In this guide to double brewed coffee you'll learn how to make it the right way, what not to do, and why you'll want to give it a try.
What is Double Brewed Coffee?
Double brewed coffee is brewing coffee with hot freshly brewed coffee instead of water. Exactly as it sounds – you brew some coffee, then use it to brew a second cup by pouring it over freshly ground coffee beans.
You'll also come across the term double brewed coffee in reference to brewing coffee with double the amount of ground coffee. But that's just making some “bitter-strong” regular coffee, so it doesn't really fit my description of what a double brew is.
Plus using twice the amount of ground coffee throws the golden ratio right out the window. This results in bitter coffee because there's not enough water to fully extract the flavors in the ground coffee.
If you do a double brew properly you'll get a strong, smooth cup of coffee.
Are you looking for other ways to make a strong cup of coffee? Check out this post for some great tips.
Can you brew coffee twice?
Yes, you can. But you'll need to be careful with the gear you use and your water temperature.
We'll talk more about both a little later.
But just a heads up, please don't put brewed coffee in your electric drip coffee machine to make the second brew. Just imagine how hard that would be to clean!
And although it's tempting it's not a good idea to put that second brew through your Moka pot either.
Is double brew coffee stronger than regular coffee?
Yes, double brew is stronger. It's more like a Moka pot (stovetop espresso maker) brew. So it's a better base than regular coffee for iced coffee and other specialty coffee (latte, cappuccino…) you may want to make at home.
In a cafe, specialty coffee has an espresso base. But if you don't have an espresso maker, a double brew would give a richer flavor than regular coffee.
Does double brewed coffee taste good?
If you brew it correctly it tastes good. If you don't your double brew will taste bitter.
It's much like a Moka pot brew except smoother because it doesn't have any of the fine grounds you get coming through in your stove-top espresso maker.
I have a sensitive stomach so I usually add milk or cream to my coffee but I always taste a new brew method (or coffee brand) black to get a feel for it. The double brew was good black but I could tell it was going to irritate my stomach because it's so strong.
Personally, I wouldn't make double brew as my regular coffee because it's too strong for my sensitive system. But I would use it to make a latte or cappuccino.
How to Make Double Brewed Coffee: 3 Methods
Here are a few suggestions for brewing a double brew. The first is my favorite method, and the third is done using a french press.
And now here are a few ways to make double brewed coffee.
1. Automatic drip / pour over method
This is my favorite method it's quick and easy, with very little mess.
Here's how to make double brewed coffee with your auto drip machine and a pour over.
- Place 2 tablespoons of fresh medium ground coffee in your automatic drip machine. Brew a cup of coffee as you normally would. I usually use 12 oz of water. When making double brew this way I brew into a little teapot because the spout makes it easier to pour the coffee into the pour over maker.
- Pour that fresh brew directly over 2 tablespoons of fresh finely ground coffee in a pour-over maker.
- Warm up your milk because your coffee will be a little cooler than a regular cup by this time and cold milk will make it lukewarm at best.
If you don't have an automatic drip you could just make a pour over, and then another pour over with that fresh brew.
Again, I would suggest brewing that first cup into a small tea kettle so it's easier to pour over your second brew.
2. Moka pot and Chemex method
For a stronger double brew, brew your coffee in your stovetop Moka pot and then pour it over your fresh grounds in your Chemex maker.
You could also use a regular pour over maker. (There's a tip here for those who like bitter coffee.)
- Fill the water reservoir in your Moka pot with fresh water then fill the grounds basket with finely ground coffee as you normally would. Turn up the heat and let it brew. (This is using an 8 oz Moka pot.)
- Once the Moka pot brew is ready pour the brewed coffee over 1 tablespoon of fresh medium ground coffee in your Chemex maker. For those bitter coffee lovers try adding 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee, but don't forget the cream and sugar when it's ready because this will be bitter!
- If you're adding milk to your coffee heat it up because the Chemex will take a little longer than a regular pour over because the filter is even finer – cooling your coffee a little more.
3. Automatic drip and French press method
I don't use this method because I'm not a big fan of French press coffee. But if you are, you'll probably enjoy a double brew this way.
- Place 2 tablespoons of fresh medium ground coffee in your automatic drip machine. Brew a cup of coffee as you normally would. I usually use 12 oz of water. I would also use a little teapot with this method because the spout makes it easier to pour the coffee into the French press maker.
- Pour the freshly brewed coffee over 2 tablespoons of medium to coarsely ground coffee. Steep for 3-4 minutes and plunge.
- Again, you'll want to heat your milk because your coffee will not be “hot” by this point.
