The one statement that a lot of coffee drinkers often heard and say, that also lead most of them in confusion, that ultimate statement that we all don’t actually get what it means; “I like my coffee strong.” It sounded almost like those who say it really know their coffee. But do they?
So, what does “Strong” coffee means? Does strong mean it’s rich and mouthful and slightly more bitter? Or does it mean it has more caffeine content? Technically you can have both rich and bold, with high caffeine if you have the right beans, the right process and the right brewing method.
Let’s start with “Strong” that refer to the taste. There are three roasting types in coffee: Light, Medium and Dark roast. Dark roast coffee will have more bitterness than the other two, while light and medium roast has lighter and more acidic notes. The darker you roast your coffee, more water content is burn up leaving the coffee with a more ashy profile.
What about “Strong” coffee that refer to the caffeine content? Not all coffee with high caffeine is more bitter, in fact, coffee with high caffeine tends to favor in those with lighter roasting process. But what if you have a medium robusta and a light arabica, which one has more caffeine content? A lot of people seem to think Robusta is not as good as Arabica, looking at the price tag, people will definitely opted Arabica in terms of quality. This is where we assume wrong. As coffee lover, we really cannot define which coffee is better. Everyone has different taste and preferences when it comes to their favorite cup of coffee. Robusta is grown in lower altitude, more resistant to conflicting weather conditions and have a high number of harvest, that is why it’s cheaper and has 3 times more caffeine content than Arabica.
So, going back to our ultimate question, can we have a cup of coffee that is both strong in flavor and in caffeine? Yes we can! As mentioned above, dark roast coffee has less caffeine content, but it also means it is lighter in terms of mass. Here’s the calculation: if (for example) you have 50 grams of each light roast and dark roast bean, you will more likely end up with more bean counts of the dark roast. This means you have almost similar amount of caffeine in both coffee. Unless of course you measure you coffee using a scoop or spoon. With both coffee having the same amount of weight (gram), same water ratio, you will end up having a bolder, richer and “stronger” coffee, with same amount of caffeine, from the dark roast.
With this being said, we need to keep in mind, water ratio, brewing method, roasting profile and other factors play a part in determining our “strong” cup of coffee.