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richedie
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 683
Location: Pennsylvania
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 4, 2007, 7:03am
Subject: Coffee strength....
 

Hello!

Hey, I had a discussion last night with a friend about the processes for making strong coffee. He mentioned it is an old myth that you can increase coffee strength by brewing a larger amount. I do not believe this. I know from experience you can increase strength by using a larger amount.

However, I know there are more efficient ways to stronger coffee, such as a finer grind, different brewing method, water temperature, etc.

True?

How would you all list the methods to alter coffee strength?

Assuming brew method is consistent I would say the following:

coffee amount
grind
brew time
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pjdiez
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pjdiez
Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Posts: 40
Location: Washington, DC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto
Grinder: Super Jolly, Macap MC4, 2...
Vac Pot: 5 FP's, Eva CafeSolo,...
Drip: Chemex, Mellitta, Bodum
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed Jul 4, 2007, 8:09am
Subject: Re: Coffee strength....
 

My unscientific response:

I don't think extending the brewing time (past a certain point) will result in stronger coffee (i.e. a produce a greater density of dissolved solids). It will only result in over-extracted coffee.

Brewing temperature affects taste, but (assuming the water is within the range to actually extract/dissolve oils and solids from the grind) I don't think it affects strength per se.

Varying the grind and quantity does affect strength.

(This is probably simplistic.)
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Goatherd
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Goatherd
Joined: 4 May 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Eugene, OR
Expertise: Just starting

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Roaster: Smart
Posted Wed Jul 4, 2007, 12:44pm
Subject: Re: Coffee strength....
 

This is a pretty complicated issue but here are some basics:
There are two factors in play here, one is 'strength' which is measured (to a certain degree) by the TDS (total dissolved solids) of the brew.  TDS is basically the amount of 'coffee stuff' in the liquid.  Another element to this is extraction percentage.  The most you can possibly extract out of coffee grounds with water is around 30%.  The 'ideal' range (SCAA Gold Cup standards) is 18%-22%.  Anything over 22% is basically giving you bitterness and crap you don't really want to taste (not more strength).
For all brew methods but espresso you want a TDS of about 1150 to 1350 (not including the water's preexisting TDS) and the aforementioned 18%-22% extraction percentage.  
So if you think about it, there is a certain amount of water (at a proper temp) that will properly extract a given amount of coffee (with appropriate grind).  If you add more coffee you are lowering the extraction percentage (towards underextraction) but you are increasing strength.  So it is possible to have strong underextracted coffee or conversely weak, overextracted coffee.
Anytime you change one of the primary brewing factors (coffee throw weight, water volume, dwelltime, turbulence, grind, water temp) you are affecting the other factors and altering both the TDS and the extraction percentage.
To make it more confusing, there are a number of different ways to achieve the 'ideal' range and each of the combinations of variables will give you a different (but still usually good) perspective of the coffee.

Here's Bunn's version of the SCAA Coffee Brew Control Chart

The importance of this book can't be overstated.

When you're ready to really dig into this, I'd suggest this stuff or something like it.

 
Michael
Wandering Goat Coffee Co.

Coffee is an event.
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richedie
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 683
Location: Pennsylvania
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jul 5, 2007, 5:26am
Subject: Re: Coffee strength....
 

Thanks for the great information. I know I'll be buying that book eventually.
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