The following video gives a little glimpse of this process.
If you're using a french press for both brews, the first one is going to cool during the first brewing process and the coffee will need to be reheated to extract the second brew properly.
Sounds like too much hassle to me, but you could gently reheat it in a pot on the stovetop, try not to let it boil, it's probably best to use a thermometer.
You'll be looking for a temp somewhere around 195°F to 205°F (90.5 – 96.1°C). And then pour it back in the french press over the fresh grounds, let it steep for 3 – 4 minutes and then plunge.
Here are a few tips to help you make a great cup of double brewed coffee.
3 Tips for Double Brewed Coffee
- Prepare what you'll need for the second brew while the first coffee is brewing. This way you'll be able to pour your hot first brew directly over the freshly ground coffee for your second brew.
- Keep an eye on the temperature of the coffee used to brew your second batch. Coffee needs to be brewed at 195°F to 205°F (90.5 – 96.1°C) to extract properly. So you'll want to pour that brewed coffee over your fresh grounds as quickly as you can. Your finished double brew will not be as hot as your normal coffee because it cools as it brews. So you may want to add warm milk or you'll have a cold coffee.
- Brew into something easy to pour. So for example, if you're using an automatic drip machine, brew into a small teapot. The spout will make it easier to pour into your pour over coffee maker.
Why double brew coffee?
Double brew coffee is stronger than regular coffee. So if you don't have an espresso machine it makes a better base than regular coffee does for specialty coffee drinks like a latte or a cappuccino.
Double brew also makes a great base for iced coffee because ice cubes usually water down the coffee. Better yet use coffee ice cubes with your double brew iced coffee. Or plop double brewed coffee ice cubes in your milk.
Check out this post for more iced coffee tips.
Does double brew coffee have more caffeine?
Yes, it's safe to say that it does have more caffeine. But I can't say how much more.
I'm not sure how well coffee extracts caffeine. It wouldn't extract as well as pure hot water. So a double brew probably wouldn't have twice as much caffeine, but it would have more.
I don't know much about the science behind this, only that coffee is more saturated with other particles than pure water, so there is less “water” available to extract the caffeine.
If you've seen a reference or study that has measured the caffeine levels, I would love to see it. Please share it in the comments.
How do you make double-strength coffee?
If you want some good extra-strong coffee you can try a double brew process. Brewing freshly ground coffee using freshly brewed coffee.
If you want double the caffeine you could try brewing some robusta coffee.
Why Not Double Brew in Automatic Drip?
Here are a few things you'll want to avoid so you can get a great double brew, and not ruin your coffee maker. We'll start off talking about why you shouldn't double brew in your automatic drip machine.
For double brewed coffee, here are three things to avoid:
1. Avoid using the wrong coffee maker
You'll see some recommendations for double brewing in your automatic drip machine but unless you want to replace it soon, don't pour brewed coffee in your coffee maker.
It would make your machine dirty – making it very hard or next to impossible to clean properly. It would also leave build-up negatively affecting the flavor of your coffee.
For the same reasons, you shouldn't put brewed coffee in the water reservoir of your Moka pot, or espresso machine. The brewed coffee can damage the gasket, and dirty up your machine.
2. Avoid using the wrong temperature coffee
Too hot – Also while it seems like a good idea, double brewing in your Moka pot, will most likely result in a bitter cup of coffee (and may damage your maker).
When coffee gets too hot it starts to get bitter. And that's what will happen if you put brewed coffee in the water reservoir of your Moka pot. It will overheat and take on a bitter flavor.
Too cool – If you let your first brew cool too much before you use it to brew the next cup it won't extract your second brew as well and you won't make a very good double brew. You'll want that coffee at around 195°F to 205°F (90.5 – 96.1°C) to extract properly.
3. Avoid the wrong grind size
A cup of brewed coffee will not extract as well as hot water so you're probably going to want to use a fine grind for the second brew when using a pour over.
When brewing for the second time in a french press a coarse grind will be fine because of the amount of time the grounds steep.
Grind size is something you can experiment with to get your preferred flavor.
As a side point, some people like bitter coffee because it takes on a unique flavor once they add cream and sugar. If this is your flavor preference, try adding 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee, but don't forget the cream and sugar when it's ready because this will be bitter!
How Will You Make Your Double Brew?
So, are you going to give double brew a try?
I wasn't very optimistic about how it would taste, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it.
I would recommend using option 1 (the electric drip and pour over method) from the brew methods above. I like it because it's easy and quick. You're also less likely to get funky bitter flavors going on from over-extraction.
If you give it a try, let me know how it goes by commenting on this post.