grind in Albany and Orens.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: iwanchow1

                                                                  I have an opposite problem - most NYC counter people by default give me w/ milk and sugar - i always return.

                                                                  1. re: welle

                                                                    Coffee+milk+sugar= "Regular" coffee in NYC.

                                                                    If you were a guy I'd tell you real men drink it black.

                                                                2. At home or when buying from places like Starbucks, I put a teaspoon or two of non-fat milk along with a teaspoon of honey or brown sugar. At work I drink it black, since we only have non-dairy creamer and white sugar here and I'm too lazy to keep my own supply of things in the office refrigerator.

                                                                  1. I started drinking black coffee about 20 years ago when I was on a diet. I figured I'd rather eat my calories than drink my calories (cream). I put cream in iced coffee, but other than that, it's always black, no sugar -- even espresso.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Trixie Too

                                                                      That's why I switched, too. For years and years I drank it just like my mom, with cream/milk/creamer. It really didn't take long to become convinced that black was better. And it's true, life is easier if you drink your coffee black!

                                                                    2. I drank black coffee because people would fix some coffee for me and it wouldn't be just right. Too much of this or that, and the next thing I know, I'm drinking it black 'cause it's just easier. Plus, the cream and sugar isn't always available. One advantage was a restaurant I worked in had fantastic coffee. No problem when it's good coffee.

                                                                      1. I started drinking it black in high school because I thought it was cooler. Hah! Then I kept drinking it black because I was anorexic and also, it just tasted gross with all that stuff in it.

                                                                        Now I drink a fancypants vanilla soy latte.

                                                                        The smell of old, cold coffee has got to be one of the most disgusting smells ever.

                                                                        1. I grew up with parents who drank it their coffee not only black but were some major food snobs. That said, when I started drinking coffee in college it just seemed the right thing to do. Not to mention that I drank it in a pre-Starbucks coffee house/grocery along with a million cigarettes thinking I was very hip & grown up.

                                                                          I never developed a major coffee habit until I started working full-time. I realized I had a java habit when I went to work my retail job and seeing there were no cups left in the breakroom I kicked the table!

                                                                          There is the rare occurance when I'll doctor up some coffee. I have fond memories of my grandmas iced coffee poured from a plaid thermos on hot summer days.

                                                                          The other rare occurance is when I am putting the nose to the grindstone at work and cant phathom another cup of office swill.that is when I make my office "ghetto latte"-a bunch of creamer,sugar, and ice. Desperate times mean desperate measures.

                                                                          1. When I started, I likely drank coffee with milk and sugar, not knowing any better. This was in college. After a few years, I quit the sugar and to make up for the lack of sweetness, went for extra milk. As time went on, I had to cut my coffee consumption to zero due to migraines after coffee (for some folks, caffeine reduces migraines but not me). So I gave up coffee for about 10 years or so. Now, I "cheat" a bit--a cup a week (especially if I just had a migraine--result of another food trigger perhaps). So, since I have to optimize my coffee consumption, I gave up milk too--about 5 years ago. I love coffee so its been hard to restrict myself. Therefore, when I do have it, it has to be black so I can get the most coffee bang for the cup. Actually, prefer expresso which has less caffeine than regular coffee. Prefer quality beans but will do with average beans if that's what is available when I get my one cup a week.

                                                                            1. When I was 29, I got a new job in state government which involved going to lots of really long and boring meetings. I needed to stay awake, so I needed to drink lots of caffinated coffee. I didn't need the calories involved with cream and sugar (I was only an occasional coffee drinker up to this point), so I went black and never looked back. A good coffee to start with is Starbucks Breakfast Blend (beans not ground) because it is really light, and if you start to drink it black, it won't knock you over with an overpoweringly strong flavor. I can't drink any dark roast black because it upsets my stomach.

                                                                              1. I don't see what's anti-chowish about it. Nothing better than a cup of strong Italian coffee with cream and a dash of sugar!

                                                                                1. My only argument is this:

                                                                                  If you're going to drop $8-$20 a pound for some good beans then why bother with the extras. You're paying for quality of flavor, subtlety, balance, and diversity. You want some coffee with your milk and sugar? Awesome. But I see muting a great presspot of Java Estate with cream and sugar something along the lines of using a bottle of Opus One to make sangria - just add fruit and 7-up! Cream and sugar WILL mute the flavors in a finely crafted coffee. So why spend the extra cash for something you're going to cover up? And that's all I have to say about that.

                                                                                  1. so why not use some really great milk/cream and sugar?

                                                                                    how bout some organic raw can sugar, and some heferodshire, double unpasteurised cream with that highland ethiopian?
                                                                                    just a suggestion, for those that think they should not ruin a good cup of coffee with crappy dairy and sugar. I agree, get the good stuff if you can.

                                                                                    By the way I dont think being a chowhound is about being a hardcore purist,its about seeking out really good food!(and drink)

                                                                                    well im off to brew some Limu ethiopian(I live in south africa, so i get kenyan and ethiopian for dirt cheap) ,in my single cup filter jobber and drink it with some regular old aseptically sealed whole milk!

                                                                                    1. It sounds gross- but one of the reasons I started taking it black was because it seemed I could never get though a cup while it was still hot (whether at work or home on a weekend). I can tolerate it lukewarm or cold if it's black, but if it has c/s in it, it's undrinkable if it's not hot. Plus it tastes better reheated if it doesn't have any extras in it.

