How to Make Strong Coffee
What is Strong Coffee?
To start off with, I just want to establish the term ‘strong’ when it comes to coffee.
It is most commonly seen in commodity-grade coffee (that you purchase in a supermarket) described on a scale from 1-5.
Although one would assume that the stronger the coffee the higher the caffeine content (similar to that in alcohol when the strength is described as alcoholic volume), however in coffee this is most commonly not true
The strength of the coffee is mostly related to the taste and strong coffee refers to a typically dark roasted bitter flavored brew.
Many coffee drinkers over the years of consuming coffee however have become accustomed to the bitter and concentrated taste and now enjoy the ‘strong’ tasting coffee first thing in the morning.
With that all said, there are other ways that a coffee can be described as strong and that is how it is brewed.
No matter what coffee you purchase on the ‘strength scale’ when you get around to brewing your coffee you have an input in how ‘strong’ you want to make the coffee. So let us walk you through how to make strong coffee.
How to Make Strong Coffee
When brewing coffee in any method there are always a number of factors at play. Here are a few:
- Grind Size
- Coffee: Water Ratio
- Brew Time
- Water Temperature
When you research your favorite brew recipe, you will find various measurements for each of the above to create a perfectly balanced cup of coffee.
However, if you are trying to brew a coffee that is particularly strong then by tweaking some of the variables in coffee brewing you can achieve a coffee that not only tastes stronger than usual but has a higher caffeine content.
If you are grinding your own coffee beans, then you will have a grind size that you have set for your particular brew method. When grinding espresso beans you’ll opt for a fine grind through to a French press which uses a coarse grind setting. Every grinder has different ways to measure the coffee grounds, however, if you slightly adjust your usual grind size to finer, this will make a stronger-tasting coffee. This is because the surface area of the coffee is now larger and is in contact with more water, therefore extracting more coffee to create a stronger-than-usual brew. Please note that it is best to only slightly adjust the grind setting to a finer one.
Coffee to Water Ratio
If you want a particularly concentrated coffee then by slightly adjusting the ratio of coffee to water so that there is more coffee than usual you will be able to brew a strong-tasting coffee that has a full-bodied mouthfeel.
This is only really apparent in a few methods as other variables may dictate the brew time for instance, grind size will lead to longer or shorter brew times in pour-over methods. However, in certain brew methods such as french press, extending the brew time will essentially make a stronger coffee. This is because the water has more time to extract the soluble compounds in the coffee grounds, therefore brewing a strong-tasting, high-in-caffeine coffee.
In most methods, the recommended coffee brew temperature of the water is around 205°F (96°C). This will extract the perfect amount of coffee compounds from the grounds. If you were to make the brewing water slightly hotter in your brew method, the water will extract coffee at a higher rate and therefore, create a strong-tasting coffee in the cup.
Similar to brew time this can only be used in certain brew methods. When you are required to stir the brew as in an Aeropress then the more vigorously you agitate the brewing coffee grounds the higher the rate of extraction and the stronger the coffee will be.
Which type of coffee is strongest?
The strength of coffee depends on various factors, including the type of coffee bean, the roast level, the brewing method, and the serving size.
Generally, dark roast coffee beans have a stronger, bolder flavour compared to light or medium roast beans.
Similarly, espresso, which is brewed under high pressure and served in small quantities, has a higher concentration of caffeine per ounce compared to drip coffee.
However, it's important to note that everyone's perception of strength may differ based on their individual taste preferences and caffeine tolerance.
Some people may find a light roast coffee brewed using a pour-over method to be strong, while others may prefer a double shot of espresso.
Why is my coffee not strong?
There could be several reasons why your coffee is not as strong as you would like. One possible reason is that you may be using the wrong coffee-to-water ratio. Try increasing the amount of coffee.
Another possible reason could be the quality of the coffee beans you are using, with old or poor-quality coffee, you may end up with a weak-tasting brew. There are also some coffee beans that are naturally stronger than others, this is usually down to the type and varietal of coffee.
Additionally, the grind size of the coffee beans and the brewing temperature can also affect the strength of the coffee. Lastly, over-diluting the coffee with too much water or under-extracting the coffee by not brewing it long enough could also result in a weak coffee taste.
Try experimenting with these factors to see if you can find the reason why your coffee is not as strong as you'd like it to be.
This is a guest post written by Tom Saxon from BatchCoffee.co.uk.
Tom Saxon is the co-founder of Batch Coffee. He has been working in the specialty coffee industry for over 10 years throughout the world and in many parts of the supply chain.
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