Everything you need to know about strong coffee
If you were to ask your colleagues, friends or family members how they take their coffee, we guarantee you’d hear the word ‘strong’ used over and over again. Delivering a pick-me-up quite like no other, strong coffee is the brew of choice for many coffee lovers who favour intense flavours and powerful taste experiences.
But what exactly is strong coffee? And how can you make the best cup of strong coffee at home? If you’d like to learn more about strong coffee, from brewing tips to its meaning, check out our indispensable guide below.
The Java Jargon Decoder
- Grind size - The size of particles once you’ve ground your coffee. The scale ranges from extra-coarse to super-fine.
- Ratio - The amount of ground coffee used vs the amount of water used.
- Ristretto - This brew is a short shot of highly concentrated espresso coffee. The drink is made using the same amount of grounds as an espresso but only uses up to half as much water.
What is strong coffee?
For different people, strong coffee means different things. For some, strong coffee is the darkness of a roast, whereas for others, it’s a fierce caffeine hit. To complicate the definition even further, when some people talk about strong coffee, they’re referring to intensity, such as the experience of drinking a short, sharp espresso.
Technically none of these definitions is wrong. Generally, the darker the roast, the 'stronger' the variety. That’s why you’ll usually hear words such as, ‘punchy’, ‘full of flavour’ and ‘intense’ used to describe dark roast coffee. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, and some dark roasts can produce a brew with subtle and mild notes.
Similarly, a cup of coffee with a high caffeine content doesn't necessarily equate to strong coffee. For example, although you’ll find more caffeine per ounce in an espresso vs drip coffee (around 40mg vs 10mg), due to serving sizes, in one 2 oz double espresso, you’ll get around 80 milligrams of coffee compared to 120 milligrams in a cup of drip coffee. So while it may feel like you’re getting a strong caffeine hit with an espresso shot, you’re actually consuming more caffeine using other brewing methods.
Taking these varying interpretations into consideration, at Coffee Direct, we define strong coffee as the perceived strength of a brewed cup of coffee. If a roast gives you robust, intense flavours full of rich aromas, we will describe it as a strong coffee. This sort of taste experience does tend to result from darker roasts as these types of beans have lower acidity, are heavy-bodied and give you deep, dark flavours.
A helpful comparison for coffee strength can be found in the world of wine. A wine with a higher ABV may make for a ’stronger’ drink, but that’s not always the case. Some grape varieties and brewing processes can produce wines that seem quite light in body and taste, yet they have a high ABV.
How to make strong coffee at home
If you want to turbocharge your morning brew, here are our top tips on how to make a cup of good strong coffee at home.
By picking a dark roast, your coffee is more likely to have a stronger flavour. Generally, the longer beans are roasted, the deeper and richer the flavour gets. The best coffee beans for strong coffee are dark roasted Arabica beans. Although Robusta coffee beans tend to produce powerful flavours, these are often quite bitter and harsh, so consider this before switching from Arabica.
Up the grounds-to-water ratio
For regular brewed coffee, the suggested ratio is two scoops (2 tablespoons) of grounds to one cup of water. To make your coffee taste stronger, simply add more grounds; that way you’ll get a higher percentage of coffee molecules in your cup.
Master your grind
Always pay attention to your grind size to maximise the taste of your bean. Grinding extracts flavour from the bean, but if done incorrectly for your chosen brewing method, you’ll compromise the taste of your coffee. For example, if you don’t dissolve enough coffee particles, you could end up with a drink that is weak, sour or astringent instead of strong and flavoursome.
Elevate your water temperature
Like chocolate, coffee is soluble, meaning it dissolves faster at higher temperatures. By heating your water higher, it’ll extract more flavour quicker. However, make sure your quest for the strongest coffee doesn't lead to a burnt coffee. Optimum temperature is 96 ºC. Any higher and you may burn the coffee, creating unpleasant bitterness.
Have fun and experiment
The best tasting coffee is subjective, so play around and have fun experimenting with different water to grounds ratios and timings until you perfect the art of a great cup of super-strong coffee.
Did you know strong coffee can improve physical performance?
Knocking back a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you hit the gym may accelerate your weight loss. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, triggering fat cells to break down body fat. It’s also proven to improve physical performance by 11-12%.
