Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans

I WANT the best Dark roast coffee beans!! We review the top 5 best dark roast coffee beans for flavor, cost, and the opinions of users around the world.

If you’re new to coffee, then you may want to start with the lighter roasts.  But, if you are a hard core,”get that weak *%*&# outta here!” coffee drinker, then the Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans are what you’re looking for.

But, since you came here for dark beans, you probably already knew that.

In this article we have searched for those products that takes you to the next level of flavor intensity. But, while getting to that next level, you still don’t want to get “bitter beer face”.

Do You Want the BEST Dark Roast Coffee Beans?


While researching dark roasts, every dark roast bean I came across has a small percentage of reviews that say something like “this is too bitter”.  Or, this is too burned.

Dark roast (example of the Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans)

“Dark roast” by Charles Nadeau, via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Personally, I think any dark roast is going to get those few “medium” roaster’s that think they’re ready to move to the “dark side” (but, aren’t) and give these high rated dark beans a try.

So, be warned. If you are a “medium” roaster that wants to dabble in the dark arena, these may not be the brands you are looking for.

However, if you’ve been doing dark for a while now.

And, are just looking for something unique, something different, then, the beans below should be really great choices.

Types Of Dark Roast Coffee Beans

While researching dark roast coffee beans, our research found these to be the names of various levels of dark roasting:

  • Full City+
  • Vienna
  • French
  • Italian

Going from lighter to darker, you can use these names to understand better what you are getting.

Full City+ Roast

A Full City+ Roast roasts is cooked at a temperature around 437°F.

When roasting, you should be looking for the start of the second crack as the time to removed the beans from the roaster.

This type of roast is considered dark.  But, is just a step north of medium roasts.

With the second crack comes the beginning of the release of the coffee bean oil (for most beans).  So, you are just starting to get a little bit of and oily bean for this roast.

Vienna Roast

A Vienna style roast is the next step up from Full City+.  You roast at a little higher temperature (446°F).

And, you remove from the roaster somewhere in the middle of the second crack.

With the additional time, more coffee bean oils are released making this type of roast have a somewhat caramel flavor.

A roast at this level can tend to be more about the roast than the original green bean flavor.

French Roast

With a French roast, you are definitely noticing the darker color of the roasted beans.

With even higher temperature (464°F), and with waiting even longer (until the end of the 2nd crack), these beans will be almost shiny with oil as the beans have had a long time to release their inner oils.

French is often used in espresso drinks and with the extra oils can be extra good at creating a smooth good crema.

Italian Roast

espresso italiano

“espresso italiano” by mararie, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A strong Italian is often enjoyed because almost all of the acidity has been cooked (actually, all most burned) out of the coffee beans.

With a temperature of 473°F, an Italian roast can almost be considered burnt.

Italian is also a fan favorite for espresso drinkers.

If you see Turkish coffee on the menu, Turkish coffee often has the same roasting characteristics.

Our Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Valhalla Java Whole Bean Coffee by Death Wish

Death Wish became famous for providing VERY strong coffee with enough caffeine to pull an all nighter without as much a one slow blink.

With their Valhalla offering they have perfected the combination of strong kick with extreme flavor (extremely good).

We found this coffee after we originally published this article.  And, we are updating our article to give this coffee the top billing.  We actually feel obligated.

I actually purchased Valhalla Java Whole Bean Coffee as a gift to my spouse this last Christmas.  I saw the very high ratings.  So, I trusted the ratings and took the chance to give this as a gift.

I was NOT disappointed.  This is the highest rated coffee bean on The Coffee Bean Menu website.  And, we are happy to report that it lives up to expectations.

My spouse has already finished the bag.  I barely had a chance to try it before it was gone.

The chocolaty caramel notes are distinct.  The roast is dark, but no burnt taste (at ALL).  The flavor is really what I’m looking for in a strong tasty cup of coffee.

You really can’t go wrong with this coffee.  They do not disappoint.  In our opinion, these are the best dark roast coffee beans.  And, really they make the case to be the best coffee beans in the world.

