Black coffee is often sidelined in favor of sweeter, milk coffee but I think it’s really the best way to truly enjoy the flavor of your coffee. If you’re accustomed to drinking coffee with milk and sugar, it can be hard to switch to black coffee which is stronger and more bitter. Developing a taste for black coffee may take time, so it’s best to start slow. Gradually reduce the amount of milk or creamer you add to your cup, and also cut down on sugar till you reach a point where you can drink coffee with no milk and little sugar (or no sugar, if you want to go all the way). You can also consider alternative sweeteners like cinnamon, honey, and vanilla.
It would also help to experiment with different grind sizes and roast levels. A coarse grind needs a short brewing time and is prone to under-extraction giving you sour coffee while a fine grind brews for longer, raising the chances of over-extraction and bitter coffee. Pick your grind size based on your preferred brewing method and only brew for the recommended time so that you get a balanced cup.
Choosing the right roast level is crucial to enjoying black coffee. Black coffee tends to emphasize acidity, and if you’re used to cutting this acidity with milk or sugar, the transition can be tough. Light roasts have a mild flavor with no oiliness but also tend to be more acidic. Conversely, dark and medium-dark roasts have strong flavors and aromas with less acidity. I’d recommend going with a medium roast to start with and then adjusting according to your preferences.
Finally, you should stick to specialty coffee if you want to appreciate black coffee. It gives you more complex flavors and a depth that isn’t found in your standard instant coffee. Always keep your brewing equipment clean and only use fresh coffee. And if the bitterness gets too much, a pinch of salt will cut it down.
Good luck with your coffee journey!