Strong is an adjective often associated with coffee. As a coffee lover, you will love strong coffee. After all, a weak cup of coffee tastes like brown water!
So if you’re wondering how to make strong coffee, it’s important to first understand what is meant by strong coffee. In coffee, strong does not mean bitter. Strong means intense, full-bodied, and flavorful.
On the other hand, weak coffee is watery, flavorless, and it won’t have that distinct coffee taste.
Here are 6 tips to make strong coffee every single time.
How to make strong coffee: 6 tips
1. Increase the coffee to water ratio
The easiest way to make your coffee stronger is to simply increase the coffee to water ratio. A typical brew uses a ratio of 1:15. That means you use 15 parts water for every part of coffee. For example, if you have 12 grams of ground coffee, you’d use 180 grams(6 ounces) of water.
A 1:15 ratio produces a fairly balanced cup. If you like the roast that you’re using and don’t want to go to a darker roast, you can add less water(decrease the coffee to water ratio) to automatically make a stronger cup of coffee.
Instead of using a 1:15 ratio, try using a 1:12 ratio instead. In this case, you’d be using 144 grams(5 ounces) of water for 12 grams of coffee.
The lower ratio will produce a much stronger cup of coffee. The caffeine content will not be much different as you’re using the same amount of coffee, but it will definitely be a stronger cup.
Finally, if you feel the stronger flavor is a little too much, just add a little bit of hot water to dilute the coffee to your preferred taste.
2. Use a slightly finer grind
While adjusting the ratio is the easiest way to make a strong cup of coffee, another way to increase the strength is to grind your coffee beans slightly finer than you normally would.
This will make stronger coffee because there is more surface area on the coffee grounds for the water to interact with.
However, there’s only so much finer that you can go with certain brewing methods. Espresso and turkish coffee already use a very fine grind, so you’d be hard-pressed to use a finer grind in that case.
Even in french press, grinding too fine can result in your coffee becoming too silty.
If you wish to make strong coffee by adjusting the grind size, grind one click finer every time until you get the strength you are looking for.
Making drastic changes in the grind size will produce subpar coffee.
3. Change your brewing method
Not all brewing methods are created equally. Here’s a quick overview of brewing methods and their impact on taste:
Espresso: Espresso is one of the strongest coffees around. A shot of espresso is thick, full-bodied, bold, and incredibly satisfying. It works best with a dark roast, but light roasts do well, too.
Moka pot: Known as a stovetop espresso maker, the moka pot also produces a really strong and thick cup of coffee. The flavor is very similar to that of an espresso, but the quantity of coffee is greater.
French press: French press produces a very acidic and intense cup of coffee. It’s one of the most forgiving brewing methods and it’s also a gateway for people learning to brew coffee.
Drip/pour over: Pour over and drip coffee are very balanced. They’re not too bold, but not too light, either. You can easily adjust the ratio or grind size in drip and pour over to adjust the taste as you need.
4. Use darker coffee beans
Dark roast coffee tends to produce a more bold and rich flavor than lighter roast coffee. The easiest way to make stronger coffee is just to go one level up on the roast. So if you usually brew with a medium roast, use a dark roast instead. If you usually brew with a light roast, use a medium roast instead.
Changing the coffee roast works really well if you’re limited in your brewing or grinding options. This way, you can brew the exact same way as you always do, just with different ground coffee.
By the way, stick to Arabica coffee even if you need strength. Robusta has more caffeine than Arabica, but Robusta also produces a much more bitter taste.
5. Brew at the right temperature
One of the easiest ways to screw up a cup of coffee is to brew at the wrong temperature. Brewing too cool can really mess up your coffee. Similarly, brewing too hot may burn your coffee and produce a bitter taste.
The ideal brewing temperature is around 200 degrees F(95 degrees C). This is the value recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
6. Use fresh coffee beans
The last tip we have for making strong coffee is to use fresh and whole beans. Once coffee is ground, it begins to lose its flavor right away. In fact, grounds can start going stale within 30 minutes of grinding. Whole beans can stay fresh up to 2 to 3 weeks after grinding.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using Arabica or Robusta, freshness is key.
Frequently asked questions
Does adding more coffee grounds make coffee stronger?
Adding more coffee grounds is one way to make strong coffee. A drip coffee maker won’t let you adjust the quantity of water, so you can compensate by adding more coffee grounds instead. Start by adding one or two extra grams of coffee and increase to taste.
How can I make my coffee stronger but not bitter?
Bitterness in coffee is a result of over or under extraction. To make your coffee taste stronger, add some more coffee grounds or decrease the amount of water you’re adding.
What is a good strong coffee?
Dark roast coffee beans produce intense, strong cups of coffee. Peet’s Major Dickason’s Roast produces a very strong cup of coffee which you can get here.
Does brewing time affect strength?
Brew time does not really affect strength. If you brew for too long, you may end up over-extracting the coffee.
Does strong coffee have more caffeine?
Strong coffee does not necessarily have more caffeine, and coffee that has higher caffeine content is not always stronger. However, if you’re looking for a very high-caffeine coffee, consider Death Wish Coffee. Their coffees have nearly three times the amount of caffeine per cup as a normal cup of coffee.
The best strong coffee flavor is what works for your palate. Coffee beans that you feel are strong may be considered weak by others! The key is to experiment with the coffee to water ratio, the brewing method(use french press instead of a regular coffee maker), and the type of coffee beans you brew with.