                                                                                      1. When it's good, black coffee is the pure flavor of the coffee. I do drink cafe au lait in the mornings sometimes. But since I've discovered Keans Coffee, available on the Net, and the AeroPress, and I use three ounces of hot water for each cup and then press, say, four scoops of, say, Keans Kenya or Kona, to make the liquid that gets diluted by pouring it into the (three per cup) twelve ounces, I can drink black coffee all morning without feeling wired. What scuttles most people, I believe, is the oil, or the bitterness of an inferior roast or type of coffee; with the Aerobie AeroPress, I now look for the taste of the black coffee, to see how it really tastes. By the way, with frothed non-fat milk and a couple of Splenda packets, I do enjoy the way the coffee flavor enriches my cafe au lait in the monring.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                          sorry but, splenda and all other artificial sweeteners really taste disgusting to me. I understand people are trying to cut down on sugar, but why not just cut out sugar then? Or use honey?
                                                                                          Those artificial sweetners are chock full of chemicals, that your body has to process arent they?

                                                                                          1. re: gastrognome

                                                                                            Re: Splenda. Am on a very low fat and sugar diet, so two packets of Splenda seem to be OK once a day. That's about what I've used. Haven't had any ill effects from it, and it does cut out the sugar. Honey somehow doesn't taste right with cafe au lait, at least to me, and I'd dump more sugar in it, probably. By the way honey has about the same, or more, calories than sugar so I don't save any calories that way. I guess I figured what the hey about the Splenda. It tastes better, anyway, than the other stuff which aspartame and saccarine (sp?).

                                                                                            1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                              Sounds like splenda works for you and I agree that honey just doesnt taste the same in coffee. As for the advantage of honey, it is a less refined sugar, and has added health benefit of boosting the immune system, just be sure to go for wildflower honey and not honey reared from plants treated with pesticides.Sorry for the aside!

                                                                                        2. I started drinking coffee in NYC and would order it "regular" - milk and sugar.

                                                                                          But I think I began drinking it black whenever I encountered a place -- usually at work -- where there was no milk, but only non-dairy creamer.

                                                                                          So now I drink my coffee in the morning at home with milk only, but if I drink it at work, I always go for black.

                                                                                          I probably should go with black at home too, but - hey - there's always milk in the fridge.

                                                                                          I don't know when I started drinking it without sugar, but now I can't stand it with sugar! My husband drinks his with milk and sugar, and if by mistake I pick up his cup it makes me shudder.

                                                                                          I like a tiny bit of sugar in espresso -- just a little.

                                                                                          1. When I was a teen, and wanted to start drinking coffee....only one parent would allow it. It was my Italian friend's father, Sam. He said we could drink coffee in his house, as long as we drank it "the only way to drink it--black." That's how I drank it then. And even though Sam is gone, it's how I drink it now. I couldn't imagine it any other way. (And I know somehow if I did, Sam would find a way to voice his displeasure!)

                                                                                            1. Good coffee is a good thing and if a little milk and sugar makes it more intersting to you, go for it.

                                                                                              As for a really good coffee, check out Alterra from Milwaukee WI. www.alterracoffee.com

                                                                                              When you have a good cup, tried it many ways and can say with confidence, I'll have mine this way please, you have arrived at chow utopia.

                                                                                              1. well recently as in about an hour ago XD i for the first time drank black coffee XD i really dont drink it much in the first place but when i do it makes me really hyper for a long time so i kind of needed it see i have been up since 7 a.m yesterday working on a few projects for school and i just needed to drink something with caffine that tasted bitter to make me wake up some since i have to babysit and work on my projects still haha but if you dont like your coffee being hot those popsicles i think they are called freeze pops they are the liquid in the plastic that you put in the freezer and they just freeze if you want to cool it down a bit take the popsicle and put it in the coffee stir it around then look and see if the one sides melted and then flip it over and use the other side thats what i did and it takes all of 2 minutes if that and if iits still to hot drink it threw a straw

                                                                                                1. Why would you want to stop drinking coffee the way it tastes good to you? My mother-in-law drinks hers black with two heaping teaspoons of sugar. I drink mine with milk, but sometimes black. For instance, when I am at my sister's house I drink it black because she uses skim milk, which is very unsatisfactory in coffee. I know several adults who take their coffee light and sweet like you do. Drink it how you like it, CulinaryKate and don't let anyone tell you it's wrong.

                                                                                                  1. In Taiwan when i was little my aunt knew restaurants where good coffee was served with thick cream though I've always liked the smell more than taste. My first taste of black coffee was probably when i was 9. Someone had cooked a pot of coffee. Us 3 kids drank it black and stayed up all night. (that was probably around the same time I started drinking good, strong oolong tea kungfu style).

                                                                                                    For the most part, my time in the US I didn't like coffee. Now I know it was drip coffee that i didn't like. No amount of sweetener and cream can correct that. Then after the trip to Italy and exposure to Lavazza coffee in their breakfast coffee style (An Americano, as we would call it now) had me looking for that kind of coffee back in the USA.

                                                                                                    It's been a slow and gradual process for me, but more and more I'm trusting that if it tastes bad, it most likely IS. Stale, or poorly ground, poorly made....anything is possible.

