Updated: September 20, 2021 by Owen Richardson
When someone asks for strong coffee, they may mean one of two things: increased flavor or higher caffeine content. Whichever bold coffee you’re interested in, I will teach you how to make strong coffee with both these components.
To brewing a strong coffee, you simply make a few key derivations to your regular brew method to boost the coffee’s bold flavor and maximize the caffeine content. The rich and smooth brew will not only tantalize your taste buds but will also produce delicious nutty, chocolatey, and warm aromas.
If your mouth has started watering just thinking about the strong cup of joe you might have in your hands in the next 30 minutes, you are in the right place. These tips and brewing techniques will have you brewing a rich cup of coffee in the comfort of your home.
Anyone can make a normal cup of coffee with some beans, a good grinder, and a top coffee maker. However, a strong brew takes a bit of extra finesse to bring out the extra coffee flavors hidden away.
Keep reading to find out how to brew strong coffee at home with these simple tips and techniques. You don’t need to take a hike through the mountains in Ethiopia to find a strong brew. You just need a bit of coffee knowledge to help you extract the bold coffee flavors.
Tips on How to Make Strong Coffee
If you are finding your home-brewed coffee too weak, you may be making a few fundamental errors during the brewing process. These mistakes could be producing a bland coffee that has you writing a bad review due to the disappointing brew sitting in front of you.
Alternatively, you may be simply yearning for a bolder cup of coffee to get you through those early mornings and late nights. If that is the case, then these tips could help you improve your cup of joe to enjoy flavorful coffee.
#1 Choose Better Beans
Okay, so maybe the new beans you just ordered aren’t the greatest and are causing a weak brew. If this is the case, then it is time to switch up your bean choice and find a better bag. If your coffee beans don’t get stronger after adding more grounds to your brew, then they may be too weak.
You might also find that your bag of beans has gone stale and lost almost all of the flavor. You can check the “best before” date or use the roast date to figure out if your beans are still fresh. Whole coffee beans will stay flavorful for up to three months but are best consumed within the first three weeks after roasting.
When the beans are fresh, they retain more of those delicious coffee flavors you are looking for. This will lead to a slightly stronger cup of coffee, as will your bean selection.
You should also consider buying whole bean coffee instead of ground for better freshness. Also, check the roast level and the flavors the beans contain. There are many different coffee flavors, and simply choosing one with bolder flavors can improve your coffee from a weak cup of water to a bold cup of liquid gold.
#2 Freshly Grind Your Coffee
While whole beans last a while, ground coffee will only stay fresh for a few weeks. (Although, the grounds start losing flavor as soon as you grind the beans.) When preparing a strong brew, you should aim to grind your coffee beans immediately before brewing.
This will preserve those coffee flavors right up until you extract them through your chosen brew method. Buying ground coffee is not advised because the flavors leach away every second it sits on the shelf.
Not only will you enjoy a stronger brew, but you will also have a fresher brew that drastically improves the flavor of your coffee. Select whole bean coffee, and be sure to grind it up at home using a burr grinder to get a consistent cup of bold coffee.
#3 Choose a Darker Roast
A darker roast may give you a stronger cup of coffee if you are looking for a bolder flavor. If you want to make an espresso-type drink, then dark roast is your best option.
However, in terms of caffeine content, a darker roast doesn’t necessarily mean there is more caffeine. If you meticulously measure caffeine content, you will find that your lighter roast contains slightly more caffeine in it.
A darker roast will offer bolder coffee flavors that some describe as burned but in a good way!
#4 Opt for Arabica or Robusta
There are two main types of coffee varieties: Arabica and Robusta. If you are looking for bolder flavors and more intensity, then Arabica coffee is the better choice.
Arabica coffee contains more complex and intense flavors, as these plants are grown in more specific conditions that coffee plants naturally thrive in. The Arabica beans are sourced from multiple countries within the coffee belt, and each origin offers unique flavors.
On the other hand, if you are aiming for more caffeine, then choose the Robusta beans. While many coffee experts may tell you to stay away from Robusta as they are the less premium bean for coffee, they will also admit that these beans contain a higher caffeine content.
Robusta plants are hardier and can grow in less prime conditions closer to sea levels. These plants offer a flatter flavor, according to some.
If you are after more caffeine and strong coffee flavors, then choosing a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans will give you a balance of bold flavor and more caffeine for your brew.
#5 Use the Right Grind Size
When brewing coffee, you will find that each brewing method requires its own grind size. While buying whole beans will ensure you are getting a fresher cup of joe, it is important that you grind the beans to the correct size for your brew method.
If you are using the incorrect grind size, you will start to notice inconsistencies in your coffee, which can lead to terrible-tasting coffee. Grind sizes range from super fine to super coarse, with many micro-sizes in-between.
If your grind size is too small, your coffee will likely taste bitter or sour because of over-extraction. If your grind size is too big, you will get a dull and watery cup of coffee because the flavors haven’t extracted enough.
Finding the right grind size for your brew method is important to getting a good-tasting cup of coffee. While the size doesn’t always have to be exactly perfect, you can try to grind your beans slightly smaller than usual to increase the strength of your coffee.
Just be careful that your brew method filters the grinds well enough when you grind them smaller. For instance, if you use grinds that are too small in your French press, you will end up with a gritty coffee. So be sure to check the filter size against how small you want to make your grind.
