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The Best Coffee For Non Coffee Drinkers (Top 19 Picks)

I’ll never forget my first coffee order. I ordered a Nutella espresso, something I thought sounded chic, fancy, and sweet.

I was wrong. The espresso was bitter and horrid, and I was thoroughly turned off coffee for much of my life.

Luckily, thanks to some much more tame coffee beverages, I got back into drinking the stuff. Today, I’m a coffee lover who prefers a Chemex to the sugary Starbucks drinks!

If you’re in the same boat and aren’t convinced you’re a coffee fan, keep reading. I’ve put together a guide to the best coffee for non coffee drinkers to help you start your coffee journey.

Let’s begin!

Best Coffee for Non-Coffee Drinkers: Top 19 Picks

Most non-coffee drinkers can agree that the problem lies in the drink’s bitterness. Despite its sweet aroma, coffee tends to taste dark and bitter.

Luckily, quite a few drinks are out there that combat this problem. Here are the top coffee beverages for non-coffee drinkers to try.

1. Cafe Latte

cafe latte

The easiest place for a non-coffee drinker to start is with a cafe latte. Latte means milk in Italian, and that’s the predominant ingredient in this drink.

A latte consists of:

  • a shot of espresso
  • steamed milk
  • milk foam

A cafe latte is easy to recognize because it usually comes in tall glasses covered with thick foam. You might even get served a drink with cute latte art, adding to the fun.

And, if the traditional preparation doesn’t convince you, there’s a variety of lattes you can try.

The most popular flavored lattes are usually sweeter than a regular latte. Among them, you’ll find the caramel latte or the hazelnut latte. They almost completely hide the bitterness of the coffee.

2. Cafe Mocha

The cafe mocha, also known as mochaccino, is both smooth and sweet at the same time.

This drink has:

  • a shot of espresso
  • chocolate
  • steamed milk
  • chocolate syrup on top

Mocha is a sweeter drink than a latte or a cappuccino and has a less intense coffee taste. It’s the favorite of many.

The most predominant flavor is chocolate. And if you’re still not sold on the drink, you can always add whipped cream on top for an even sweeter experience.

NOTE
This drink is always available in cafes, but it’s also easy to prepare at home. You can use homemade chocolate sauce, syrup, or even a hot chocolate mixture to make this flavored coffee.

3. Vanilla Latte

vanilla latte

The vanilla latte is one of the best options to start the day and energize the morning. It can be hot or iced, depending on your preferences (and the weather).

It consists of:

  • one or two espresso shots
  • steamed milk
  • milk foam
  • vanilla syrup

It’s also one of the best options for non-coffee drinkers. It’s an ideal choice because vanilla’s simple, classic flavor softens the coffee.

A vanilla latte is so sweet that you might enjoy it even if you aren’t a fan of coffee. The vanilla flavor isn’t overpowering or strong, but it’s smooth and pairs well with coffee.

PRO TIP
Even though this combination is deliciously addictive, I recommend not drinking them so often. They’re quite sweet and could be detrimental to your health over time.

4. Caramel Macchiato

A caramel macchiato consists of:

  • caramel
  • vanilla syrup
  • espresso
  • milk

These flavors complement and dilute the espresso’s taste.

Don’t confuse it with traditional macchiato, because it’s nothing like that. Regardless of the name, it’s more similar to a latte, with added flavors.

The sweetness of caramel and vanilla syrup replaces the bitterness of the coffee. Plus, the foam of this drink is so smooth that it dissolves in your mouth!

It’s an ideal option if you want to introduce espresso drinks to your palate and tolerate a slight coffee flavor.

NOTE
You’ll find this creamy drink in hot and cold versions. Personally, I like the cold version better. But, the jury’s still out on that one for most people.

5. Flat White

flat white

A flat white may have a slightly more intense flavor than a latte. It all depends if you want it with one or two espresso shots.

It consists of:

  • espresso shot
  • steamed milk
  • microfoam

It’s a drink quite like a latte, but this one doesn’t have foam on the surface. Instead, microfoam gives it a pleasant sensation without being overpowering. Microfoam is made up of super small bubbles that leave a silky feel on the mouth.

This sweet drink is ideal for beginners and those who don’t drink coffee regularly. A flat white provides caffeine energy without any bitterness.

Depending on where you’re from, flat whites sometimes come with chocolate or cinnamon on top. That added bit of sweetness can help balance out the flavor of the coffee for those who are newer drinkers.

TIP
Try iced flat white coffee during hot summer days. You can easily make it at home!