                                                                                                    If I happen to have really delicious heavy cream (Ronnybrook), then I might add some to the coffee IF the coffee was also really good. For me, there's no logic in trying to make a bad coffee taste better by adding other stuff to it, especially when the "other stuff" is usually not that tasty, either.

                                                                                                    I say, you're not crazy. Just know that one of these days you'll taste really good coffee, and you'll know when you do. Let the bad coffee be, as well as the bad cream and sugar.

                                                                                                    1. (hides head in semi-shame) I still haven't.
                                                                                                      But I'm down to just half-n-half!
                                                                                                      My Mom took it black, Daddy was the 'coffee regular' guy and would let me taste his. They drank 8 O'Clock, Beechnut or Folgers- I remember not understanding HOW on earth Mom could stand it. Morning torture!

                                                                                                      1. I stopped adding sugar to coffee and tea at the same time. I was looking for painless, easy ways to cut out calories. I don't even like sweet drinks anymore.

                                                                                                        1. I drank my grandfather's strong, black coffee when i was 15 and never took it any other way. Glad, too, because I don't have to keep up with sugar and cream. But hubby takes it, so I have to keep *him* in it (he's worth it).

                                                                                                          1. When I was about 5 yrs. old I stopped drinking milk so my folks put a little coffee in my milk and I liked my milk again. Then as I got older, 12 or 13, I gave up milk and switched to black coffee. I preferred the coffee to milk.

                                                                                                            1. I started drinking coffee when I was 18 and went to university. Wasn't allowed to drink coffee before then. I've always drunk it black without sugar as I hate the idea of drinking extra calories. I'd rather save those for eating!

                                                                                                              1. Never going to happen. In my opinion, coffee is merely a vehicle for sugar.

                                                                                                                1. Hi,

                                                                                                                  I started out drinking black coffee because that's what my dad did. Once I was grown and making my own, I started putting cream and sugar in it because my coffee was no good! After several years of that, I was served a cup in a restaurant that just looked and smelled beautiful so I drank it as is and that put me right back onto black coffee. I had been using a crummy coffee maker and have since upgraded, which makes a difference.
                                                                                                                  Once in a while I add half & half for a creamy treat, but rarely sugar. It doesn't have to be a great coffee anymore, either, but if it is really bad I might occasionally make a desserty treat out of it with cream and sugar. It's not what I love, though.

                                                                                                                  Drink what you like! If you want to enjoy black coffee, though, try to get yourself a good cup of something delicious. And maybe drink it with something sweet and delicious to eat like Nutella on bread, or a great danish or something. You may come to prefer an unsweetened drink with the sweet food, as I do.
                                                                                                                  If not, do your thing!

                                                                                                                  1. I started drinking black coffee in my college dining hall. They had these dispensers full of warm coffee, and adding milk made it too cool to enjoy.

                                                                                                                    I've since tried milk in coffee, and don't really see the point. Perhaps it's because I avoid excessively bitter coffee. I find sugar in drip coffee a bit weird, but I occasionally stir some into a shot of espresso.

                                                                                                                    1. First of all, 24 is young. When I was your age, I drank coffee all day long, always with a bit of cream and sugar. One day I was struck by how much fat and sugar I was ingesting, so I started cutting back. I did little itty-bitty cut back steps over several months, and ended up not using creamer or sugar. I remain a strong coffee fan, but would never add an adulterant.

                                                                                                                      1. I started drinking coffee black when I started drinking coffee at about 12, as I started drinking it when camping or on overnight sails where there wasn't really another option.
                                                                                                                        I don't see what's anti-chowish about coffee with cream and sugar. It seems more anti-chowish to only ever consume something one way. I like coffee a variety of ways: black, with steamed milk, with raw sugar, with maple cream, with honey, with whiskey, or any combination of those and a whole variety of other ingredients.
                                                                                                                        And, for those who think adding dairy makes the coffee too weak, a traditional cafe con leche or cafe au lait is stronger than the vast majority of the black coffee being consumed in the US. I'll grant that cream dulls the flavor a bit, but steamed milk waters it down a whole lot less than all that extra water in most preparations of coffee.

                                                                                                                        1. When I switched to high quality coffee. I still won't drink cheap stuff black, but the high quality coffee doesn't need cream and sugar.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                            My wife can always tell when I have weak or cheap coffee; it's the only time I add milk/cream.

                                                                                                                          2. I am a complete coffee snob, and I take half and half and raw sugar. I prefer raw Jersey milk when I've got it. It started with needing the dairy to cut the acid in bad coffee, but it's just my preference now. I'm learning to roast my own beans. Those who look down at me can laugh away--I drink better coffee than most people, and I seem to enjoy it more, too. That's plenty chowish!

                                                                                                                            1. Some people enjoy the bitter taste and some really dislike it. Honestly I love the bitterness of good coffee. I think for a lot of people it is an aquired taste. However if you need to add a large amount of cream or sugar, have you ever thought maybe coffee wasn't the drink for you? Maybe tea, hot chocolate?

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Ginger Bread Man

                                                                                                                                But good coffee isn't overly bitter. There needs to be some bitterness in there for balance, but for GOOD Central/South American coffee, sweetness (w/o added sugar/milk) is generally more present than bitterness. Good African coffee is a bit different, less sweet, but balanced instead by fruit and floral notes (as a generalization).

