Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is an aqueous-phase route to produce carbon materials using biomass or biomass-derived precursors. In this paper, a comprehensive physicochemical and textural characterization of HTC materials obtained using four different precursors, namely, xylose, glucose, sucrose, and starch, is presented. The development of porosity in the prepared HTC materials as a function of thermal treatment (under an inert atmosphere) was specifically monitored using N2 and CO2 sorption analysis. The events taking place during the thermal treatment process were studied by a combined thermogravimetric/infrared (TGA-IR) measurement. Interestingly, these inexpensive biomass-derived carbon materials show good selectivity for CO2 adsorption over N2 (CO2/N2 selectivity of 20 at 273 K, 1 bar and 1:1 gas composition). Furthermore, the elemental composition, morphologies, degree of structural order, surface charge, and functional groups are also investigated.