6. Cappuccino

The cappuccino is a popular drink among both coffee drinkers and non-drinkers. It’s much like a cafe latte, except it has a smaller amount of milk. Sometimes, it comes with cocoa powder sprinkled on the surface.

The drink is equal parts:

  • espresso
  • steamed milk
  • milk froth

Its sweetness dilutes the espresso’s bitterness.

Like latte coffee, cappuccinos can be of various flavors. Some favorites are French Vanilla, Butterscotch, and Pecan.

Many times, just a touch of vanilla and chocolate is needed to make it more enjoyable for non-coffee drinkers.

NOTE
Cappuccino is smaller than a latte, but it’s a touch stronger.

7. Macchiato

macchiato

The word macchiato means marked or stained. It relates to the spoonful of foam without syrup that “marks” the black coffee. It also “stains” the espresso’s taste.

Macchiato consists of:

  • espresso shot
  • a bit of milk foam

This drink is ideal for those who want to cut the bold flavor of espresso with some sweetness. However, it tastes heavier than a latte since there’s no milk involved.

If you want to risk a little more with the taste of coffee, it’s a good option. A macchiato is something between an espresso and a cappuccino.

And if you find the flavor too strong, you can always add flavoring agents to taste.

NOTE
Don’t confuse traditional macchiato with a latte macchiato! Latte macchiato it’s like a latte, just upside down. Unlike traditional macchiato, it has a lot of milk, and it’s served in a tall glass.

8. Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a sweet and smooth drink with a hint of whiskey.

Betty White Drinking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This drink consists of:

  • black coffee
  • a dash of Irish whiskey
  • brown sugar
  • whipped cream.

Irish coffee is famous for its layers and is a staple on many bar menus. You can also often order it as part of a Sunday brunch if that’s more your thing.

PRO TIP
You shouldn’t mix the whipped cream on top with coffee. The key to enjoying this drink is drinking it all at once.

9. Affogato

affogato

An affogato is a delicious and smooth drink that combines hot and cold ingredients.

It’s made of:

  • a shot of espresso
  • a scoop of ice cream

Traditionally, affogatos are made with vanilla ice cream. Today, however, you’ll often find that you can choose whichever flavor of ice cream you want.

In some versions of affogato, there’s also a touch of liquor to emphasize the flavors. Add Bailey’s, amaretto, or another liqueur to add some decadence to your drink.

PRO TIP
My personal favorite affogato was an alcohol-free version over a scoop of passionfruit ice cream. It sounds odd, but the fruity flavors paired perfectly with the espresso!

10. French Vanilla

Non-coffee drinkers tend to choose French Vanilla coffee. The drink usually comes with a cream to complement the flavors and give it a smooth touch.

This coffee usually consists of:

  • Vanilla-infused coffee beans
  • French vanilla syrup
  • A splash of French vanilla creamer or a regular coffee creamer

The result is a deep bean sweetness that pairs well with a light to medium roast. French vanilla blends effortlessly with other flavors, especially hazelnut or caramel.

NOTE
If you order French Vanilla coffee in a coffee shop, they’re likely to give you coffee with two syrups: hazelnut and vanilla. Those syrups combined, make that buttery flavor we all know and love from French Vanilla ice cream!

11. Ristretto

ristretto

A ristretto can be considered the younger brother of espresso. What do I mean by that? Well, espresso is made the same way as a ristretto.

The difference is that a ristretto takes half the time of an espresso. Due to the short extraction time, it contains less caffeine than an espresso drink. It’s also much smoother to drink.

It’s an intense, sweet coffee that highlights the fruity tones of the coffee bean. You’ll feel a late bitterness and a concentrated crema that’s not acidic.

The drink uses a fine grind of coffee and less water. Perhaps the concentrated flavor of this coffee can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers, but it’s fast to make and drink.

12. Espresso

Espresso is the base for most coffee-based drinks. At first glance, an espresso may seem small due to its size. But its flavor is much more intense than it appears.

In a few words, this drink is a type of intense black coffee obtained through high-pressure hot water that passes through the ground coffee beans.

Non-coffee drinkers often confuse it with standard coffee. But, the reality is that they’re very different in terms of flavor and preparation.

Espresso tends to be quite bitter, making it a turn-off for those who don’t drink coffee regularly.

PRO TIP
A good way to get around the bitterness of espresso is to order a Cubano espresso. A Cubano is an espresso mixed with dark brown sugar, making a syrupy sweet drink that’s easy on the palate.