                                                                                                                                Bitterness generally means lower quality beans - more defects in the batch than would qualify for 'specialty grade' - or poor processing of said beans (sometimes a poor roast).

                                                                                                                              2. When I was about 13, the only parents who would let "us kids" drink coffee were Linda's folks--who were Italian. Sammy (her dad) told us that we could drink coffee in his house as long as we drank it the "right way"...which was black. I did it then, and still do it. Sammy has been gone for years, but I know he's still watching and smiling.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: perk

                                                                                                                                  I did grow up in an Italian American hosehold and I started drinking coffee as a wee wee child (espresso after Sunday dinner)
                                                                                                                                  At around age 11, I regularly was drinking coffee, black but with tons of sugar.
                                                                                                                                  My BF and I (also Italian) would make a pot as soon as we got home from school and would always feel quite decadent and grown up as we drank our hot black coffee.

                                                                                                                                  As I got older I experimented with all different variations...I added half and half and kept the sugar, but realized that if I was eating a sweet, I needed to omit the sugar, so then I started drinking my coffee with cream and no sugar..

                                                                                                                                  Now it totally depends on my mood...
                                                                                                                                  I recently HAD to go back to drinking it black because I ran out of half and half... and kept forgettting to buy it so at the moment I'm back to black!
                                                                                                                                  (I can't do black without sugar though!!)

                                                                                                                                2. My parents always drank good strong coffee black. But my first sips of coffee came from my grandmother: it was coffee-milk really, milk w/a bit of strong coffee and sugar. I always loved the aroma and taste of the coffee, never had much of a sweet tooth. So at some point in my teen years, I decided I was an "adult" (probably about the same time I decided to experiment with other, ahem, substances) and decided I would drink coffee, real coffee, straight up black, no milk, cream, or sugar. I remember my parents were quite impressed. (About the other substances, not so much.) While most other yens have long since subsided, my love for black coffee remains strong. And now I'm told it's good for me!

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                    We always had drip coffee--the old, New Orleans enamel pot, sitting in a pan of water on teh stove and slowly dripped. Most people waterd it down or added things but not my father. when my sister was twelve, her birthday party was (or course)at Galatoire's. In those days the restaurant had a very thick coffee that was comprised of three different brands. When she put cream in it my father faked shock at how she could adulterate the City's best coffee that way. It made such an effect on me that I started cutting back the half-popund of suger I was using and by my birthday two years later I was driniking it black. Still do except for an occasional cool weather cup that I put a touch of cane sugar in

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                      Yes; I still have my grandmother's chipped enamel drip coffee pot. It was one of the few things I wanted after she died. All my best memories of her involved sitting in her kitchen and drinking coffee: she was almost always in the kitchen, and there was always coffee, good coffee, something we've always taken for granted in these parts, long before Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                  2. you're just crazy.

                                                                                                                                    do you salt your french fries?
                                                                                                                                    do you season your meat?

                                                                                                                                    i drink espresso with half and half. doing things i like never bothers me.

                                                                                                                                    do you care what someone else thinks of your coffee?

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                      The original question is how/when/why you STARTED drinking coffee black, not why you continue to drink it that way. I started drinking it black as a teenager, when it probably was important to me what others thought of my coffee and trying to be grown up. Now I prefer it that way because it's what I'm used to. Kind of like drinking skim milk instead of 2%. Though I still agree with Janet (or her mom) from Richmond that it is easier drinking it black. No need to worry if they have the right sugar/splenda/equal/creamer/half and half, etc. Just drink it plain. Though I do admit to adding sugar/cream/whatever is available if it's bad coffee but I really need the caffeine. That's trying to disguise the taste, though it usually doesn't work well.
                                                                                                                                      At any rate, I'm glad someone revived this thread as it brought back several fun memories for me.

                                                                                                                                    2. Never drink it black and never have.

                                                                                                                                      Coffee is an acquired taste. I tried for a long time to acquire it. I never drank it in high school and in college only occasionally had a cup with dessert or breakfast. When I started working in an office, I would have a cup as a "start my day" ritual, but always well doctored with milk and sugar.

                                                                                                                                      I tried cutting out the sugar for a while because I want to reduce my sugar intake. I couldn't believe how foul the stuff was. I was told I would taste, "subtle nuances" and that the bitterness would have some kind of appeal. I never saw that appeal. I went back kto the sugar.

                                                                                                                                      Then I realized that if I wanted to kick my insomnia problems, I should let my body run as naturally as possibly without trying to jazz it up. My body will go to sleep and wake up naturally if I let it.

                                                                                                                                      Now I have a cup of mint tea to start my day. No milk or sweetener needed. Don't miss coffee a bit.

                                                                                                                                      Coffee just isn't for me. Oddly enough, I like the flavor. I love coffee ice creams and mocha desserts. I just can't stand that bitter brew in a cup.

                                                                                                                                      1. I was a senior in high school and got a Hershey bar to go with a cup of coffee. Could not find cream and sugar, and since the candy was sweet, went ahead with the combination. Found I did not miss it. To this day, however, to avoid eating dessert after dinner, I sometimes add cream and a Splenda to satisfy a craving for something more mellow and sweet.

