Bold vs Regular Coffee Setting: What Do They Mean?

If you use a drip coffee maker, or just recently purchased one, you might have noticed a ‘Bold’ button or option. Whether you have a Mr. Coffee, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart … most of these brands have the ‘Bold’ button, or sometimes it’s called ‘Strong’ button (depending on the model).

I’m going to help you understand what this button does, how it’s different than a regular coffee brew, and how they all differ to ‘Dark Roast’ coffee.

What Does the Bold Setting Do on a Coffee Maker?

Bold Setting on a Coffee Maker

Essentially, the ‘Bold’ button on a coffee maker will give you a stronger cup of coffee. This is because it increases the amount of time it takes to brew your coffee. It lets your coffee steep longer by increasing the water contact time with the coffee grounds. This will create a richer cup of coffee with more flavor and intensity, even if you are using a medium roast coffee.

Bold vs. Regular Coffee – What’s The Difference?

The main difference between *Bold (or Strong) and regular brew coffee is the time it takes to brew. Regular (or standard) brewing will take about 3-4 minutes, while a bold brew may take 6-8 minutes. This extra time allows more of the flavorful oils and compounds found in the coffee grounds to be extracted during the brewing process, resulting in a stronger cup of coffee.

*Bold and Strong are usually used to refer to the same thing

Is Bold Coffee Stronger than Regular Coffee?

Yes, but only in taste. Bold coffee will taste stronger, but won’t have more caffeine content than a regular brew.

What Does Bold Coffee Taste Like?

Bold coffee has a fuller body and deeper flavor than regular brew. Because the water is in contact with the grounds for a longer period of time, it extracts more flavor from the beans. The result is stronger and more intense flavors that may include notes of chocolate, nuts, earthiness.

Bold vs. Dark Coffee – What’s The Difference?

Dark Roast vs Bold Coffee

A ‘Bold’ brew will produce a richer cup of coffee by steeping the coffee longer, but it won’t usually be as strong or intense as a dark roast. Dark roast beans has been roasted longer, which not only gives it its signature flavor and aroma, but also reduces the level of acidity found in the beans. This makes for a stronger cup of coffee that can be brewed either in a manual drip coffee maker or an automatic.

What Does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?

Dark roast coffee has a rich, bold flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel. The beans are roasted longer and at higher temperatures than medium or light roasts. This gives the beans a smoky, slightly bitter taste – ideal for those who prefer their coffee strong and intense. Dark roast coffees are better suited to espresso-style drinks, as their bold flavor can stand up to the addition of milk and sugar.

Ultimately, the ‘Bold’ button on a drip coffee maker should not be confused with dark roast coffee. The two are very different and produce two distinct types of coffee that have different flavors and aromas. The Bold setting merely allows you to brew your regular (or medium roast) coffee for a longer period of time, resulting in a more intense cup of joe. On the other hand, a Dark roast coffee will taste strong and intense, even if you don’t use the ‘Bold’ setting.

Choosing Between Bold or Dark Roasted Coffee

While both of these brews are considered strong, they’re not the same taste wise.

Dark roast beans have a distinct ‘smokey’ and almost burnt flavor due to its roasting. When using dark beans, you won’t need them to brew longer to get a strong cup. So if your machine does not have a bold setting, using dark roasted coffee is a good alternative. But also it’s worth mentioning that many people find dark roast coffee (sometimes also called French Roast) is too strong and burnt tasting, and simply not enjoyable. So if it’s going to be your first time trying a dark roast, I’d advise you go for a sample size first to see if you like it.

On the other hand, if you find that you enjoy your medium roast coffee but want it just a bit stronger, using the ‘bold’ setting is your best bet. Your coffee won’t have that punchy smokey flavor that comes with dark roast beans, but will still be strong enough.

Does Bold Coffee Have More Caffeine?

No, the ‘Bold’ setting does not increase the caffeine content of your coffee. All coffee beans contain different levels of caffeine, regardless if you are brewing with a regular or bold setting. What the Bold button does is just increases the extraction time, which will result in a stronger cup of joe – but it won’t have more caffeine.

In conclusion, the ‘Bold’ setting on a coffee maker is great for those who want to enjoy a stronger cup of coffee without having to buy dark roast beans. With this setting, you can get a richer cup of your favorite medium roast and still get that bold flavor that people love.