13. Dalgona Coffee

dalgona coffee

Dalgona Coffee was one of the most viral recipes on Tik Tok back when the pandemic started. The name is inspired by a very popular candy from an Asian country.

Dalgona Coffee is a Korean drink and is one of the few that doesn’t have espresso as a base ingredient.

In fact, because it doesn’t contain espresso, it’s super easy to brew.

All you need to make it is:

The result is a dense and smooth cream that melts in the mouth. It’s quite sweet, making it a great starting point for those who aren’t used to drinking black brews.

14. Pumpkin Spice Latte

It can be confusing for those who don’t drink coffee regularly, but this drink doesn’t have to be made with real pumpkins.

Instead, pumpkin spice combines typical fall spices like:

  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • ginger
  • cloves

Thanks to its sweetness and variety of flavors, pumpkin spice overshadows the bitterness of the coffee.

In many coffee shops, a pumpkin spice latte comes topped with whipped cream for a sweeter, more complex flavor.

So, if you are looking for a coffee drink that doesn’t smell and doesn’t look like coffee, this drink is an option for you.

Besides, what better way to get into the fall spirit than with this seasonal brew?

15. Hazelnut Coffee

hazelnut coffee

Hazelnut and coffee are a perfect combination. When the two come together, they dominate the bitterness of the coffee and enhance the sweetness of the beans.

You can add hazelnut syrup to just about any type of coffee you like. Many individuals enjoy adding it to lattes and cappuccinos since it pairs well with milk.

PRO TIP
Order a hazelnut coffee with oat milk. The nuttiness of the oat milk perfectly complements the hazelnut flavoring, making for an extra silky brew!

16. Frappuccino

A Frappuccino is an ideal option for non-coffee drinkers. This Starbucks drink is an iced blended coffee made with:

Your barista will top it with whipped cream and a garnish, such as syrup, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder.

Either way, you’re getting the same basic blended coffee drink. Since frappuccinos are sweet and are reminiscent of milkshakes, they’re great picks for those who aren’t fans of coffee’s dark, bitter flavors.

NOTE
Frappuccino is a registered trademark of Starbucks. In different coffee shops, it’s known as frappe.

17. Cold Brew

cold brew

Before we start talking about cold brew, I’ve got to clarify that a cold brew isn’t an iced coffee.

Instead, cold brew is prepared differently than regular coffee. Coarsely ground coffee beans are soaked in water for several hours (preferably overnight).

This coffee is ideal for drinking alone, with milk, or with sugar. It has a strong and concentrated flavor but is slightly sweeter and less acidic. The low acidity is what makes it a good choice for those who are just getting into coffee.

A cold brew manages to extract flavors from the coffee beans that traditional preparation doesn’t. With this preparation, you’ll never get bitter or burnt coffee.

PRO TIP
One of the best things about this brew is that you can really customize it. I love adding heavy whipping cream and a dash of vanilla syrup—yum!

18. Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew is a drink that became popular a few years ago. Basically, this is a cold brewed coffee that’s infused with nitrogen bubbles.

If you’ve already had a cold brew, you know that these drinks are pretty strong. However, don’t let that scare you off!

Thanks to the nitrogen bubbles in the brew, the drink has a very velvety texture. As a result, it’s become popular in specialty coffee shops.

The beverage is stored in containers or kegs. From there, nitrogen (a colorless, odorless gas) is injected into it through a pressurized valve, much like taps on beer kegs.

That results in a drink with a good load of coffee, foamy and sweet at the same time.

IN A NUTSHELL
A nitro cold brew is a smooth, low-acid drink with a silky mouthfeel. These attributes make it an ideal choice for coffee lovers, non-coffee drinkers, and beginners.

19. Espresso Con Panna

espresso con panna

Believe it or not, Espresso Con Panna is one of my all-time favorite drinks. It’s also a drink I discovered back in the days when I hated black coffee.

An Espresso Con Panna is simply a shot of espresso topped with whipped cream. It can be sprinkled with coffee or chocolate powder and served with a wafer, or it can be served alone. 

The word ‘Panna’ is Italian for whipped cream, which is how the drink got its name. It quite literally translates to espresso with whipped cream.

NOTE
This drink is small. Since it’s just a shot of espresso, it’s only about 1 ounce of fluid.

Conclusion

Even if you’re not a fan of bitter espresso, there’s some great coffee for non-coffee drinkers out there.

Try experimenting with a few different drinks to see which one you like. Who knows? Maybe it’ll turn out that you are a fan of coffee after all!

Not sure how to start drinking coffee in the first place? Check out this guide on how to begin your coffee journey.

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Photo of author
Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.