Kicking Horse Coffee 454 Horse Power

Kicking Horse Coffee presents this very strong contender for the best dark roast coffee beans on The Coffee Bean Menu website.

One reviewer proclaimed “I didn’t know coffee could have such FLAVOR!”. Kicking Horse Coffee 454 Horse Power had no problem getting reviewers motivated as seen by another reviewers comment “productivity-boosting, baby-making, mind-accelerating stuff”.

That’s not all…

There were NO reviewers that stooped to giving 1 star.

So, this product consistently keeps the masses happy.

Several reviewers mentioned this as being the perfect coffee to get up and get going in the morning.

San Francisco Bay Coffee Whole Bean French Roast

San Francisco Bay Coffee presents these French Roast beans that are described as a “Blend of dark roast coffees beans from Central and South America for an intense, smoky flavor”.

Approximately 88% of the reviewers of San Francisco Bay Coffee Whole Bean French Roast gave at least 4 out of 5 stars (77% gave it 5 stars).

Be aware that these beans make a very strong cup. There were several of the “unfavorable” reviews that commented on how strong the flavor was.

Or, that it was somewhat “bitter”. However, even though there were a few negative reviews, over all, this coffee has the highest total review (4.7 out of 5.0 stars) we’ve seen.

So, if you like a very strong cup of coffee, this might be the coffee for you. If you decide to go for it and it turns out to be bitter, I would suggest trying the french press method of making your coffee.

Many that use the French Press find that “bitter” coffee like this isn’t nearly as bitter when brewed with a French Press.

This dark bean didn’t end up winning our Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans title.  But, we’ve gone back and forth on whether this product is actually deserving of that title.

Black Knight Dark Roast OFT, Whole bean coffee

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC has a product that has consistently provided positive reviews.

Here’s the deal:

Black Knight Dark Roast OFT has ZERO 1 star reviews (out of a possible 5 stars). And, 94+% of reviews give at least 3 out of 5 stars.

The negative reviews were the expected few “this is too bitter” reviews.

On the positive side (over 75% giving 5 stars), the descriptions were littered with positive raves like “Bold”, “Strong yet Smooth”, and “Great Full Body Flavor”.

One reviewer with a nice sense of humor even stated “coffee so strong it will alter your genetic code. Incredibly pleased!”.

Blue Horse Farm-direct: 100% Kona Coffee, Dark Roast, Whole Beans

This Hawaiian grown bean comes from Blue Horse Kona Coffee.

We’ve reviewed Blue Horse before. And, they consistently provide a positive experience for their customers. And, this bean is not an exception.

Reviewers loved this bean with almost 80% of reviewers giving this dark roast 5 out of 5 stars.

Another 11% provide 4 stars. And, a sure sign of a bean that delivers consistently, ZERO reviewers gave this product 1 star.

Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee, Dark Roast boasts to be “Herbicide & pesticide free”.

As dark roast coffee beans go, many of the reviewers indicated that this was not as strong as some of the other dark roasts on this web page.

So, if you’re medium roasts are starting to become a little bland, this might entry into the family of dark roasts.

The Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans Wrap-up

From light dark to dark dark, these coffee beans represent the best of the best in the dark roast category of coffee beans.

From Hawaii to San Francisco, these distributors have done their due diligence to find the best green coffee beans.  They each then provide the perfect roast in their own special way.

The end result is a strong, bold, full flavored bean that when brewed provides a taste that is second to none.

If you get any darker than these dark roasts, you may really want to consider an espresso bean.  We wrote an article about the best coffee beans for espresso if you want to go even darker.

Do You Want the BEST Dark Roast Coffee Beans?


Consistency in product and a strong distinct flavor is what puts these coffee beans at the top of the heap.

We believe we’ve found a strong set of the best dark roast coffee beans that have consistently delivered a quality product.  So, give one of these a try (especially the Valhalla) and we believe you won’t be disappointed.

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