Our delicious strong coffees
At Coffee Direct we sell a huge variety of delicious dark roast coffees. Our strong coffees are roasted for longer to create intensely deep flavours and rich aromas. Whilst our strongest coffee beans and grinds can be enjoyed at any time, they are particularly well suited to after-dinner settings.
Unique to the coastal regions of Karnataka and Kerala, Monsoon Malabar is one of our best-selling coffees and is perfect for those who like their brew strong. Harvested in the Malabar region of India, one of the wettest regions of southern India, the beans are immediately exposed to the harsh, moist winds of the area's monsoons for around three months. This process causes the beans to swell, losing their acidity and creating a full-bodied, flavour-packed coffee.
“I like good strong coffee, i.e. a strong flavour that pleases the palate rather than assaults it! Monsoon Malabar scores extremely well in this respect. Furthermore, this coffee has a very pleasant finish.”
John M. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Our Golden Crema coffee is the crème de la crème of strong coffee blends. It has a lustrous texture which you can enhance by adding steamed milk to create irresistible silky lattes and cappuccinos.
“Excellent all-rounder but especially good as espresso or flat white. Has a strong flavour, is not bitter and is quite like dark chocolate.”
Martin S. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Always offering a powerful, full-flavoured experience, our strong Italian Coffee is best enjoyed as an espresso. However, it can also be used as a base for your favourite filter coffees to produce a powerful, flavour-rich experience.
“I’m no coffee expert, but I know good taste and this knocks the socks off my previous bean. It’s full-bodied, well rounded and has no bitter aftertaste. Delicious!”
Priyesh P. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The depth of flavour from our Old Brown Java coffee beans comes from the two-year ageing process of its green beans. The longer the green beans are aged, the more flavour they gain, so this process ensures a heavier body, mighty flavour and very little acidity.
“This Old Brown Java coffee is rounded and pungent with a rich, deep flavour and hints of fig. The perfect accompaniment to croissants aux amandes - with which I drank it this morning.”
Derek F. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you require maximum flavour but minimum caffeine kick, our Dark Decaffeinated Colombian is for you. Ideal for aromatic espressos, these beans offer rich and luxurious flavours of sweet fruit and chocolate, producing wonderfully full-bodied coffees that won't keep you up all night.
“Best decaf we have tasted. Full strength but not bitter.”
C. T. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What is the world’s strongest coffee?
With its rather ominous name and skull and crossbones packaging, Death Wish Coffee is apparently the world’s strongest coffee in terms of caffeine content. Produced with 100% Robusta coffee beans, Death Wish Coffee has claimed the world's strongest title with a caffeine level that is twice as high as your regular cup.
For even the most seasoned coffee drinker, the likes of this world's strongest coffee, with its high caffeine content, is a bit too much to handle regularly. Although the novelty may be appealing, we advise skipping the strongest coffee in the world and checking out our selection of delicious everyday strong coffees instead.
Does strong coffee raise blood pressure?
The link between coffee and blood pressure is down to caffeine. Caffeine has a short-term impact in terms of elevating blood pressure, with a mild increase in the range of 5 to 10 mmHg. This caffeine powered effect lasts for about 3 hours until the effect subsides.
If you keep within the daily recommendations of caffeinated coffee consumption, strong coffee has no more or less of a health impact than regular coffee. Strong roasted coffee will only raise your blood pressure any higher than regular coffee if you drink a higher concentration. For instance, 20g of coffee may be used to make an espresso, but 30g is used for filter coffee. Therefore, the drink which was made with more coffee will have more caffeine.
Is strong coffee bad for you?
The health risks (and health benefits) of strong coffee are no different from regular coffee. Consuming high caffeine levels can be dangerous, but again, this is only if you're consuming huge amounts of caffeine. Up to 400mg of caffeine a day is considered safe for most healthy adults, which is roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee.
What does a strong coffee taste like?
The taste of strong coffee is often described as 'punchy', 'intense', 'flavour-packed' and 'rich'. These flavours are usually associated with darker roasts, although one roast will always differ from another. Remember, good strong coffee should never be sharp, overly bitter or acrid, which can sometimes happen during the roasting or brewing process.