Is there really such a thing as the world’s strongest coffee?

The short answer is NO!

Coffee Cherries

So how can someone say they drank the strongest coffee in the world?

Good question? So let’s look a bit deeper into this. Coffee grows on a tree, which produces cherries. The coffee bean is actually the pit of the coffee cherry. The caffeine in the coffee bean is the primary determinant how much caffeine is in your drink. It is NOT allowed to add more caffeine to the coffee you purchase to make it “stronger”

Green coffee

There are two major species of coffee. The robusta bean which has around 2.2- 2.7% caffeine content, and accounts for 25% of the worlds coffee. Robusta’s is primarily used for instant coffees and as fillers. Some roasters use a small portion for their espresso blends. This coffee tends to be bitter and off tasting due to their higher caffeine contend.

The other major species of coffee is arabica and has a lower caffeine content , 1.2-1.5% and accounts for the majority of coffee, nearly 75% of the world’s productions. The best arabica coffees are prized for their sweet flavor, rich body and floral tones. They are relatively expensive and in high demand. These are the coffees you purchase at your local coffee roasters and can find them on line. So the better the bean the less caffeine!

From green to dark

Light roast vs Dark roast.

Does light roasted coffee have more caffeine than darker roaster?

Technically the lighter roast coffee does have more caffeine. Not much, but if you want bragging rights, you roast it lighter. Dark roasted coffee has a more noticeable (stronger) tasted so many people think it has more caffeine. It doesn’t.

Shot of espresso

What about espresso?

Does espresso have more caffeine than regular drip coffee?

The answer is yes and no. First you have to understand what espresso is. There is no coffee grown called espresso and although Italy did popularize the beverage Italy does not grow coffee, (coffee grows between The Tropic of Cancer  at 23.5 degrees North latitude and the Tropic of Capricorn is located at 23.5 degrees South latitude,). Espresso is usually one or more coffees blended to produce that rich, bittersweet beverage, ground very fine, and made under pressure. Ounce for ounce making coffee in an espresso machine does have more caffeine (63 mg of caffeine) than coffee made in a drip coffee maker, but, and this is a big but, no one drinks an ounce of drip coffee. Say your favorite mug is 8 ounces. You would be consuming 95 to 128 mg of caffeine. So a cup of Joe can be more that double that of espresso! If you really want a kick try a red eye which is a shot of espresso added to your drip coffee.

So how do you control the strength of coffee?

There are 3 ways you can make your coffee strong or weak.

1. The ratio of water to coffee. The more coffee you put into your filter and less water you use, the stronger our brew will be. By the way, if you want a weaker brew, I recommend you make your coffee following the general guidelines of 2 tablespoons of ground coffee to 6 ounces of water. Then add more hot water. This will be a more flavorful brew.

2. The finer the grind the stronger the coffee. There will be more surface area with finely ground coffee then with coarsely ground, thus letting the water interact more with the coffee grounds. People ask me all the time why then don’t I just get my coffee ground really fine …like flour? Couldn’t I use less and get the same results as grinding it coarse and using more coffee? True but, you need to match the finest of you grounds with your filter. If you grind coffee really really fine, you will find most filters would clog and either drip very slowly or worst, back up and spill all over. You have to match the grind to the filter.

3. The last method to control the strength of your coffee is how much pressure water is forced through the grinds. Most drip coffee makers rely on gravity to bring the water from your heat source to you carafe. You pour water into your coffee maker, turn it on, it heats up and drips through the grinds into your carafe. At sea level this is done at one atmosphere of pressure. An espresso machine with a pump heats up water, puts it under pressure via a water pump, (up to 10 times more pressure than gravity ) and brews your coffee. This method extracts more of the coffee. This is why people think espresso is really strong. Ounce for ounce it is but as I mention above, the espresso beans do not have any more caffeine then regular coffee. You make coffee strong. You really can’t buy strong coffee.

I hope this helps.