How to distinguish between “strong” and “concentration” of coffee

“Rich” is one of the most common words to describe coffee. What are the characteristics of strong coffee? How to make “strong” coffee? Does strong coffee have a high concentration of caffeine?

What does “thick” mean?

In the coffee world, “strong” is a specific term with a special definition. It doesn’t just mean the intensity of ordinary bitterness or the intensity of high caffeine.

To avoid confusion here, bitterness does not come from the concentration of coffee. Bitterness comes from raw beans themselves, but also from baking.

Sometimes, bitterness can be confused with burnt taste, which may be caused by over baking of coffee or extraction with over heated water. It may also be because the cooked coffee is placed on the heating plate of the coffee machine for too long.

Bitterness and burnt taste can not reflect the concentration of coffee, but the expression is not ideal in taste.

Similarly, coffee with high caffeine content does not mean that it is rich coffee. It just contains a lot of caffeine.

Although most people who drink coffee at home get higher caffeine intake by drinking more coffee, the amount of caffeine and the overall strength of coffee are two different attributes.

Characteristics of rich coffee:

The concentration of coffee is determined by the amount of soluble substances in coffee.

There are many soluble substances in coffee. When the coffee concentration is high, the coffee you drink has a strong sense of massiness and high alcohol thickness, just like drinking Cabernet Sauvignon Red wine.

“Espresso” does not depend on the coffee baking period, but on the extraction of coffee.

The strength of coffee is determined by the ratio of ground coffee powder to water in the brewing process. The person holding the coffee pot determines the strength of coffee. The bitterness of a deep roasted coffee alone does not determine whether it is a strong coffee.

Most extraction methods use a powder water ratio of 1:15-1:18. Want to try the increasing contrast between different coffees,

You can make a cup of coffee with a powder water ratio of 1:18, then use the same extraction method, only change the powder water ratio to 1:17, keep other parameters unchanged, extract another cup of coffee, and then compare and taste.

When the coffee concentration is too high, the coffee taste will be too heavy; Although the taste is thick, it will lack sweetness and strong stimulation of sour and bitter. No matter how good the coffee is, it is not easy to feel its flavor.

For example, when we are tasting espresso with a powder to liquid ratio of 1:2, too high concentration affects our perception of the original taste of coffee. Sometimes it will hinder us from judging the baking degree of coffee and the overall quality of coffee.

Only after the coffee is diluted can the quality of coffee be more easily distinguished.

​When the concentration is too low, the acidity, sweetness and bitterness of coffee will be very weak, the flavor is not obvious, and the taste is thin.

Will espresso also have insufficient extraction?

​Espresso is either made with low powder water ratio / powder liquid ratio or determined by the thickness of coffee powder, but it does not mean that the possibility of insufficient extraction will be completely avoided.

In this regard, it is easier to understand by imagining the taste of insufficient extraction in Italian concentration.

The soluble substances of coffee beans account for 30% of the whole coffee beans. In order to extract the ideal taste, only 15% – 22% of the soluble substances in coffee need to be extracted. However, according to different beans and different baking degrees, the extraction parameters can be adjusted to extract the best taste of coffee.

​When the soluble matter extracted from the coffee liquid is less than 15%, even if the coffee has only a powder to liquid ratio of 1:1.5, the coffee is still insufficient. Therefore, the particle size of the coffee powder needs to be adjusted accordingly to achieve the best concentration of coffee.

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