How to Make a Really Strong Cup of Coffee – Tips for Each Brewing Method

Making a good cup of coffee can be quite a hit and miss sometimes. Nothing ruins my day than a weak cup of coffee. Even though I consider myself to be an experienced coffee enthusiast, I make my coffee using several brewing methods and enjoy all types of brews. Yet, I still have my moments where I just do things wrong and produce a weak cup of coffee.

Making a cup of coffee just how you like it is a leaning process. So in this post, we’re going to discuss strong coffee, what makes a strong cup of coffee and how you can make your cup of coffee at home stronger, no matter what type of brewing method you use or which tools you have.

What Makes a Cup of Coffee Strong or Weak?

Before we get into brewing methods and how to use them, let’s talk about what contributes to making a coffee brew strong, and there are several points to them:

Roast: picking a coffee that is a dark roast is your first step towards a stronger cup of coffee. Although, a dark roast can also make a bitter cup of coffee, which some people might not enjoy. If you’re not fan of coffee being bitter, you can still make a strong cup using a medium roast. But a light roast definitely will not work.

Brew time: Letting your coffee steep for a longer time will always make you a stronger cup of coffee, whether you’re using a dark roast or a medium roast.

Water to Coffee Ratio: this is a very important factor to pay attention to. If your water ratio is too high, you’ll get light tasting coffee. Your water to coffee ratio will depend on how many cups you want to make and your brewing method. Keep reading this post for more details on the best ratio for your brewing method.

Brew method: the type of coffee you’re using could be right, your water to coffee ground ratio could be right, too. So why are you still producing a weak cup of coffee? It could be your brewing method. Some coffee tools are designed to make weaker cups than others. For example: using pour-over coffee methods (Chemex or V60) will produce lighter cups of coffee than a method like French Press. It doesn’t mean they make bad coffee, but they’re designed to filter out most of the coffee oils, so you can get a clearer cup of coffee. French press on the other hand, only uses mesh filter to keep the grounds down but most of the coffee oils remain in the brew, which is why it tastes stronger.

Grind size: Whether you grind your own coffee or buy it ground, you might be using the wrong grind size for your brewing method. Grind size effects the way the ground interacts with the hot water and how it releases flavor. Using the wrong grind size could make your coffee taste bitter, light or even sour. That’s something we will talk about in details, too.

What Is the Best Brewing Method To Make a Strong Cup of Coffee?

To get a strong brew out of your coffee maker, you’ll want two things:

  • A brewing method that takes longer to brew (unless it’s an espresso machine)
  • It doesn’t filter out the coffee too much. You’ll want something that keeps coffee oils in your brew.

Drip Coffee Maker: a classic appliance and it’s available widely. Chances are you already have one. Most coffee makers take about 6 minutes to brew 12-cups capacity, which is enough brew time to produce a strong cup of coffee. And even though drip coffee makers use filters, the longer brew method compensates for it and they still give you a strong brew if you use the right roast and right grind size (medium size). Some coffee makers have an option for ‘strong brew’ which steeps the coffee even longer. Pictured above is the Ninja Specialty coffee maker.

French Press: This is a manual method, so you can time your brew time to produce a good and strong coffee. There are two important factors to doing French Press right:

  • You have to use coarse coffee grind. If you use fine grind, you won’t be able to plunge the filter down, it will also produce muddy coffee. You can use medium ground, too. But if you do so, you should expect some sediments or coffee grounds floating in your brew, as medium grinds are somewhat easier to escape while you press down the filter.
  • Water to Coffee Ratio: I cannot stress how important this one is. So if you have a scale at hand, have it ready. General rule is: you’ll want to use about 16 grams of water for every 1 gram of coffee. If you’re using:

3-Cup Press: 17 grams of coffee / 272 grams of water

4-Cup Press: 23 to 27 grams of coffee / 432 grams of water

Now you’ve got the right water to coffee ratio, it’s time to let your coffee steep. Start with 4-minute brew time and if you’re not happy with the result, increase to 6 minutes. When pressing the filter down, do it slowly to get as much flavor out as possible. Pictured above is the Bodum French press.

