I've been drinking coffee with copious amounts of sugar in it for YEARS. I've recently been trying to limit sugars in my diet and I've slowly gotten used to the taste of coffee with no sugar, just milk. I always thought coffee was just shitty and bitter without sugar, now I guess my palette is adjusting. How long have I been fucking up my coffee?
Glad you aren't reliant on it anymore.
I think ones tastes mature as they get older, and just find bitter, sweet, sour, more about moods and preferences. Nothing wrong with an ultra-sweet strong coffee where there is balance like in cuban or turkish style espresso. Thai or vietnames iced or hot coffee with sweetened condensed milk is ridiculously sweet but delicious. To need an ultra-sweet basic brewed though it definitely something to grow out of...milk adds sweetness by the way. You can grow to like it with or without milk too.
I need milk in morning coffee if it's right after rising, and that's cultural in a lot of regions, that milk is for mornings or sick or old people. It's just too acidic on an empty stomach for me that takes a few anti-inflammatories a week. I might even get heartburn from it without. I sometimes go 2-3 days on tea only, and then enjoy a coffee for a reason, to perk up for a night out or a few hours of mental work.
Also, you might find darker roasts more enjoyable without sugar, conversely to logic. Try lots of coffees.
I usually add about half a teaspoon of sugar just to improve the taste, but due to the unpredictability of the fucking Aeropress, sometimes my coffee comes out really bitter and I need something to mask the taste as well as milk.
When it comes out normal without any bitter flavours then it tastes good with just milk. Coffee from my old drip machine always came out bitter tasting and I used to think thats just how coffee tasted, but if you use the right temperature (lower than boiling) you can prevent bitter flavours. I'm not autistic enough to buy a thermometer though.
I have never been a huge fan of sugar in coffee. But I like bitter flavors and I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'll even drink shitty battery-acid coffee black.
But your problem is simply that you need better coffee. Stop buying Maxwell House shit, and find a local coffee house. There's a place in pretty much every city where they roast their own beans somewhere and sell them in-store. Buy those. Even the bolder flavors will be incredibly delicate and complex, even if you're just running them through a $10 drip coffeemaker.
I nearly always drink my coffee black. I never add sugar, and only add milk or cream when I'm feeling like a treat (and usually those are espresso drinks).
Just buy better coffee.
That said, I'm a bitch for a really good cup of masala tea, which has dairy, spices, AND sugar. But it damn well better be the strongest tea available or it's a wash. I can see coffee being the same way but I've never encountered a coffee that I thought needed a sweetener.