How to make strong coffee

So, you are a strong coffee lover? But don’t have very good barista skills and always end up with a weak or watery cup of coffee. I got you covered! In this article, I will share 8 tips to make your coffee stronger and bold.

If you are not an expert at brewing and try to make a strong coffee you often end up with a very bitter cup of coffee. That was also the case with me before but then I started learning and got to know that strongness and boldness have nothing to do with bitterness.

Although we all know a strong cup of coffee will be a little more bitter than a weak one. But bitterness is mainly due to badly roasted coffee beans or it may arise because of over-extraction. Bitterness is certainly not an ideal quality of coffee and is undesirable. And also, strong coffee doesn’t have to be rich in caffeine either.

So, what are the qualities of a strong cup of coffee? The number one quality of strong coffee is that it is thick and dense. It has a full body and it does not have watery flavors.

Now you know what a strong brew is? Let’s go through eight tips that will help you make a strong cup of coffee at home. 

8 Tips to brew stronger coffee

Strong coffee
Tips to brew strong coffee

1- Choose the right roast

The type of roast alters the taste of coffee considerably. Lightly roasted beans have fruity and acidic flavors. As you move from lighter roasts to darker roasts the acidity drops and is overcome by strong and bitter flavors. Ideally, you have to try all types of roasts one by one and select the one which suits you the best. I must say to make a strong cup of coffee dark roast is best. 

Dark roasted beans are almost black in color with a very oily surface.

But you may not like a dark roast and there are two reasons for it. One is the fact that dark roast is bitter than lighter roasts. If you hate bitterness then I suggest you try medium dark roast instead. 

Secondly, preparing a perfect dark roast bean is not everyone’s cup of tea. The roaster must be an expert at it and I must say finding perfect dark roasted beans is very difficult. 

2- Select the right type of coffee beans

There are primarily two types of coffee beans Arabica and Robusta. Although Robusta coffee contains more caffeine than Arabica, it is not as flavorful. 

Arabica beans are richer in flavors and have a very satisfying aroma. I suggest you try 100% Arabica beans if you want a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. 

3- Use fresh coffee beans

This is the most integral part of making a stronger cup of coffee. Old stale coffee beans are not capable of making a strong brew. After roasting the coffee beans start oxidizing even if stored properly.

So, it’s best to use coffee beans as early as possible ideally within 14 days of roasting if not possible don’t go longer than 2 months at most.

4- Grind your beans

Oxidation of the coffee beans starts right after roasting and it became very fast after the grinding because of the enlarged surface area.

So, if you want a fresh and strong cup of coffee never use pre-ground coffee (No matter how many promises the brand makes on the pack about freshness, it will not be fresh). 

There is a simple rule of thumb for coffee aficionados, grind within fifteen days of roasting and brew within fifteen minutes of grinding.

5- Use the right grind size

You can not use the same fine coffee grounds for brewing every type of coffee. For example, fine grounds are perfect for making a shot of Espresso but they can’t be used for brewing French press or Drip coffee. 

The grounds for French Press should be coarse, while drip coffee is best with medium grounds.  

6- Use a high coffee-to-water ratio

As simple as it is if you want a strong cup of coffee you have to use more coffee beans. Ideally, you have to experiment with different ratios to find the best for yourself.

What is the ratio for strong coffee?

For drip coffee, using a 1:15 ratio of coffee grounds is recommended for a strong cup i-e for 225 grams of water use 15 grams of coffee grounds. Or you can simply use 2.5 tablespoons of coffee grounds for a regular 6-ounce cup of coffee.

7- Raise the temperature of the brewing water

According to National coffee Association, the best brewing temperature for coffee is between 195 to 205 degrees. 

If you are using water at a lesser temperature than this you will get a weaker cup of coffee because water can’t extract all the flavors at a lower temperature.

And it’s also not a good practice to use water at a higher temperature than 205 degrees because your coffee will become over-extracted with a lot of bitter flavors if you do this.

8- Try different brewing methods

If you have tried all the tips above and still your taste buds are not satisfied then probably it’s time to switch from a drip coffee machine to some other brewing method.

Espresso is the strongest coffee drink out there but its serving size is too small. If you want a full cup then I suggest you to try French Press.

And if you want something different and more strong then you can also try Turkish coffee.

What makes coffee strong or weak?

So far you have learned how to make a strong cup of coffee. Now let’s go through technically what a strong or weak coffee is and how you can use that information to make your brew stronger.

There are 3 technical aspects of a strong or weak cup of coffee, the temperature of the brewing water, extraction percentage, and the steeping time.

i- The higher the temperature of water the faster the extraction the lower the temperature the slower the extraction. Ideally, you should use water between 195 to 205 degrees for a perfect cup of coffee. 

ii- The higher the time of contact between water and coffee grounds the more flavors are extracted. But more extraction is not always desirable because it can make your drink bitter.

iii- All the coffee grounds are not soluble in water that’s why you always get waste grounds after brewing a cup of coffee. At most 30% of coffee grounds are soluble in water. Extraction begins with sour compounds and ends with bitter compounds. We aim for extraction somewhere between 22 and 25 percent for a balanced cup of coffee. The taste of your drink will be sour if the percentage is less and overly bitter if it is higher.

How can I make my coffee stronger but not bitter?

The best way to make a strong cup of coffee without bitterness is to learn completely the brewing technique you are using. 

Every brewing technique has recommended type of roast. For example, a light roast is best for the cold brew, a medium roast is best for Drip coffee, pour-over methods, and Espresso, and a medium dark roast is best for French Press.

And also, there are recommended grind sizes for all the brewing techniques. For example, fine grounds are best for Espresso because of pressurized water and short steeping time. On the other hand, coarse grounds are perfect for the French press because of their longer steeping time.

So, you must learn all the variables as they have a significant effect on the taste of your brew.

FAQs

Does Strong Coffee Have More Caffeine?

Strong coffee doesn’t necessarily have a high amount of caffeine. A cup of strong coffee must be thick, flavorful, and full-bodied. For example, a shot of Espresso has less amount of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee but literally, it is a very strongest type of coffee. 

Does Coffee Grind Size Affect Strength?

Yeah, the grind size can affect the strength of your coffee. The finer the grind the faster the extraction process. But first, you must learn your brewing method as using fine grounds with every type of coffee drink is not recommended. For example, if you use fine grounds for the French press, it will make your drink too bitter and muddy.