                                                                                                                                        1. May, 1993; I met, dated, and then married 1 1/2 months later, the fry cook that worked 3rd shift at a friend's cafe. I would spend all of his shift with him and decided I couldn't afford all the calories from sugar and creamer that I was ingesting during his shifts; so I started drinking black coffee.
                                                                                                                                          Since my hubby's no longer a fry cook and I don't drink coffee 8 hours at a stretch, I've gone back to drinking "a little coffee with my sugar and creamer" . . . and NO, I don't feel the least bit bad about it!

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowdawggy

                                                                                                                                            My cousin who I always looked up to as a child rarely drinks coffee. Only when he studies and stuff when he has to focus his mind. him being my roll model, i treat coffee the same way. EXTREMELY BOLD black sugarless coffee. preferable french roast. anything but starbucks. Still drink it like that to this day. Hated it at first nearly made me gag but now i look forward to my study nights. :)

                                                                                                                                          2. I started drinking it black pretty much from the get-go; 15 or 16 years old. My rationale (which I don't expect everybody to share) was that if I was going to drink it at all, I should drink it unadulterated. Same goes for tea, by the way.

                                                                                                                                            If the coffee is really foul, I might put some sugar or milk into it, and I'll admit that these days I might use some flavorings, but that's just for variety.

                                                                                                                                            1. My mom added cream to her coffee- I didn't like it that way. When I discovered Good Coffee I realized that I liked it strong and black better. Occasionally I like an Iced Latte (no sugar) or a hot latte if it's cold out (which it hardly ever is here). Once in a great while i'll add demerara sugar to a latte. They don't even taste like the same beverage to me, so however I have it depends on my mood and the weather, but if i'm having just a cup of good coffee I drink it black, no sugar.

                                                                                                                                              And thanks for the New York update- I'd never have guessed that "regular" meant there was something added!

                                                                                                                                              1. I have drunk coffee all my life. Literally. Where I grew up in Louisiana all the children drank café au lait. One of my grandmothers gave us coffee with half and half instead. To this day, sometimes I drink it black, sometimes with a real dairy product. None of that fake creamer stuff and never any kind of sweetener. Also, it depends on the time and place. In Italy I drank cappucino in the mornings and espresso after that. At home I drink my morning coffee black, but if we have dessert in the evening I have half and half in my coffee. If I'm in Louisiana I drink café au lait with my beignets, but café noir the rest of the time. We are particular about our coffee. We buy freshly roasted beans and grind it just before making. Although I grew up having coffee made in a biggin, these days we more often use a French press pot.

                                                                                                                                                1. From 18-20 I was thrilled by sweetened espresso-based concoctions. From 20-23 I drank mostly espresso because it was lighter on the calories and because it was the thing to do in Berkeley, California. From 23-present I drink mostly black drip coffee because I'm interested in the nuances and it saves calories to boot. I virtually never have milk with coffee these days. I enjoy drip coffee the most and think milk ruins it. Honestly, if you're really into drip coffee made from great beans, there's no way you'll want to adulterate it with milk. I don't think milk blends well with a lighter roasted, fruiter bean; it only works for darkly roasted stuff that's of little intrinsic interest. Lattes and cappuccinos are good occasionally but they seem gluttonous and I don't care for them all that much anyway.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I started drinking my coffee black when I started roasting my own beans. The nuances from the different bean I have access to is astounding. Most of that gets covered over in milk, cream or creamer. I will occasionally use a little sugar which can really bring out the fruit and berry flavors in some African or Yemen beans.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I prefer my coffee with a little sugar and a little cream, but I drink it black 95% of the time. Why? Simpler and no worrying about the coffee getting cold (I can drink cold black coffee that has been sitting around on my desk but not with cream and sugar--I like my iced coffee with cream and sugar though--go figure). Also, I generally drink coffee for the caffeine in the morning and I don't need any more calories.

                                                                                                                                                      1. So funny, I was just discussing this very question with friends yesterday. So far, I'm the only gal to switch from coffee w/cream & sugar to black. I left out the sugar about 15 years ago and switched entirely to black coffee once I understood the roasting process, bean variety and brewing methods. Done right, black coffee is a classic beverage w/no need for add ons. But, I'm usually the only person drinking my java black.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I used to drink my coffee with just a little flavored non-dairy creamer, until I started my first nursing job at a hospital working night shift. Coffee became a necessity to get through the night. The coffee in the unit kitchen wasn't the greatest. I started brewing my own coffee at home and would carry it to work in a thermos. That thermos was amazing at keeping my coffee hot through an entire 12 hours shift +. I made a lot of flavored coffee back then, and that compensated for not using any flavored Coffeemate. After a while, the flavored coffees just became too much, and I could really appreciate all the flavor from a cup of simple black coffee. During this time, I also went from a single cup a day coffee drinker to a complete coffeeholic. I blame it on nursing. When I was stressed or busy during a shift, I'd think about finding a moment to chart and maybe squeeze in a sip or two of coffee. Now I associate coffee with relaxing. When I'm stressed or the day is crazy, I crave a hot cup of coffee.

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                                                                                                                                                          1. re: happyknitter

                                                                                                                                                            And now they tell us several cups of coffee is good for us (but we knew that).

