How to Make Strong Coffee at Home (Different Methods Compared)

Humans have consumed coffee since the 13th century. It was not until recently that our civilizations advanced to the point where we can have coffee made for us within a few minutes by baristas ranging from the green-eared adolescents to passionate experts.

Despite the convenience of picking up coffee on the go, there is a sort of magic about brewing your coffee at home each morning. Whether you use a dispensing coffee maker for on demand coffee or you painstakingly make manual pour over coffee over the years people have worked to perfect the strength and quality of their home brewing methods.

Below is a detailed list of different methods for brewing strong coffee from home.

The Basic Components of Making Strong Coffee:

Transition Over to Fresh, Whole Beans

The bags and cartons of pre-ground coffee lure people in with the promise of convenience. The truth is, a lot is lost by choosing this route for your coffee experience.

When coffee beans are ground, the oils and gases creating aroma and flavor start to dissipate. When you purchase pre-ground coffee beans you lose out on a lot of the original strength and taste.

Often times, these packaged products have sat on the shelves for months, losing more and more of its character and potency each day.

Switching over to fresh, whole beans will create a richer flavor profile in each cup.

Properly Store Coffee Beans for a Better Experience

I am currently working towards a zero-waste life. Since my journey began I have accumulated quite the Mason Jar collection. Mason Jars are easily available and work great for keeping your beans fresh for longer.

  • 12 ounces of coffee fits into a quart-sized jar.
  • 8 ounces of coffee fits into a pint-sized jar.
  • 4 ounces of coffee fits into half-pint jars.

If you would like to step it up a notch and purchase a container specifically for your beans, it is recommended to purchase a vacuum sealed container.

For more storage tips check out the article: Ground Coffee Storage: In the Freezer, Fridge or on the Counter.

The Bean Grind Used Matters

Now that we’ve discussed choosing and storing beans, it is time to get to the grind.

How fine or coarse you decide to grind your beans will dictate the brewing time for your coffee. The longer your coffee brews, the stronger it will turn out. Although it is important to keep in mind that brewing your coffee for too long will cause it to taste burned and bitter.

The reason this happens is water will run faster through larger particles than smaller. A common comparison is pouring water over a jar of rocks versus a jar of sand and observing which one runs through faster.

Brewing Coffee at the Right Temperature

The brewing temperature of your coffee is essential to success..

It is important that coffee is brewed between 195 degrees Fahrenheit and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over 205 degrees will end up burning the cup of coffee.

Increasing the temperature when combined with the slow-yield of finely ground beans will intensify the extraction of oils from the coffee making your cup stronger and more flavorful.

For more information on brewing temperatures read Brew Temperatures and its Effects on Espresso.

Choose the Right Brewing Method

1. Making Espresso Strength Coffee in the AeroPress

The AeroPress is a unique form of homebrewing which allows the user to manipulate multiple variables in the process. If you are interested in getting technical with your coffee making process, this is a great way to experiment with how water temperature, pressure, brewing time, and bean grind all affect how a cup of coffee turns out.

To read more about the AeroPress click here.

With the use of a fine grind, the AeroPress is ideal for creating the domestic version of the espresso machine.

Matt Vassau, CEO\Founder of Driven coffee, recommends using a fine grind; 205 grams of water heated to 205 degrees Fahrenheit; an 11-1 coffee-to-water ratio; and a brewing time of two minutes.

For more information and recipes click here.

2. The Key to a Strong Yield from a French Press

Since the French Press fully immerses the coffee in water and the filter has a larger grating, it is recommended to use a coarser grind than you would for other methods of coffee-making.

Unlike other methods, you will want to immerse the beans in your French Press for four minutes.

Before brewing your coffee, make sure and wet the grind. Dampen the ground coffee and let it stand for thirty seconds before continuing on with the brewing process.

This allows for the coffee to ‘bloom’ where it releases carbon monoxide and other gases that will have a negative effect on the coffee.

For more information click for the article “The French Press vs. Pour Over: Coffee Brewing Methods Compared.”

3. The Percolator: On the Stove and the Fire

The first time I used a percolator, I was in Utrecht, Holland.

There was only one other coffee drinker staying in the hostel with me–a gentleman from Spain who spoke as much English as I did Spanish. The first mornings I crooned over him, observing for myself how to use this device found in homes all over Europe. Day three of him making us coffee, he realized this was an exotic coffee making process for me and showed me how to properly use it.

Percolators create strong coffee, but if the temperature is wrong or the brewing is rushed you may find yourself with a burnt cup of coffee.

To make coffee in your percolator us one heaping spoonful of grounds for every cup of water.

Keep the heat on medium to low. If working over an open flame, this can be done by spreading out your coals to reduce the flame or positioning the pot towards the outskirts of the fire where the flames are lower. The goal temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the first bubble or ‘perc’ can be heard, turn the heat down or move the percolator outside the reach of the flames yet still within range of the heat.

The goal is to have one ‘perc’ for every three to five seconds. Any more than this will cause the coffee to boil and result in a burned flavor.

For every cup of water used, let your percolator to brew for one minute. On average, it will take four minutes after it starts to bubble.

The last step is to remove from heat. Be careful not to burn yourself as you separate the pieces. Ensure the stem and filter are separated from the coffee. If you keep the pieces together after the brewing is done, the steam will condense on the pot lid and disrupt the flavor profile of your coffee.

Find more information on the percolator read this article: “How to Use a Percolator.”

You can also see this list of GGC posts that were all written to help you brew better, tastier, fresher, and stronger coffee.

Keurig Not Brewing? What To Do
How To Make Espresso Without A Machine
What to do When Your Keurig’s Making Weak Coffee
The Best Water To Coffee Ratio For French Press
How Long Do You Percolate Coffee?
Moka Pot Not Working? These Main Causes and Solutions May Help
How To Use a Percolator
How To Know When Your Moka Pot Is Finished Making Coffee
Cold Brew Coffee: Ratio of Grounds to Water (w/ Instructions)
Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew
What Is The Best Kind Of Coffee For A Moka Pot?
Can You Get Crema From A Moka Pot?
How To Filter Cold Brew Coffee
How To Make Cowboy Coffee
Top 5 Coffee Filter Substitutes (+No Filter Brewing Tips)
Why Your Keurig Is Dripping Slowly and How To Fix It
How To Make French Press Cold Brew
How To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder
How to Make Coffee Less Acidic
No Coffee Maker? No Problem. Here’s How You Can Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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