Last Updated on January 13, 2024
Searching for the best dark roast coffee is not an exact science, or a black and white decision. Enjoying our cup of joe is a highly personal thing, my friend. It might be possible to close your eyes, point, and say, “I’ll take that one” and be truly satisfied. Realistically, though, it will be a process of trying a variety of dark roast brews to discover which one touches your heart, and your taste buds.
So where to begin the discovery?
Not to worry. We’ve tasted, we’ve researched, and we’ve created a list of the top dark roast coffees available in 2023. You’ll find the short list below, and then a more detailed review further along in the article.
If you happen to click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
- Best Dark Roast Coffee: The Top Picks of 2023
- What is Dark Roast Coffee?
- What Does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?
- How to Choose the Best Dark Roast for You
- Our Top Picks in Dark Roast Coffee for 2023
Best Dark Roast Coffee: The Top Picks of 2023
Here is the short list of the top picks for the best dark roast coffee for 2023. We’ll give you all the whys and wherefores below, but if you want to cut right to the chase, here it is!
Notice that we don’t rate our selections. Nope. We think that any one of these top rated dark roasts could be the perfect match for your java palette. The full review of each brand found below will provide you with most helpful customer comments as well as pertinent highlights for each.
- Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
- Koffee Kult Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- SF Bay French Roast Ground Coffee
- Volcanica Coffee Sumatra Mandheling Reserve
- Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass Dark Roast
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Dark Magic
- Koa Coffee Private Reserve Dark Roast
What is Dark Roast Coffee?
All of our little coffee bean friends start out the same way – as soft, spongy green beans. And, they smell grassy…not at all like the aroma of coffee as we’ve come to know and love.
It is the roasting process that creates the dark brown, brittle coffee bean we’re familiar with. The roasting time and temperature (as well as the expertise of the roaster!) determine whether the resulting roast will be light, medium, medium-dark, or dark.
A dark roast coffee bean has been roasted longer than all of his other bean brothers. And, FYI, these little guys do not have more caffeine than the lighter roasts. They are darker in appearance, but because they’ve been roasted longer, the caffeine content is slightly less.
The beans are shiny and dark, with an oily surface and a bitter taste. They are also lower in acidity.
You might see a dark roast referred to in one of the following terms. Remember that the dark roast coffee names are not necessarily consistent from brand to brand, roaster to roaster:
- New Orleans
What Does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?
When you venture to the dark side of coffee (roast, that is) you’ll find that the roasting process has developed the characteristics that are inherent in this dark roast: bold, rich, full-bodied, sometimes charred, always rich.
Dark roast coffee can be described as bittersweet or toasty, with chocolaty flavors. The oils that are produced during the roasting process result in a thicker brew, which is one of the things I love about dark roast.
If your palette prefers a light, it-almost-tastes-like-coffee + let’s add some cream type of experience, you’ll probably find our best dark roast coffee recommendations to be a bit heavy for your enjoyment.
But that’s what dark roast is all about, my friend.
How to Choose the Best Dark Roast for You
As a long-time coffee snob who will only drink a dark roast (always black, of course), I will recommend this:
Try a variety of roasts until you find the one that your palette responds to most favorably. And, there might be several that you truly enjoy.
For me, as of this writing, my favs include Peets Coffee Major Dickason”s Blwnd, SF Bay French Roast, both of which are highlighted below, and the bold selection from Tayst (only available in coffee pods).
And, I have to throw in my two cents about the method for brewing the coffee, because that can make all the difference in the java world, my friend. If you want a tasty, satisfying cup of strong coffee, learn how to prepare it in a way that will result in a strong cup of coffee. Weak, wimpy brews are not allowed.
Our Top Picks in Dark Roast Coffee for 2023
As noted above, we don’t rate our list of dark roast coffees. Our opinion is that any one of these brands could be perfect for you. Read through the reviews and customer comments, then see what appeals to you personally. They are all in the category of best dark roast coffee!
The all-time best seller from Peets Coffee, Major Dickason’s Blend will surely win you over as is has me, as one of my all-time favorite dark roast coffees. Always smooth, never bitter, enjoy Major Dickason’s roast as whole bean, ground, or K-cup.
My personal favorite? Grind the whole beans and brew a delicious cup of pour over coffee!
- Rich, complex, full-bodied
- Hand roasted in small batches
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Smooth, not bitter
- Flavors of earth and spice
What happy customers are saying about Major Dickason’s Blend:
- robust, balanced, with woodsy notes
- this coffee is a love affair
- we will never stray from Major Dickason’s
- one of the absolute best blends out there
- full and delicious…yummy!