                                                                                                                                                          2. I have always drank it black. And once you try black, you'll never go back. ;)

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                              Heh, but not entirely true. I started out drinking black coffee, probably because my parents had the good stuff on hand. I couldn't tolerate the taste of milk or cream in coffee. This continued when I lived out in the PacNW and drank loads of good coffee.
                                                                                                                                                              However, when I moved to DC after, there the milk began: I found the quality of coffee was so poor and my addiction so great, that I started to add milk in an effort to create something more palatable. Sadly, that created a taste that has not gone away. I find that even when presented with good coffee now, I'll add a bit of hot milk.
                                                                                                                                                              How's that for a very boring story?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                I consider you to be a victim of circumstances aka Bad Coffee.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I started drinking my coffee black when I transitioned from instant and canned to fresh-roasted, fresh-ground varietals. Each one has its own unique characteristics and persona that must be experienced as purely as possible to be fully appreciated. The crème and sugar masks the delicate flavors and nuances inherent within the bean. Dilution is not an option. First went the sugar then, soon thereafter, the cream(er). Both, nevermore.

                                                                                                                                                              … What do you add to your wine?

                                                                                                                                                              My point, exactly.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I used to use sugar and cream. Then I got pregnant and failed my first gestational diabetes test. So I stopped using sugar. I ended up not having gd, but never did like to put sugar in my coffee after that. Sometimes I still use cream though...depends on my mood and the quality of the coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I started drinking coffee at ayoung age, probably by age 8 or 9, with sugar and cream, I weaned myself off the sugar by thr time I was 15 or so. Then I took a job at a community theater and they had no refrigerator. One cup of coffee with powdered creamer convinced me it would taste better black, and so I tried it. I liked it, so at age 16 I began drinking coffee black. Never gone back in over 30 years of daily cofee drinking.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. The idea that drinking black coffee is somehow "better" or "more hardcore" is absurd. Black coffee and coffee with milk (cafe au lait) are two completely different drinks among the many coffee drinks (espresso, latte, capuccino, etc).

                                                                                                                                                                    For cafe au lait, the coffee brew is simply the base of a drink which includes cream and sugar. It is not a "doctored" drink which the drinker is trying to hide the taste of, even though such a drink *allows* for a wider variance in coffee taste/quality - which is perhaps its biggest advantage over black coffee. Although it requires two additional ingredients (cream, sugar) cafe au lait does not demand the type of perfection from the coffee brew that black coffee does to taste good. The fact that black coffee demands such perfection and exactness of quality to taste acceptable negates it supposed convenience, and is in fact more costly/inconvienent that cafe au lait for this very reason.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ramesh1314

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes I would agree - since i like my coffee all different ways - totally dependant on my mood...
                                                                                                                                                                      black...black w/ sugar....light and sweet, light no sugar..... or sometime just a dab of half & half...
                                                                                                                                                                      Oh but if I am having it with a creamer - it has got to be half and half - NEVER with plain milk - BLEH!!!! I have no broblem with non-dairy creamer - fresh or powdered...but please - never plain milk or skim !!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, me too. I like all types of coffee drinks - black, cafe au lait, capuccino, etc. One can argue that a "true" coffee lover (as opposed to a coffee snob) is one who likes all types and qualities, and will even drink bad quality and like it. When I worked as a field tech, I was forced to drink whatever was available wherever I was - usually half-stale sludge - but hey nothing tasted so good especially when I was cold and tired. lol - *that* is true love.

                                                                                                                                                                        If drinking cafe au lait - I much prefer real dairy half-n-half over any other type of creamer, with real white sugar over any other type of sweetener.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ramesh1314

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, but I'm pretty sure most people in America add cream and sugar to mask the "bitter" taste of coffee. There isn't anything particularly wrong with that, but people should give black coffee a try!

                                                                                                                                                                      3. CulinaryKate,

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think that there is anythin anti-chowish about drinking coffee with cream and sweetener. Have it how you like it.

                                                                                                                                                                        As for me, I drink it all sorts of ways: with cream and sugar, black with sugar, and black. I drink it with cream and sugar when I am in the mood for something sweet and there are no dessert-type items around.

                                                                                                                                                                        Ironically, when there are desserts or breakfast pastries around, I prefer it black. The bitterness contrasts with the sweetness of the dessert wonderfully. Also, I drink it black when I want to stay awake. That may be more psychological in nature than realistic, but I find that black coffee keeps me awake better.

                                                                                                                                                                        Most often, I drink it with some sugar but no cream. This way you get the maximum coffee flavor but less of the bitterness.

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh I agree - if I am eating a sweet, I will always have coffee with a bit of half and half - No sugar........the contrast is wonderful...

                                                                                                                                                                          Ramesh - I agree - a bad cup of coffee is sometimes much better than NO cup of coffee!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                                                            "Ironically, when there are desserts or breakfast pastries around, I prefer it black. The bitterness contrasts with the sweetness of the dessert wonderfully."

                                                                                                                                                                            Me too! =)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                                                              gfr1111 - it is true - 1 cup of black coffee has more caffeine than 1 cup of the same coffee with cream because the cream takes up space in the cup, so you're actually only getting about 3/4 cup of coffee. Also the fat in the cream slows the absorbtion of the caffeine. IOW, the more non-caffeinated liquid (milk, half-n-half, etc) added to the coffee and the higher the fat content, the less caffeine and the slower the absorbtion the resultant mixture will have than an equivalent volume of black coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Coffee, Kaffe, Cafe, Java, (where its called Kopi Jawa and they serve it 'bubuk - essentially finely ground and stirred straight into a cup of hot water - kinda instant but you've got to strain it through your teeth!)

