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.
How would you all list the methods to alter coffee strength?
Assuming brew method is consistent I would say the following:
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.
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