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Brewing a Bold Cup: A Complete Guide to Making Strong Coffee

Brewing a Bold Cup: A Complete Guide to Making Strong Coffee

If you want to make your coffee strong, the ratio of water and coffee grounds during the brewing process needs to be tweaked. More coffee grounds and less water will ensure a strong cup of coffee.

As the world is getting hooked on coffee more and more and coffee chains like Starbucks are making major changes in the coffee industry, there are a lot of things that can be done with a cup of coffee. One such thing is making strong coffee. But how to do it if you enjoy strong coffee?

In this article, we’ll discuss everything about how to make a strong cup of coffee.

What Makes Coffee Strong Or Weak?

a shot of esprresso

Coffee can be made strong or weak during the brewing process. The total dissolved solids (TDS) of your coffee are what determine whether the coffee is strong or weak. The more the TDS, the stronger the coffee and the lesser TDS, the weaker the coffee is.

As coffee is consumed around the world, there are so many varieties of coffees that it’s really difficult to count all of them on your fingers. Each type of coffee is catering to a certain type of taste palate.

From very strong espresso to a chocolatey bold mocha, you can get almost everything with coffee. Plus, coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer so many options to add and subtract in coffee. But what about making it either strong or weak?

Of course, you can make your coffee either strong or weak. You see, coffee can be made strong or weak during the brewing process.

When we brew coffee grounds in water, the number of coffee compounds that we call TDS which is the total dissolved solids determines the strength of the coffee. The more TDS is dissolved in water the stronger it is. The less is dissolved, the weaker the coffee is.

This can be determined by changing the brewing ratio of water with coffee grounds. For a moderate strength of coffee, the brewing ratio is 1:15. This means one-part coffee and fifteen parts water. In the book by Jessica Easto, the TDS percentage ranges from 1.15% which is referred to as a weak cup of coffee to 1.35% which is referred to as the strongest cup of coffee.

So, in conclusion, coffee can be strong and weak by the amount of TDS dissolved while brewing coffee. You can learn more about how important water to coffee ratios are in my other article here if you’re interested.

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Can A Coffee Be Too Strong?

Coffee can be too strong if your taste preference has changed. Other than that, you just need to be mindful of the caffeine from the coffee because very strong coffee means hiking up your caffeine intake.

The best thing about coffee is that it can be brewed however you like. A very strong cup to a very moderate strength cup of coffee, whatever you like. So, if you like your coffee stronger than normal people there’s nothing wrong with that.

You see, a stronger coffee means that there are more coffee compounds dissolved in the water during the brewing process. And coffee is among the healthiest beverage among other caffeinated drinks like energy drinks, sodas, etc. It’s jampacked with antioxidants.

And the most significant reason that people drink coffee is caffeine. Caffeine is the most active compound found in coffee. It gives electrifying energy that helps us get through the day. The MayoClinic and FDA both suggests that your daily caffeine intake should exceed 400mg.

A typical strong 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 100 to 120 mg of caffeine. So, just be mindful of that and do not exceed the caffeine limit otherwise you’ll face caffeine overdose.

With that you can experience effects like;

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritation
  • Insomnia
  • Depletion of Calcium
  • Depletion of Iron
  • Heart Related Issues

So, in conclusion, enjoy coffee however you like and just be mindful that your too strong coffee is not hiking up the daily caffeine intake.

a cup of coffee on a yellow saucer
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How Can I Make My Coffee Stronger But Not Bitter?

A strong cup of coffee refers to the strength and is related to the water and coffee grounds ratios. Whereas the bitter taste comes from the over-extraction of coffee.

You might assume that if your coffee is strong that means it must be bitter too. But that’s really not the case. Coffee can be strong yet not so bitter at the same time. How’s that possible?

That’s due to the fact that taste and strength are not in correlation. You see, that taste comes the extraction. Extractions are a measure of how much coffee mass comes out of the beans during brewing. So, if the coffee is tasting bitter it means it has been over-extracted.

Over extraction usually happens when the brewing time exceeds. A typical cup brews for about 4 minutes no matter what method of brewing you have chosen to make your cuppa.

If the time limit exceeds that your coffee will start tasting bitter. This means that the water has absorbed the bitter compounds of coffee. Also, if the coffee tastes too acidic and sour this means it’s under-extracted.

Now, if we talk about strong coffee, the strength comes from the amount of coffee used that will affect the TDS absorbed in the water. The total dissolved solids absorbed during the brewing process determine the strength. The more TDS the stronger the coffee. It has nothing to do with taste.

Below I’ve prepared a table for you so that you know the brew ratios with the amount of water for every two tablespoons of coffee.

StrengthBrewing RatioAmount Of Water (cups)Amount Of Water (ounce)
Weak1:122/3 cups5 oz
Moderate1:143/4 cups6 oz
Strong1:181 cup8 oz

Have a look at this video I found explaining why coffee tastes bitter.

Does Fine Ground Make Coffee Stronger?

The finer grind of coffee makes a stronger cup of coffee in less time. Water is able to run faster through a finer grind. The grind itself can produce a strong taste, but this is more affected by the extraction time rather than the grind itself.

Coffee that you get in the markets goes through a whole process before becoming the coffee that you know. The coffee plant grows and then coffee cherries bear the raw coffee beans which are green in color.

Then these beans are roasted as per the required level of roast and then packaged. Now comes the grinding part. At this level, you can either grind the coffee to very coarse, coarse, medium coarse, or fine.

Finer grounds are usually used to make espresso. And espresso as we all know is a very strong form of coffee. The thing is, that the finer ground allows the water to run through it faster while extracting more coffee compounds.

No matter what brewing method you’re using to brew your chocker, finer grounds yields stronger coffee in much less time. You see, the extraction process takes much easier with a finer grind. But be careful to not overdo the extraction otherwise it can start tasting bitter.

a french press with brewed coffee

How To Make Strong Coffee Using Instant Coffee?

For a moderate cup of instant coffee for an 8 oz serving one teaspoon is used. But if you want to make a powerful and stronger cup of coffee you can even use 2 to 4 teaspoons.

As we live in a very fast-paced world, we don’t necessarily have time for brewing coffee. I mean, of course, if you love to take out the time for brewing fresh coffee at home it’s all good. But if you rely on instant coffee for your daily caffeine fix, then you can surely turn it into a stronger cup if that’s what you are willing.

Usually, for one 8 oz serving of coffee which is one cup, 1 teaspoon is used for a moderate brew. But if you’re looking to enhance the strength and make it into a power-packed cup of coffee, you can increase the amount of instant coffee powder. Start by doubling it and see if that’s your cup of tea – literally.

If it’s still not strong enough, you can add 3 to 4 teaspoons of coffee. But make sure, you don’t go ham on it on the first try. Increase little by little. But if you think it’s gone a little overboard and become a bit bitter, you can add milk and sugar to balance out the flavors. So, no worries about that.

My Two Cents

Whenever coffee is discussed the most overused word that you’ll hear to describe coffee is strong. Many people enjoy strong freshly brewed coffee while others enjoy a moderate to light brew. If you’re one of those people who like a strong cup of coffee you can easily do that.

No matter what brew method you prefer, the ratios of water and coffee grounds can be changed to ensure a stronger brew. The more coffee grounds the less is the water for a strong brew. The taste which is associated with stronger coffee is bitter.

But the taste is related to the extraction process. Plus, you can also make a strong cup of coffee using instant coffee powder. So give it a shot and see what brew ratios works for you. Enjoy!

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