How to Make Dark Roast Coffee Taste Better

Perhaps you finally tried using dark roasted beans, yet you feel like the brew still lacks something. Learning how to make dark roast coffee taste better using different tips and techniques will help you enhance the flavor of dark roast Kona coffee.

How to Make Dark Roast Coffee Taste Better

To make dark roast coffee taste better, use single-origin coffee beans, adjust the grind size, and balance the water temperature and brewing time. You should also ensure proper storage to retain bean freshness. Following coffee recipes and cleaning your coffee maker can also help improve the taste.

Mug on top of coffee beans

There are simple ways to keep your dark roast coffee bittersweet yet delectable. Here are a few tricks to get the most out of your dark roast Kona beans.

Use Single-Origin Coffee Beans

Low-quality coffee beans can make your dark roast coffee taste bad. One way to ensure your dark roast coffee tastes better is to use single-origin coffee, especially Arabica beans.

This means the beans come from a specific geographical area or farm. It has the most original flavor profile since it doesn't include other varieties of beans.

For example, the dark roast Lava Lei 100% Kona coffee only uses beans planted and harvested from the Bay View Farm Estate in the Kona region of Hawaii. This gives the beans an exotic and bolder taste you won't find anywhere else.

Adjust the Grind Size

Adjusting the grind size is another way to improve the taste of your dark roast coffee. If your dark roast coffee tastes weak or sour, there's a chance your grind is too fine, resulting in under-extraction. 

For this reason, it's best to grind dark roasts on the coarser side. Some dark roasted beans tend to be bitter at first. In effect, the longer contact time between the grounds and water would improve the extraction.

Additionally, try to grind the beans yourself so you can ensure freshness in every brew.Woman tasting her freshly brewed Kona coffee

Balance the Water Temperature and Brewing Time

Hot water improves extraction, bringing out the expected flavors of dark roast coffee. Combining a lower temperature and shorter brew time when making dark roasted coffee is ideal for reducing bitterness. In this way, you can extract the authentic sweet, woodsy taste of dark roast Kona coffee.

The standard is to brew around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you also need to adjust depending on the brewing method. For instance, there are only a few minutes for you to extract when using Kona coffee for espresso. 

When the coffee goes beyond the second crack, the bean's structure becomes fragile and porous. Thus, the longer you expose the grounds to water, the more time for extraction. This is why you must consider how the brewing time can affect the water temperature. 

  • Drip coffee maker: The machine should maintain a water temperature of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. A coffee maker can take at least 3 minutes to complete a drip cycle for optimum extraction.
  • Pour over: 195 degrees Fahrenheit is also a good starting point if you want to use the pour-over method when making dark roast coffee. This may take about 2.5 to 3 minutes.
  • Aeropress: When using Aeropress, set the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to extract the most flavors out of the dark roasted beans. Press until you hear the hissing sound, which should take around 2.5 to 3 minutes.
  • Moka pot: You can get the best-tasting dark roast coffee from a Moka pot by setting 204 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pot brew the coffee for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • French press: The perfect temperature to get flavorsome dark roast coffee is 195 degrees Fahrenheit when using a French press. Let the grounds brew for 4 to 5 minutes.

Ensure Proper Coffee Storage

Some people overlook the storage of dark roast coffee beans. However, the use of proper storage is among the best ways to ensure you can brew flavorful coffee.

Compared to lighter roasts, dark roasted coffees tend to go stale quickly, especially darker ones like French roast. Moisture, light, and heat can ruin coffee beans.Cup of coffee

With that said, invest in an airtight container or use sealing clips to preserve and extend the coffee's freshness. You can also purchase in small batches to ensure you get freshly roasted beans every time you brew.

Follow Coffee Recipes

There may be times when it's not the beans or brewing method causing the problem. In some cases, it lacks ingredients, especially sweeteners and flavorings.

While some enjoy black coffee, some may find it better to follow coffee recipes to enhance the coffee bean's natural oils.

  • Latte: You can try making a latte if you want to improve the caramelly sweetness of dark roasted beans. Combine 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, with a small layer of froth on top.
  • Cappuccino: Cappuccino is another espresso-based drink added with 1/3 milk and 1/3 milk foam.
  • Macchiato: A macchiato is ideal if you find dark roast espresso too harsh, yet cappuccino seems a bit weak. Macchiato is the middle ground, as you can top the espresso with a small amount of steamed or foamed milk to let the dark roast coffee shine.
  • Breve: Suppose an espresso shot of dark roast coffee is too bitter for you. Tame this by adding half steamed milk and half frothed cream.
  • Cortado: Cortado is equal parts espresso and steamed milk. This is a good option if you want to use milk and counter the espresso's bitterness.

Clean Your Coffee Maker

You may have the right grind size, water temperature, or brewing time. However, if there are leftover coffee grounds and stale water in your coffeemaker, it may change the taste of your brew. 

While there are ways to make dark roast coffee taste less bitter, you can prevent this by cleaning your coffee maker. Take time to rinse your coffee machine regularly.


There are many ways to improve the taste of dark roasted coffee, including brewing single-origin beans, changing the grind size, and ensuring proper storage. You should also balance the water temperature and brewing time. Start by getting fresh dark roast beans from Lava Lei 100% Kona coffee for your coffee recipes.