There’s nothing more invigorating in the morning than a strong cup of coffee. But how can regular folks brew the strongest cup of coffee from the comfort of home? That depends on what “strong” means to you. Do you want the heftiest caffeine kick? The biggest, baddest flavor? The best of both worlds?
There’s a science to brewing strong coffee at home. Let’s start with the basics.
While there are over 100 species of coffee, only three are cultivated for consumption. The most popular are Arabica and Robusta, which make up roughly 97% of coffee crops worldwide.
Grown primarily in Asia and West Africa, Robusta is inexpensive to produce, has a high caffeine content, and a less complex flavor profile. (If you’ve ever suffered through a cup of cheap instant coffee, it was probably made with Robusta beans.)
Arabica beans are grown in East Africa and Latin America. 70% of the coffee consumed worldwide is made from Arabica beans, including ours here at Regular Coffee. This bean has a more complex flavor and higher sugar content, which generally makes it more desirable to most consumers. It’s also more expensive, as Arabica coffee is almost exclusively hand-harvested.
As a general rule, lighter roasts will have higher caffeine content and more nuanced flavor, and darker roasts will have less caffeine and more intense coffee taste. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, a good medium roast, like Regular Coffee, balances caffeine and flavor.
For regular people making regular coffee from the comfort of their own homes, three factors impact the strength of your morning Joe: grind, water temperature, and brew time.
The best regular at-home brewing methods for capitalizing on flavor and caffeine based on our three variables are the French press or AeroPress. A high-quality drip brewer will also do the trick; look for one that evenly distributes the hot water throughout the basket of coffee grounds.
It might seem like a good idea to simply add more coffee grounds to brew a stronger cup. However, increasing the coffee-to-water ratio can leave your coffee tasting more bitter than potent, so keep your ratio close to two scoops of coffee grounds to one cup of water for a more balanced coffee experience.
Technically, any bean can be prepared as espresso because it’s the grind and not the roast that makes espresso distinct from other coffee. A fine grind packed tightly and shot with near-boiling water at high pressure is what makes espresso distinct. Specialty espresso-specific blends optimize the flavor experience, but even Regular Coffee can be espresso-ized, if you really went for it. Consider using a Moka pot to prepare low-key espresso at home.
This might go without saying, but drinking coffee immediately after brewing is the best way to enjoy a strong dose of caffeine and flavor. After 30 minutes to an hour, your coffee’s strength will decline in direct proportion to your waning enjoyment of it. And if you leave your carafe on the burner for hours on end, your coffee will end up bitter and disappointing — as will your morning. We recommend making as much as you know you’ll drink in an hour or so and brewing a fresh batch if you decide to hop on the flavor train later in the day.