                                                                                                                                                                              When I was a kid instant was good enough - turns out to have about a half the caffeine. And I loved coffee with 'leche condensada Nestle'! There's still nothing like sweetened condensed milk with coffee - real brewed the better now lah! In my travels I remember waking up once in Mali - Bamako if I recall and don't ask me where I'd spent the night - but it was cold and we had instant coffee with sweetened condensed milk and french bread - as good as a cafe on the Champs Elysees. (One takes one Elysian Fields where one finds them!)

                                                                                                                                                                              But of course the real start towards black coffee - or 'black water' as the Chinese call it! started with the purchase of the first coffee maker. As a bachelor believe me sooner or later you will arise with coffee, but no milk or sugar around the house. You'll be slightly (if not severely hung over and that hot cup of black coffee will raise you from the dead and it may not be till the next hang over that your replicate the supply situation, but you'll do it eventually and eventually it'll be why do I bother with fresh milk - I only use it in my coffee and sugar just attracts ants! But black coffee is a life giver!

                                                                                                                                                                              But Sunday's I've still been known to snake a little Leche condensada or even some Bailey's (who needs sugar then!) into a leisurely mug and its a great way to hunker down over a newspaper while contemplating brunch.

                                                                                                                                                                              And finally the old joke - Why is Irish Coffee the most complete food in the world? Because its got all four major food groups - fat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. About 30 years ago when I was CK's age I worked the overnight shift. Working with me was the first person Iknew that bought freshly roasted coffee, ground his own beans and used a Chemex to make his coffee in. Who knew how good coffee could actually taste!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I've always drank my coffee black. I don't drink any milk ever and I don't like any sweet drinks so....black coffee it is and always has been!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I can't drink coffee without heavy cream or the acid gives me heartburn (unless I do a cold brew). So, cool kids or not, I drink with heavy cream (equal to amount of coffee) and sugar. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I like my life to be simple. I've been drinking my coffee and tea black, no cream, no sugar, since pre-teen. I carry only one credit card, my bicycles are either single speed or fixed gear, my yard is landscaped mostly with succulents (requiring almost no maintenance), I make my pizza with only 2 toppings, and so on...
                                                                                                                                                                                      Driving thru McDonalds for coffee, they look at me funny when I tell them zero sugar zero cream. I like to keep my life simple.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roadfix

                                                                                                                                                                                        yes. milk and sugar are SO complicated. i wonder how much time and confusion i could save if i cut them from my coffee drinking


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                          ..hehehe...... So I'm kicking back sipping my black coffee at The Coffee Bean on Hillhurst the other day and thinking to myself how glad I am not standing amongst that crowd of people at the condiment bar. One guy dumps half of his coffee out and proceeds to pour 8 ounces of cream followed by 15 seconds worth of sugar into that cup. Holy cow! ...:)))

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Since always- I've never liked sweet drinks, and I don't like milk. Also the first time I ordered coffee I was only about 12 and I went into the coffee shop, stared at the menu in confusion for a little while and eventually just picked the simplest thing I could from all the options to avoid potentially embarrassing myself, which was a small black coffee. It wasn't exactly great (this was in Hong Kong which is seriously not a coffee town at all) but I can't really imagine drinking it any other way, now.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I admit, I'm a bad host. Mom & dad always took coffee black. Every time we had visitors we had to make a conscious effort to have sugar, cream and milk available.

                                                                                                                                                                                          My first intro into coffee had milk (never sugar . . . ruins the flavor). I'll never forget the morning of my GREs. I was out partying most of the night. Mike picked me up at 6:30 with a DD coffee full of sugar & milk. I think it reduced my total by 20 points (and yes, I did dump it for politeness).

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't mind if it's diluted by dairy (not my favorite), but NEVER add sugar to my coffee please.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                            If i want coffee, I like it black and unsweetened. I don't hate coffee with cream and sugar, but it's like an entirely different drink and not coffee at all. Coffee with sugar is just weird to me. Not judging, mind you, I'm talking about the taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                            My sister insists on honey in her coffee, which can be a pain in the butt, because now you have to have spoons and cream and sugar and run through the cabinets and find all that. I'm a bad host too, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I drank coffee with milk from the time I was two years old. When I was about 10 and I was somewhere without milk I realized that if I drank it black, I would never have to worry about whether there was milk around. I've had it black every since. Just as well since I am now lactose intolerant.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I am seventeen, and as long as I can remember, I have always taken coffee black. Black coffee is sooooo delicious. I started drinking coffee when I was 12 or 13, and it became a regular habit when I was... 15?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I just always thought that there is no point in drinking coffee if you're going to add cream and sugar. Might as well take a 5 hour energy. I drink coffee because I enjoy the flavour. Coffee is not bitter, it has a really deep, kinda warm flavour. It's a bit indescribable, but try drinking coffee for a period of time, and you'll find yourself addicted!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I am Chinese though, so I grew up drinking a lot of tea, and am a total purist when it comes to tea and coffee. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I prefer my coffee sweet and creamy. If my preferred (read: non-dairy) creamer is not available I drink it sweetened, but never black.