#6 Change the Ratio of Coffee to Water
If you want more caffeine and a stronger coffee taste, then you can simply change the ratio of coffee to water. By increasing the amount of coffee you use while keeping the same amount of water, you will end up with a stronger brew.
Generally, you should be using one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water you use. If your coffee is still too weak when you use two tablespoons, then try increasing this by another half a tablespoon to see if it reaches your desired strength.
If you keep adding more coffee and the taste is still too weak, then it is time to change your beans as they may be stale or simply too weak for your taste preference.
#7 Change Your Brewing Method
Another simple solution to increase the strength of your coffee is to change your brewing method. If your coffee isn’t making you dance around the living room after you take your first sip, you may need to switch up your brewing method.
Choosing a better brew method can increase the coffee flavors and caffeine content. If you are on the same page as me, then you should be thinking of the magical espresso or French press coffee. These two methods of brewing coffee are great for producing stronger coffee.
Both the espresso and French press techniques offer a coffee that is full of more intense coffee characteristics. They will bring out the bolder flavors of your coffee and give you a smoother and more intense shot of caffeine.
However, many people are misled into believing that shots of espresso have more caffeine than regular coffee. This is not exactly the case since espresso shots come in small amounts.
Espressos are usually enjoyed in a cup called a demitasse, which is roughly half the size of a normal coffee cup. While there is more caffeine in a shot of espresso in terms of coffee to water ratio, a normal size coffee will still contain more caffeine.
If you are after the bolder flavors of espresso but also want to increase your caffeine intake, then you will need to double up your shots. Some drinks contain more than one shot of espresso, and if you are downing espresso shots, you should take caution as you will be getting a lot more caffeine this way.
Espresso: A Strong Coffee You Can Make
If you have implemented the above tips to create a stronger coffee, then you are ready to brew up a bold cup of coffee. You can use an espresso maker, a French press, or a Moka pot to create a strong brew.
I will walk you through how to brew a shot or two of espresso using the right beans and create an espresso-based drink. There are a few different strong espresso drinks to try.
To brew up an intense coffee, start by making shots of espresso. Start with one if you are simply after flavor, or use two if you want the added caffeine. Then, try creating these drinks to enjoy the bold flavors in the way you prefer.
You can make espresso using an espresso machine, or brew something equally strong with a Moka pot, or French press. Once you have brewed your shot, simply enjoy it in your demitasse.
If you are after a sweeter drink with some milk, you can opt for a cappuccino. This drink is prepared with a shot of espresso on the bottom, followed by steamed milk, and topped off with a good layer of milk foam. This drink offers a good balance of rich milk and strong espresso.
If you don’t have the right gadgets to steam and froth your milk, then you can opt for the easier Americano drink. As the name implies, it is very popular in America. You can make this drink by adding a cup of hot water to one or two shots of espresso. This drink provides a watered-down version of espresso if you prefer a milder drink.
A macchiato is a shot or two of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk poured over. This drink offers a sweeter espresso-based drink while still offering bold espresso flavors.
To make the macchiato’s lesser-known Spanish cousin, the cortado, take 2 shots of espresso and to that slowly pour in 2 shots of steamed milk. Simple and classic!
The fancy, layered latte is quite similar to a cappuccino but with more milk and less foam. To create this drink, you will need to add a shot of espresso to a tall glass of steamed milk before topping off with a layer of microtextured foam. The best ratio here is one part coffee to two parts milk and one part milk foam.
A ristretto is a perfect choice for a thicker, richer, and stronger coffee. It is almost identical to an espresso but offers a stronger shot of coffee. To make this drink, you use a double shot of espresso with a single shot of water, or you can use a single shot of espresso with half a shot of water. The result is a thicker, more flavorful drink.
What makes coffee stronger?
There are two elements to strong coffee that depend on whether you are looking for more flavor or caffeine. Increasing the caffeine content of your coffee with Robusta beans will give you a bigger hit of caffeine in your strong coffee.
Alternatively, you may be looking for a cup of joe filled with bolder flavors. You can achieve a stronger cup of coffee by choosing better beans and switching up your brew method.
Does adding more coffee grounds make your coffee stronger?
Simply adding more coffee grounds to your brew without increasing the amount of water will increase the strength of your brew. If you are making a hot brew with espresso, you can add another shot of espresso to your beverage to add an extra kick.
Will grind size affect how strong coffee is?
Yes, each brew method requires a specific grind size, and using the right size will ensure your coffee is as strong as you would like it to be. If your grind size is too big for your brew method, you will likely end up with a bland and watery cup of joe.
Can you make strong coffee at home without an espresso machine?
Yes, you don’t need an espresso machine to make strong coffee at home. You can use alternative brew methods to mimic the espresso and create a strong brew. These include using a Moka pot or an Aeropress.
These methods produce a strong coffee similar to the espresso machine as they all use high pressure to brew the coffee.
Time to Enjoy Your Strong Brewed Coffee
Using the above tips and brew methods, you will be able to increase the strength of your coffee and enjoy a bolder cup of your favorite beans, brewed to perfection. With a bit of know-how and some simple tweaking of your methods with the above tips, you can make a world of difference in your brew.
If you have not yet tried the popular espresso at home, then it is time to look for a budget-friendly espresso maker and try out your brewing skills by making these flavorful drinks. You will get a stronger brew while increasing your coffee-making repertoire.