“Likewise, a cup of strong coffee has a higher percentage of ground coffee dissolved in hot water than a weak cup. When it comes to intensity, there is no right and wrong – there is only personal taste. ” – James Hoffmann
How do you like your coffee? More to strong or more to weak?
Before you answer, calm down. Some time ago I wrote a post about coffee measurements, about how our measurement system sometimes escapes objectivity and how it can confuse us. It is about one of those little confusions that I want to talk about today, and maybe the answer to that question up there could change at any time. (:
First of all, it is important to clarify that the terms “strong” and “weak” are often used in the wrong way. This is because, normally, marketed coffee packages usually refer to the intensity of the coffee based on how dark your roast is. It means that the coffees whose packaging says EXTRA STRONG in bold, red and burning letters should say EXTRA DARK TOAST – which does not seem very attractive from the point of view of taste, but perhaps it can be used to light the barbecue.
If the packaging in the supermarket is lying, then what is strong coffee and what is weak coffee? And what is the middle ground between the two? Normally, how strong or weak a coffee is depends on its concentration (or “common concentration ”, for those who understand chemistry more than me), that is: how much coffee is in the coffee you drink? What is the ratio of ground coffee to the amount of water? How much of that coffee is dissolved in the cup and how much is left behind?
Says the great James Hoffmann, author of The World Atlas of Coffee, what there are two ways to control the concentration of your coffee. The first and most common is varying the ratio of coffee to the amount of water you are going to use. A good tip is to start your tests using 60g of coffee per liter of water and increase or decrease the proportion according to your taste, exactly as we said in that other post.
The second way to change the concentration of your coffee is to change the level of extraction. This means extracting enough solids from the coffee so that it tastes good, but without going over the point so that bitter and unwanted flavors are not extracted. Hoffmann says that many people do not think about changing the level of extraction when their coffee is not good, but that an extraction error certainly produces a disappointing cup. How to get the extraction right? Controlling the variables. What are the variables? Coffee grinding, time of contact with water and the proportions of your recipe, among others.
For today, remember: dark roasting does not mean strong coffee and light roasting does not mean weak coffee. Let’s repeat this mantra and bring that information to life.
So, how do you like your coffee? 😉
Cover photo: 100layercake.com