                                                                                                                                                                                                doesn't bother me a bit - black coffee is too bitter for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Wow, great question! (I realize this is old. haha.) I have always drank black coffee. Maybe at first because it went so well with a cigarette, maybe because I thought it was cool, maybe even back then I actually thought it tasted better unadorned (or "untainted" as I often say). It's just...better to me black! There's something so satisfying about it. Not to mention, easier! haha. I feel I'm in the minority among the coffee drinkers I know, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I started drinking my coffee black when I became diabetic. There are only a couple of grams of carbs in each serving of cream, but I would rather spend those carbs on other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Old thread, but nonetheless . . .


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kate, let me start my reply by saying I've got a few years on you . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So, back in the late-1960s/early-1970s, when I was in my mid-to-late teens and first started drinking coffee, I drank it with a splash of milk in it, but never any sugar. (With sugar, it reminded me too much of coffee ice cream, and I loved coffee ice cream -- but not when it's hot!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      In 1978, I bought my first espresso machine, and started drinking straight shots -- first with a bit of sugar, but I soon learned that the bitterness I was experiencing in my shots was because -- well, basically, because my espresso sucked! (Or else, I'd drink a latte.) As I got better at my espresso-making, the less I needed any sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Meanwhile, when I'd go out, I'd order coffee (never espresso - unless in Europe), and drink it black. For years, I'd drink it black. Then, in the late-1980s, I began doing a lot of late-night, long-distance driving between Northern and Southern California -- almost every weekend. I started drinking coffee with milk because the acidity in the black coffee was beginning to irritate my stomach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Today, I have a commercial espresso machine installed in my kitchen, and drink all of my espressos black, unless -- of course -- I'm making a cappuccino or latte. But I still order coffee when I'm out, and I still take it with milk . . . but no sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I drink coffee black because I am not about to prepare a non-alcoholic cocktail everytime I drink a coffee. Sure, I prefer the taste of black coffee because I'm a man. Due to the fact that I am a man, though, I'm also quite lazy when I'm not working, so I'm not gonna mess with sugar, cream, a spoon and stirring. The only thing ever gets added to my coffee is, sometimes, a bit of whiskey and/or baileys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I started drinking coffee without sugar when I started making cold brewed (Toddy System) coffee and realized it was a little bit sweet and naturally not bitter. I quit using cream a little after that when I realized that without cream, spoilage wasn't a problem anymore. Just rinse out the mug and fill with more coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I drink my coffee without cream because I'm lactose intolerant so no milk and without sugar because I find sugar almost always spoils the taste of any coffee. I've also grown accustomed to the taste of food and drinks without sugar which can be acquired.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still do enjoy coffee with cream, though it has to be lactose free or soy which doesn't taste quite the same so I stick to straight black most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Many years ago, while in the Navy, cream was at a premium, so I learned to drink that coffee (if you want to call it that) black. Once I was out, and since then, I've drunk more like coffee flavored half and half...hold the sugar, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. When I first started drinking coffee I had it light and sweet. Then after having bee exposed to espresso and middle eastern style coffee I started drinking it black and slightly sweet. But for the past decade or two I rarely drink coffee. Maybe a few times a year at most. I can't handle the caffeine, and just don't bother with decaf. A few years ago I lived near a great coffee roaster and stopped by several times for a cup and I think the last time I had any coffee was then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I took cream in my coffee for decades, from about 1970 to about 2011. When I went low carb, I felt so conflicted about whether to use fake half and half or regular half and half (one has less fat but more carbs, and the other vice versa) that I decided to just stop using it. I accomplished this with little fuss and bother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At first I used half and half if I was indulging in Starbucks, but now the only time I use half and half is when I order an Americano there. I don't use cream at all for normal coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I will either drink a strong hot coffee (close to espresso) black and plain but sometimes I enjoy a latte, hot or iced. My husband used to put cream in his coffee, but eventually stopped when he was off working on fires (forest service in the southwest) and his old cups would get putrid and grow mold in them fairly quickly. Grossed him out, so he stopped with the cream. It also made it easier to have a good cup of coffee when he didn't have to have cream in it. Now he brings his own coffee and his french press with him most of the time and doesn't worry a bout cream. I have no idea if adding cream and sugar to your coffee makes you less chowish, but I shouldn't think so, given the wildly varied palates that the regulars here have.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I have always drank my coffee black. I am not a fan of milk in general as we just never had it growing up (I think someone was lactose intolerant many a decade ago and so my grandparents and parents just never grew up buying or drinking milk aside from cereal) and so I never even thought to include cream and I guess the black coffee tasted OK to me on first sip so it stuck. I will sometimes add a splash of half and half for some odd reason and every time I am disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My wife (now ex) of 18 years decided that she and our son were allergic to dairy products so she stopped buying milk products.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        FYI: I did all of the cooking and she did the shopping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At first I got my coffee on the way to work. That didn't work well so I threw in the towel and starting drinking it black.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now "Trophy" wife and I use a Nespresso machine for our espresso fix in the morning. Black of course.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My son (now 30) and I continue to enjoy our ice cream sundaes @ the Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen.