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How to Make Strong Coffee (Ultimate Guide to Better Coffee)

Sooo, you want your coffee strong? You're not alone, strong coffee is a beautiful thing – rich, bold, and oh-so-smooth. In this post you'll learn all about how to make strong coffee.

We'll talk a little about caffeine content but mostly about how to make your coffee taste stronger.

How to make strong coffee

How to Make Strong Coffee

When it comes to making strong coffee it's either about flavor or caffeine content.

  • More Caffeine: If you want more caffeine you can choose a lighter roast, or a longer brewing time. The lighter the roast, the more caffeine your coffee will contain, the best example being white coffee (best as in high caffeine not necessarily flavor). Measured scoop for scoop, a lighter roast contains more mass and therefore more caffeine. The caffeine content also increases the longer your grounds brew in water.
  • Stronger Flavor: If you want a stronger flavor you can adjust your water-to-grounds ratio, choose a darker roast, or try a different brewing method.

As you can see making coffee taste stronger is pretty easy, just do one (or both) of the following:

How do you make strong coffee?

There are three ways to make coffee taste stronger:

  1. Change the water-to-grounds ratio. For regular brewed coffee (in a drip coffee maker) the suggested ratio is two scoops (2 tablespoons) of grounds to one cup (6 ounces) of water. To make your coffee taste stronger add more grounds.
  2. Choose a darker roast. A dark roast will have a stronger flavor because the longer the beans roast the stronger/richer the flavor gets.
  3. Try another brewing method. If you are not happy with how your coffee tastes when you try to make it stronger, it might be time to try a different brewing method. More about that later.

While it's true that your coffee will taste stronger if you add more grounds, it may also begin to taste bitter.

So, the best way to get a good strong cup of coffee is to focus on a good dark roast. You'll also want to use the right grind.

It's also good to consider that a dirty coffee maker can add strange and unpleasant flavors to your coffee, so make sure to clean your coffee gear regularly.

So let's talk about dark roasted coffee beans and what kind of a grind you'll need to get some good strong coffee brewing.

More reading: How long does coffee last? Does coffee go bad?

How to Make Coffee Taste Stronger

To make coffee taste stronger you'll want to choose the right roast and grind. Otherwise, your coffee will taste bitter and bitter isn't better. Richer is, the richer the better.

What is a good strong coffee?

To get a good cup of strong flavored coffee you'll need to order a dark roast at the cafe or buy dark roasted coffee beans and make your own.

You'll be looking for those nice dark beans. The ones to the right in the following picture.

Even instant coffee comes in different roasts, so for a stronger cup look for a dark roast.

Grades of Coffee Roasting

what-kind of roast for strong coffeeWhen ordering coffee (or buying beans) you may wonder which coffee beans have the most caffeine.

There are basically two types of coffee beans: arabica and robusta.

Arabica has less caffeine than robusta, it's more popular, and in my opinion – a better choice because of flavor. And because (as we all know) too much caffeine can lead to health problems.

What kind of coffee beans make the best strong coffee?

If you're buying beans look for dark roasted arabica beans. The roast (light, medium, or dark) will be written on the bag somewhere (like the following photo of Reunion Island coffee beans) dark is best for a rich/bold flavor. But keep an eye on the flavor notes, they are important as well.

strong coffee dark roast coffee beans

(As a side point, I didn't like the flavor of “Privateer” – the Reunion Island coffee pictured above, but their “Bullet” – which is an espresso medium roast was wonderful. The flavor notes made all the difference!  I brewed it in a stove-top espresso maker (Moka Pot) so it was strong and delicious.)

If you're getting beans from a roaster (or coffee shop) you can ask what types of dark roast they have. This can be an education in itself because they can help you choose according to the roast and flavor of the beans.

At a cafe you could just ask for a cup of their dark roast coffee, but don't be fooled. That won't mean you're making the best choice in terms of caffeine count.

If you want a strong cup of coffee with the least amount of caffeine you need to think of brewing time and serving size.

Does Strong Coffee Have More Caffeine?

A stronger tasting cup of coffee does not necessarily have more caffeine.

You may have heard that espresso contains more caffeine than regular drip coffee but that's not necessarily true. It may all come down to how you make your coffee. Among the top 17 best brewing methods are drip and expresso:

  • Drip Coffee Caffeine: In a regular serving of drip coffee (12 ounces) you're getting about 120 milligrams of caffeine.
  • Espresso Caffeine: A regular shot of espresso, is only a one ounce serving which contains around 40 milligrams of caffeine. Espresso has a much stronger, richer taste than drip brewed coffee. If you drink 12 ounces of espresso you would be drinking more caffeine, but who does that?

You may drink an espresso faster because of the small serving size, so keeping that in mind could help you avoid downing shot after shot and getting caffeine jitters. You could also opt for an americano, which is a shot of espresso with added water. Even with the extra water, it has a stronger flavor than regular drip coffee.

Many popular coffee drinks are made from espresso which leads to a stronger, more flavorful drink than one made from a regular cup of brewed coffee.

How to make strong coffee in a coffee maker

Need a gift for a coffee lover? Check out these gifts for coffee snobs – you're sure to find something they'll love.

Which brewing method has the most caffeine?

Drip coffee that comes from electric coffee makers (the kind most people have on their kitchen counter) usually brews longer than coffee made in a french press or an espresso maker. Because of the brewing time and the serving size (12 ounces), this usually has the most caffeine.

Brewing times compared:

  • Drip coffee: About 4-6 minutes
  • French press: Around 3-5 minutes
  • Espresso machine: Around 20-30 seconds

The biggest difference is seen in the espresso method, it's faster and the serving size is smaller which results in less caffeine. The difference between the drip coffee and the french press would be minimal, because of the time and the serving size.

Which brewing method is best for strong coffee?

To get the best tasting strong coffee try an espresso or french press coffee maker. Both of these methods brew quicker than drip coffee and (when done properly) produce a richer flavor. In my opinion, espresso beats french press.

To order a rich, bold tasting coffee at a cafe you'll need to know what it's called.

What is strong coffee called?

There are a number of strong coffee drinks to try at a cafe. And if you have the equipment you can make them at home.

The following list will give you a rough guide of what to order at a cafe/restaurant and how to make strong coffee at home.

6 Types of Strong Coffee

Here are some strong coffee drinks that are all made with espresso:

  1. Espresso: Espresso is made with coffee grounds and water. The grounds are compacted and hot water is forced through them under high pressure. This makes a thick rich coffee with natural crema (dense foam) on top. It may have less caffeine than regular coffee because it brews quicker, and you normally drink less of it in a serving. A single shot of espresso contains roughly 7-9 grams of coffee in about 1 ounce of water.
  2. Americano: This is made with 1/3 espresso and 2/3 water.
  3. Latte: A Latte contains 2/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and some milk foam
  4. Cappuccino: In a cappuccino, you'll get 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot milk, and 1/3 milk foam
  5. Mocha: A mocha is made with 2/5 espresso, 2/5 chocolate, 1/5 steamed milk, and whipped cream to top it off.
  6. Macchiato: This is made with a double shot of espresso and some steamed milk. Even with a double shot of espresso, this may have less slightly less caffeine than a regular cup of drip brewed coffee, 80 milligrams as compared to 120 milligrams in a regular drip cup.
How to make good strong coffee

More reading: How to make iced coffee (the best way and the fast way)

How To Make Coffee Stronger

Now let's look at how to make coffee stronger at home. We're going to talk about a stronger flavor, not more caffeine.

As already mentioned, you'll want to get yourself a bag of dark roasted arabica coffee beans. If you're buying ground coffee look for the kind of grind that corresponds to the method you'll be using to make your coffee.

What kind of grind to use for strong coffee

The same grind sizes shouldn't be used for all coffee making methods. The grind makes a difference.

All coffee lovers go through trying to figure out how to make strong coffee and wonder if finding a good coffee grinder would really make any difference. Back when it was our turn, we had a blade grinder but were reading (and talking) about how awesome burr grinders are. So, as a surprise, our daughter bought us one (awesome gift, right!?).

Our burr grinder has specific settings for the different kind of coffee machines/methods used to brew coffee. We just set it to what we'll be using (everything from superfine espresso to coarse french press grind) and we get the perfect grind every time.

what kind of coffee beans for strong coffee

If you are buying your ground coffee at a market or grocery store, the type of grind should be written on the bag. If not, keep looking until you find a brand that has it. It's worth it, your coffee will taste better.

If you're getting your coffee from a roaster or coffee shop, tell them your brewing method and they'll get you the proper size grind.

Here is a breakdown of basic grinds for a few different methods:

  • Drip coffee maker: Coarse
  • French press: Medium/Coarse
  • Espresso maker: Fine

For the best tasting strong coffee, buy the beans and grind them yourself. To keep them fresh, grind them in small amounts and store them (no more than 5 or 6 days) in an opaque container (somewhere dark and dry).

Now let's look at how to make strong coffee at home.

How to Make Strong Coffee at Home

It's great to know how to make strong coffee at home because you can save yourself time and money. I like not having to leave the house to get me some strong coffee.

Making coffee at home can also help people (like me) who have food-related sensitivities.

If you like making your own coffee you might also enjoy learning about ways to sweeten your coffee without sugar.

So let's learn how to make strong coffee at home sweet home.

How to make strong coffee in a french press

How to Make Strong Coffee in a Coffee Maker: 3 Steps

A drip coffee maker is probably where most people (in North America) start out making coffee at home.

  1. To make coffee taste stronger with a coffee maker use dark roasted, coarsely ground arabica coffee beans – the fresher the better.
  2. Add more than 2 tablespoons per every 12 ounces of water, yes – you want to break that “golden ratio” rule.
  3. How much more should you add? That will be up to you, you'll need to experiment because at some point your coffee will start to taste bitter.

The following video will show you how to make coffee in a drip coffee maker: To make it stronger follow the above instructions.

Watch on YouTube

How to Make Strong Coffee in a French Press (Plunger): 3 Steps

  1. For french press coffee, you'll want to get yourself some dark roasted, medium-coarse ground arabica coffee beans. Better yet, grind them yourself. Your grounds can't be too fresh.
  2. When using a small french press (3 cups) some like to use a medium grind, otherwise use a coarse grind.
  3. Start with 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee beans per 8 ounces of water. If this is not strong enough add more grounds until the flavor reaches your liking.
Tip: Once your water starts to boil, let it cool for a minute before pouring it over the grounds. And don't let the grounds sit in the water for more than 4 minutes or your coffee will taste bitter. Once you've reached 4 minutes serve it up.

The following video will show you how to make coffee with a french press. To make it stronger just follow the above instructions.

Watch on YouTube

How to Make Really Strong Coffee in an Espresso Maker (Moka Pot): 2 Steps

People can be pretty picky about their espresso method, I'm not. I make espresso, and then turn that deliciousness into an Americano for my hubby, and the rest into a cappuccino-type treat for myself. We use a stove-top espresso maker called a moka pot.

  1. To make strong coffee in an espresso maker start with dark roasted, finely ground Arabica coffee beans. Again, it's always best to grind them yourself, a burr grinder does the best job.
  2. With a stove-top espresso maker, you just fill the basket to the top (evenly up to the rim) with grounds. This will give you a nice strong cup of coffee. To make your java stronger, add more grounds and press them down a little.

The following video will show you how to make coffee in a stove-top espresso maker.

Note: In the video she says to use “ground espresso, not ground coffee” she means to use coffee beans that are finely ground for an espresso maker.

Watch on YouTube

How to Make Strong Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

You can make strong coffee without a coffee maker, french press, espresso maker, or any other special equipment.

To make strong coffee without a coffee maker just add 2 heaping tablespoons of dark, coarsely ground arabica coffee to each 8 ounce serving of water.

All you need is a way to boil water and something to strain out the grounds. The result is much the same as a french press.

The following video will show how to make coffee without a coffee maker. To make it stronger follow the above instructions.

Note: She mentions to let it steep for 10 or 15 minutes. That will probably make it bitter. As with the french press, no more than 4 minutes should do the trick. And it's not necessary to keep it on the heat while it brews, you could just put a lid on the pot to keep the heat in.

Watch on YouTube

How Will You Make Your Next Cup of Strong Coffee?

Now that we've talked all about how to make strong coffee, how will you make yours? We would love to know how your experiments in the world of strong coffee turn out, please share by commenting on this post.

However you go about making things stronger, dark roasted coffee beans are a game changer, and the right grind for your brewing method makes a difference.

There's also a balance between making coffee stronger without making it bitter. If it starts tasting bitter try reducing the amount of grounds (as with drip coffee makers) or the brew time (as with the french press). And don't let your coffee burn (this can happen with the stove-top espresso maker) take it off the heat as soon as it's finished brewing.

Another option would be to try making cold brew coffee, it brews up a strong concentrate that is usually diluted when served. Because it's brewed cold it usually has sweater flavor notes.

How to make strong coffee at home with an espresso maker

Grab a cup a java – and join us in the comments. 🙂

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines

Dena Haines is co-editor of EnjoyJava! - and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. Ambitious, right? She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of GudGear (an outdoor adventure blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

18 comments… add one
  • Janice Jan 10, 2018, 4:52 pm

    This is very informative on how to get that great cup of coffee. I love my coffee good and strong ☕ Thanks Dena

  • Paul Mar 19, 2018, 9:12 pm

    Hello Dena, thanks for your informative website. I’d like to add that the choice of roast color, light to dark is very subjective. Some people like you obviously prefer a darker roast but light roasts are very appropriate depending on the variety of coffee and the flavor profile the roaster is desiring to achieve. For example, a Gesha coffee is best roasted very light to bring out the delicate flavor characteristics its known for, floral, citrus or fruit. With a dark roast those flavors are mostly lost. Try various degrees of roasts with the same coffee and you’ll be surprised what flavor profiles develop.

    • Dena Haines Nov 6, 2018, 11:46 am

      Hi Paul,

      I agree, light roast produces some great flavor notes. I recently made some cold brew with a light roast and enjoyed those citrus and fruity flavors! This article was more focused on the darker roast flavors, but I’m with you on trying all kinds of roast colors, and flavor profiles 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Kitchens Hub Aug 2, 2018, 4:06 am

    Thats a nice recipe of coffee. Strong coffee is something we need every morning to wake us up and spend the day energetically. I usually make slush cold coffee. But reading this article seems like its gonna be tasteful cup of coffee if I try this recipe. I surely will try this recipe and will give you feedback again. Cheers 🙂

    • Dena Haines Nov 6, 2018, 12:16 pm

      Hi all over at Kitchen Hub,

      I’m glad you liked this article, thanks for commenting.

      Seeing that you like ice coffee you would probably like the article I just wrote about it https://enjoyjava.com/how-to-make-iced-coffee/. I would love your input if you would like to share your favorite iced coffee recipe by commenting on that article!

  • YASIR Ali Nov 15, 2018, 6:01 am

    Moka put all the way

  • Kaffeeroesterankauf Nov 23, 2018, 8:38 am

    This is very informative. Thanks for the info!

  • Steve May 12, 2019, 2:17 pm

    Great informative unbiased info.
    Thank you

  • LeCase COFFEE Oct 17, 2019, 3:28 am

    Informative article. Thank you for sharing your recipe on how to make strong coffee. Keep on sharing.

  • Edward Moran Nov 1, 2019, 6:01 am

    With the right roast and grind, you’ll be well on your way to a great cup of coffee that will knock your socks off.

  • Md. Golam Mostafa Dec 17, 2019, 2:34 am

    Wow, this article is so informative. Appreciation for my homemade wonderful coffee goes to the author Dena Haines. Although you described about the strong cup of coffee, but I love to drink the light roast with a chocolate flavor.

  • Taylor Wright Jan 17, 2020, 12:36 pm

    I never knew that a shot of espresso has 40 milligrams of caffeine in it. My little brother wants to start making his own coffee since he doesn’t have the equipment. I’ll help him find a good Keurig that can do the job for him.

  • Russell Volz Jun 8, 2020, 7:41 pm

    You’re right on about the water to grounds ratio. Sure you can get stronger coffee, but generally speaking you pay a price by also getting coffee that’s considerably more bitter.

    I’ve found a way around that dilemma. First use an AeroPress brewer. They’re dirt cheap $30 or so. Don’t ask me why, but the AeroPress makes the smoothest coffee.

    Secondly, you have to start with beans that are already smooth, i.e., not bitter. Fortunately, finding smooth coffee beans is pretty easy. Just search the internet for “smooth coffee” or “smooth coffee beans” or “smoothest coffee” or something like that. I’ve found a number of good choices.

  • Rubina Jun 19, 2020, 9:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this article on how to make a strong coffee. I wanted to learn how to make a strong coffee, But after reading your article it helped me to make the best strong coffee for my family. Thanks.. It really works well for me. Keep posting.

  • Noah Jun 23, 2020, 8:12 am

    Hello Dena. Thank you for this post and a great video. I always wanted to make strong coffee for myself, but fail to make the perfect one. Now, I will definitely try your recipe.

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