While the concept of coffee itself is straightforward, many people nowadays use terminologies that may seem confusing at times. Among these, the term “normal coffee” might be the most confusing, especially since other people have different standards when it comes to normal. For that reason, there’s an ongoing debate on whether black coffee is different from normal coffee and what the differences may be.
As it turns out, black coffee and normal coffee are not one and the same, as one consists of only water and coffee beans, while the other may consist of other ingredients like sugar and additives.
Or at least that’s the short answer, but the idea is a bit more complex. If that still doesn’t fully answer your question, the following sections should clarify what separates one from the other.
Normal Coffee Contains Additives While Black Coffee Doesn’t
The main distinction between normal coffee and black coffee is their composition. To further clarify, normal coffee contains additives, while black coffee comprises solely of brewed coffee and water, nothing else.
Once you include any additive into the beverage, it becomes normal coffee. The idea behind this is that additives may take away the natural aroma and flavor of the coffee, which is precisely what sets it apart from other beverages.
Here’s a list of additives that you can find in a normal coffee:
- Artificial sweetener
- Coconut oil
Normal Coffee And Black Coffee Varieties Are Different
As you may expect, there are several varieties of coffee, some of the most popular ones being mocha, espresso, americano, and cappuccino. So, what does this have to do with normal and black coffee?
Well, for starters, many people believe that some varieties can be black or normal coffee, depending on how you make them, but that’s not the case. These varieties already belong to one of two categories: (1) normal coffee or (2) black coffee. Cappuccino, for example, is one variety of normal coffee as its unique feature is the presence of steamed milk, which, as you may already know, is an example of a coffee additive.
Once you take away the steamed milk from a cappuccino, you can no longer call it the same way, as it would then become an espresso, yet another variety. There are many other examples, and this section will cover some of the most popular ones, starting with black coffee.
Black Coffee: Types
While some may argue that there are much more restrictions when making black coffee, there’s no denying that there are as many varieties of black coffee as normal coffee, such as the following:
- Espresso: Espresso is best known to be one of the strongest coffee varieties. It’s made by combining a small amount of boiling water and ground coffee beans and putting it under high pressure.
- Doppio: Also known as double in the Italian language, a doppio is simply double the amount of espresso. You can make a doppio by using double the amount of ground coffee beans and water.
- Ristretto: Also known as short espresso, a ristretto is made in the same manner as an espresso, except you only use half the amount of water. This brewing method results in a more concentrated coffee than regular espresso.
- Americano: An americano is the opposite of a ristretto. It’s much lighter than espresso in that you have to use a higher amount of water. Essentially, you’re diluting the coffee by adding more water.
- Long Black: A long black is fairly similar to americano as you also combine espresso and water, but the order is different. Rather than putting water over espresso, you pour two shots of Espresso over water instead.
- Drip Coffee: As the name suggests, a drip coffee is made by pouring hot water into coffee grounds and letting it drip through, which results in a rather strong and bitter coffee.
- Pourover: A pourover is made by continuously pouring water into a filter filled with coffee grounds, hence the name. Note that it’s different from drip coffee as you have to pour hot water continuously, as opposed to waiting for it to drip through.
- Instant Coffee: Perhaps the most commonly-known type of coffee variety, instant coffee is any type of coffee that you can make by simply pouring it into hot water and stirring until it dissolves.
- Capsule: Similar to instant coffee, you can also find coffee that comes in the form of capsules. These capsules usually contain black coffee, specifically espresso, which you can put into capsule coffee machines.
- Decaf: Decaf coffee is basically coffee that contains minimal amounts of caffeine.
Normal Coffee: Types
If you’d rather go for normal coffee, the following varieties should be worth looking into:
- Cappuccino: Cappuccino consists of espresso with a touch of either steamed milk or foamed milk or a combination of both. You may also substitute milk with cream, cinnamon powder, chocolate, and such.
- Mocha: One can make a mocha by combining cold cream and a shot of espresso. People also typically top it with chocolate syrup or similar additives to strengthen its sweetness.
- Latte: Latte is similar to cappuccino in that they both contain milk, but latte consists mainly of milk rather than just having it as an addition to coffee.
- Black Tie: A black tie consists of espresso and Thai tea, often topped with cream, sugar, milk, and similar additives.
- Café Au Lait: This variety is basically drip coffee, but with steamed milk.
- Café Bombon: You can make café bombon by combining espresso and condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio.
- Café Cubano: This type consists of a shot of espresso combined with a few spoonfuls of demerara sugar or syrup.
Black Coffee Is Generally More Acidic
Despite the only difference being the absence of additives, research shows that black coffee is generally more acidic than its normal or white counterpart. What leads to this conclusion. you might ask?
To start with, acidity can be measured using pH levels. A pH of 7 means it’s neither acidic nor alkaline, but rather, it’s neutral. Those with a pH of less than 7 are considered acidic, while higher is alkaline.
As it turns out, coffee has a pH level of around 5. For comparison, tomato juice has a pH level of 4, while orange juice has 3. But most importantly, milk has a pH level of around 6.7 to 6.9, meaning you’re essentially increasing the pH level of your coffee by adding this particular additive. The same goes for other additives, like cinnamon with an average pH of 9 or chocolate syrup with a pH of 6.5.
For that reason, studies have come to the conclusion that black coffee is generally more acidic than a cup of coffee that consists of milk as it bumps up the low pH levels of the beverage simply by being present.
Of course, one must remember that being acidic is not necessarily a bad thing, although it may be for those who are suffering from acid reflux or similar problems. If so, the following tips might be of some help:
Use Low-Acid Coffee Beans Like Arabica Beans
Arabica beans inherently have lower acid content than most coffee beans, like Robusta, for example. Therefore, by using these coffee beans, you can effectively reduce the pH level of your black coffee.
Consider Roasting The Coffee Beans Longer Than Usual
Most of the acids in coffee beans are lost during the roasting process. That’s precisely why dark roasts tend to be the least acidic form of coffee. In that regard, consider roasting your beans longer than usual.
Make Sure The Grind Size Is Just Right
When brewing coffee, a general rule of thumb is that the coarser the grind size, the higher the acidity. For that reason, it might be best to choose fine coffee beans to minimize the acidity.
Brew The Coffee In Cold Water
While brewing in hot water is the most common method of making coffee, brewing in cold water is most definitely a worthwhile option as it can drastically reduce the acidity of your black coffee.
Black Coffee Provides A Higher Amount Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that inhibit or slow down the process of oxidation in the body. For your information, oxidation is a chemical reaction in the body that produces harmful molecules.
These molecules can potentially damage your cells, which is why it’s essential that you supply your body with antioxidants to fight against these harmful molecules. That might be one of the main reasons why coffee is such a popular beverage; it’s a rich source of antioxidants. But what does this have to do with black coffee?
Well, research shows that black coffee typically contains a higher amount of antioxidants than its normal counterpart. While there’s not yet an explicit explanation, experts believe it might be due to milk.
A lot of people don’t know the difference between black coffee and normal coffee, and most people don’t bother to. So the fact that you put effort into looking it up is quite commendable.
With this, it should be apparent that there’s more to the two varieties than one may think. Black coffee not only has a different composition, but it may also have a different nutritional value. But most importantly, black coffee and normal coffee may have different flavors and aromas. And if you want to enjoy your coffee more, it’d be best if you choose the type that suits your taste best.