With the organic beans originating in Columbia, Guatemala, and Sumatra, Koffee Kult Dark Roast has a bold, smooth, never bitter flavor.
Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffees roasting profile is brought to the second crack in the roasting process and then released into the cooling bin to provide a fuller, more flavorful taste.
Koffee Kult is a family owned and operated business originating in Hollywood, FL.
- Strong, smooth, clean taste
- Organic beans
- Roasted in small batches
- Heavy body, smooth, cinnamon, bright
What happy customers are saying about Koffee Kult Dark Roast:
- simply fantastic!
- bag is easy to open with nice resealable liner
- amazing aroma
- I’ve found my new favorite coffee bean
- we love the freshness
SF Bay is a family owned, American made company with a rich tradition. And I can tell you from experience that their French Roast ground coffee is amazing!
With flavor notes of rich dark chocolate, toasted cinnamon, and a smoky finish, there is a lot to love about SF Bay’s French Roast (dark roast) coffee.
I thoroughly enjoy this best dark roast coffee blend in coffee pods…perfect for my single cup coffee maker!
- Full bodied with notes of chocolate and toasted cinnamon
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Sustainably grown and Kosher
- Delicious smoky finish
What happy customers are saying about SF Bay Coffee:
- no coffee compares
- luxurious flavor with no burned taste
- a fine art of roasts
- best coffee for French Roast fans
- can’t do without it!
Fair Trade and Kosher certified, this rare Indonesian coffee is delightfully smooth with a rich, heavy body and exotic flavor.
The flavor notes of brown sugar, dried fruit, and a winey clean aftertaste are intriguing and beg to be tasted.
Treat yourself to the exotic adventure of Sumatra Mandheling Reserve!
- Smooth, rich, heavy body
- Low acidity
- Intense syrupy aftertaste and earthy richness
- Fair Trade and Kosher certified
What happy customers are saying about Sumatra Mandheling Reserve:
- the taste is excellent
- no bitter aftertaste
- if you drink your coffee black you’ll love this coffee
- boutique quality
- beyond excellent!
So the name is cool, and slightly naughty, but the attention-grabbing marketing lives up to the potential for sure.
With a bold, sweet, smoky aroma and tasting notes of chocolate malt, molasses, licorice, and a woodsy finish, Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark Roast might just be the best dark roast coffee for you!
- Smoky, sweet vanilla, dark chocolate aroma
- Chocolate malt, molasses, licorice tasting notes
- Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher
- Roasted in the rocky mountains
What happy customers are saying about Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark Roast:
- flavorful with no burnt taste
- strong and bold without acidity
- best coffee ever!
- what a gift for the taste buds & senses
- spoiled me for all other coffee
As deep and intense as the night itself, an extra bold blend with chocolate and dried fruit notes, and a subtly sweet finish.
I can attest to the “extra” in extra bold, friends. This is one potent cup of java.
Many reviewers enjoy the ground or whole bean variety so they can prepare their brew exactly to their liking, but K-cups are always an option!
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Bold, deep, intense
- Dried fruit and chocolate notes
- Subtly sweet finish
What happy customers are saying about Dark Magic Dark Roast:
- my favorite coffee hands down
- made for someone who loves a very full, rich dark roast
- rich but not bitter
- consistent flavor, perfectly balanced
- rich, creamy, flavorful
If premium Kona coffee from Hawaii is on your list, then you’ll want to take a close look at this Private Reserve Dark Roast!
Hand picked, expertly roasted, and delivered right to your door, you’ll enjoy the smooth, rich proprietary blend of Private Reserve dark roast coffee.
- 100% Kona Coffee beans
- Proprietary blend
- Smooth and rich with a slight hint of chocolate
- Never bitter
What happy customers are saying about Koa Private Reserve Dark Roast:
- BEST coffee I’ve ever had in 55 years
- a very smooth and lovely coffee
- always flavorful & smooth, never bitter
- quality is outstanding!
- the most delicious coffee in the world
So, which is the best dark roast coffee? As you have probably guessed, there are a number of highly rated, top quality dark roast coffees that could be rated as ‘the best’ for 2023.
The enjoyment starts when you begin to brew and taste-test a dark roast coffee for yourself. You’ll soon find the one that soars to the top of your best-of list!
Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You’ll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