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General Information - Written by Miles Spencer

What is a small strong coffee called?

The most common small strong coffee available commercially is an espresso shot. You can get single shots (one fluid ounce/about 30 ml) or double shots (two fluid ounces). These can be drunk as espressos or combined with milk or water to create an array of other coffee drinks. However, to be a genuine 'espresso', the coffee needs to be made under pressure with steam.

Short shots of filter or drip coffee – where hot water is passed through a filter paper packed with ground coffee beans – are also available and these can be as strong as espresso if the filter process is done correctly.

Cold brew coffee is made cold – it is not made hot and then allowed to cool, as many people think – over a long period of time. The beans are steeped for 12 to 24 hours or until at the desired strength, and once again the resultant mixture can be drunk in one or two shots. Cold brew coffee has higher caffeine and lower acidity levels than coffee that is made while hot.

Finally, coffee can be percolated or boiled in a purpose-made percolator which allows the boiling water and steam to extract the coffee from the beans.

In all of the above cases, the coffee can be made strong and poured short for a small, strong coffee. Dark roast beans are used, as light roasts are weaker flavoured, though higher in caffeine. With the right beans in place, all you need to do is allow the coffee maker time to work its magic (except the espresso maker – they are designed to make coffee very quickly!)

Despite it being something of a misnomer, usually you can ask for an 'espresso' and get a small strong coffee no matter how it’s been brewed. However, you can also ask for 'a short' which will usually be accepted as meaning 'a small strong coffee'. If you’re worried about getting the terminology wrong, you can always state your preference as 'a small, strong coffee, please'!

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