Moka Pot: This traditional Italian coffee brewing method is known for its strong coffee. It produces something similar to, but not quite a shot of Espresso. Moka pot coffee is enjoyed in short cups, and not your average large mug. They’re that strong.

A moka pot is traditionally used over a stovetop, but there are electric versions available. It uses fine coffee ground, just like Espresso. There’s no paper filter in a moka pot, but a filter chamber that keeps the ground away from the brew. It produces a strong and oily cup of coffee full of flavor.

Does a Finer Grind Produce a Stronger Cup of Coffee? Which Grind Size Is Best for Strong Coffee?

The answer to this question is yes, and no. Coffee grind size will always relate to the brewing method you are using. So you cannot simply change the grind size and expect your coffee to taste stronger.

What you can do is, tune the grind size within a certain range, if that makes sense.

For example: Medium size grind, which works best for pour-over methods and drip coffee makers, has a range within that medium grind setting. So if you want your coffee slightly stronger, you’ll do Medium-fine, if you want it less bitter, you’ll use Medium-coarse. They’re all still medium, but either on the finer or coarse side of medium. This is why it’s important to invest in a decent conical burr grinder with smaller increments for each grind setting.

You cannot use fine grind, same as you would use for Espresso, in a drip coffee maker.

So it is important to know the best grind size for your brewing method, then fine-tune it to your taste.

To answer the question, does finer grind produce a strong cup of coffee? Yes, it does. Fine grinds mean the water does not go through the coffee ground as quick as it would with coarse ground.

How To Make Strong Coffee without a Coffee Maker?

There are two ways to make strong coffee without any machines or special tools:

First one would be to opt for instant coffee. Just add boiling hot water to instant coffee and you’re all set! Make sure to pick up a strong tasting coffee, it should be labelled with something like ‘Dark roast’ ‘Strong’ or Espresso. Instant espresso should be the strongest of the bunch.

Second method requires some tools, but these should be available in any kitchen. You’ll want a pot of some sort and a strainer. All you have to do is add a large tablespoon of coffee ground per cup, add hot water to it and let it slightly boil on low heat. You’ll want to let it steep for about 4 minutes, then use the strainer to strain the brew and keep the grounds out of your coffee. This isn’t an ideal method of making coffee, but it’s certainly one way to do it, if you have to.

How To Make Strong Coffee Using a French Press Pot

Like I already mentioned, the secret to a great French Press brew is the correct grind size and water to ground ratio. Once you get your measurements ready, it’s easy:

Add the coffee ground, add the hot water, let it steep between 4 to 6 minutes. Then slowly plunge down the filter.

It’s advised that you let your water cool for a minute after boiling before adding it to the coffee ground for the optimal water temperature.

How To Make Strong Coffee Using Instant Coffee (Nescafe)

Like every other method, making strong coffee relies heavily on the level of roast you pick. So, even when using Instant coffee, go for a dark roast or Espresso. Making a cup of instant coffee is as easy as it get, mix the coffee with hot water and stir. Start with the suggested serving size on the coffee container. If it doesn’t taste strong enough for you, try adding a half serving or a full serving of the coffee ground without increasing the amount of water.

How To Make Strong Coffee in a Keurig Machine

Keurig coffee makers, or single-serve coffee makers in general, are pretty automated. They’re designed to be a push button experience without much customization options. If your Keurig coffee tastes watered down or weak, there are a few things to try:

Pick Dark roast, French roast or Espresso roast K-Cup pods. These are the strongest tasting coffee roasts for sure. Flavored pods or medium roast pods are usually weaker in taste. So if you haven’t tried any of those strong roasts, time to give them a try.

If your Keurig has a ‘Strong Brew’ option, use it. This option is available on some models, and what it does is steep the coffee longer so it comes out stronger.

If you’re using refillable K-Cup pod, then you’ll want to use the correct grind size when filling up your pod. Medium grind works best for Keurig machines.

Does Stronger Tasting Coffee Means It Will Keep You Up Longer?

Some people believe that a stronger cup of coffee equals more caffeine. That, unfortunately, is not true. A strong tasting cup of coffee is just that, it tastes strong, but the caffeine level is pretty much the same. That is unless you used more coffee grounds to make your coffee stronger, then naturally, your cup will contain more caffeine.

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