Pour over coffee is a quick, easy way to get your caffeine fix in the morning. Compared to other coffee methods, it is far simpler and takes up less time.
However, pour over coffee often results in a weaker brew than other methods, such as a French press or using an espresso machine. If you like a more robust cup of coffee or need that extra caffeine fix to get you going, then you may be struggling with your pour over mugs.
Luckily, there are solutions to this problem that don’t involve downing multiple cups of coffee or reluctantly learning how to use a more complicated method.
Here are a few ways you can make your pour over coffee stronger.
What Is Pour Over Coffee?
Before you can figure out how to make your pour over coffee stronger, you need to understand what this coffee-making method is and how it works.
Pour over coffee works just like its name says. You pour hot water over coffee grounds to get coffee. Usually the grounds are in a paper filter placed over a carafe or mug.
The hot water interacts with the coffee beans to form coffee. The paper filter strains out the coffee from the beans, leaving you with the perfect cup for your morning brew.
Sometimes, pour over coffee is called filter coffee. Many people confuse it with drip coffee, but the two are not the same.
Why Is Pour Over Coffee Weaker Than Other Methods?
Pour over coffee is weaker than coffee brewed through other methods, such as espressos or Turkish-style coffees, because it is a slower, more delicate process.
That does not mean that your pour over coffee is necessarily going to be weak and mild. If you adjust your method, it can pack quite a punch.
The beauty of pour over coffee is that you have perfect control over the final result. Every step in the process is customizable.
That means that by adjusting your methods a little, you can make the coffee stronger.
1 – Try the Double Pour Over
The first suggestion is deceptively simple—just brew your coffee twice.
The double brew method is a common way of making stronger coffee that amateur and professional baristas use in other methods. You can adapt it to use with pour over coffee.
First, make your coffee as you normally would. Then, take the coffee that you got from the first pour and pour it through the filter again, as if it were boiling water.
The coffee acts like plain hot water would and extracts more flavor from the beans. The extra caffeine gives the existing coffee liquid a much-needed boost.
However, you need to be careful with the double pour over method. Liquid needs to be very hot to extract flavor and caffeine from the coffee beans or grounds. If your coffee has cooled down too much, then you won’t actually make it stronger by pouring it through again, you will just waste your time.
To keep your coffee warm enough to attempt the double pour over method, invest in an insulated mug or carafe that will maintain the coffee’s temperature. You can also quickly heat up the coffee before pouring it through.
2 – Increase the Heat of the Water
Your water needs to be very hot to yield the perfect cup of coffee. Water that is too cold will not extract flavor from the grounds, leaving you with a weak, watery brew.
Many coffee roasters recommend that you use water that is at about 205 degrees Fahrenheit for your pour over cup.
If you’ve been struggling with weak coffee, try heating your water to a higher temperature and see if that will yield the flavor that you want.
3 – Adjust Your Ratios
The ratio of grounds to water in your pour over coffee cup matters. The more grounds that you add, the stronger your coffee will be. Inversely, the fewer grounds that you have, the more watery your coffee because the water will not have enough coffee grounds to extract flavor.
Most coffee roasters recommend 6 to 10 grams of coffee grounds per 100 milliliters of water. If you want to make a stronger cup of coffee, your coffee content should be on the higher end of that scale.
If you want to adjust your ratios, start with incremental changes. Add a gram of coffee at a time until you reach the desired strength in your cup. You don’t want to add too much at once because then you risk making a cup of coffee that is far too bitter.
These precise ratios are why many coffee roasters recommend getting a scale for your pour over coffee. This allows you to control exactly how much coffee goes into each cup and brew more consistent cups rather than just eyeballing the amount of grounds you put into the filter.
You should also use a different ratio depending on the type of roast that you are using. For medium or light roasts, you should use a higher ratio of coffee to water to extract the most flavor out of the grounds.
4 – Grind Your Grounds
Pour over coffee gets its flavor from coffee grounds in a filter. The coffee spreads across all of the grounds and gets its flavor from interacting with them.
When the coffee grounds are too coarse, then there is less surface area for the water to flow over, which results in weaker coffee. Grounds size is particularly important when using cone-shaped pour overs because then the water spends less time interacting with the coffee beans and needs to extract as much flavor as possible.
Try grinding your coffee beans more the next time that you make pour over coffee and see if that will affect the strength of your cup. For most pour overs, roasters recommend a medium-coarse grind unless you are using a cone-shaped pour over, in which case you should use a medium-fine grind.
5 – Improving Your Pour Over Coffee Technique
Although brewing pour over coffee seems simpler than firing up an espresso machine, there is actually a complex science behind making the best pour over coffee. An error in any part of the extraction process could land you with a weak cup of coffee.
Here are a few tips for improving your mastery of pour over coffee, which should help you brew stronger coffee as well.
6 – Choose Your Pour Over Cone Carefully
If you are using a filter or pour over cone, then it is very important that you choose the right size. The size of the cone affects how well the coffee and water will interact.
If the cone is too shallow, then the coffee will taste weak and not develop robust-enough flavor. Choose a deeper cone or go for a precision dripper such as Bonmacs to increase your control over the process.
7 – Get Fancy with Your Pouring
Sometimes, just dumping hot water over your coffee grounds won’t get you the results that you need. You should pour your hot water slowly, allowing it to really seep into the grounds.
Some baristas like to use a spiral method, where they pour the hot water while creating an even, circular spiral. This allows for even distribution of hot water over your coffee grounds and increases the pressure of the water.
8 – Use Quality Ingredients and Equipment
The best way to ensure that you will get a strong, flavorful cup of coffee is to use the best ingredients. Pay attention to your coffee beans and splurge for the quality ones as that will get you the best flavor in your cup.
You should also use good water. While some baristas swear by using spring water for pour overs, you don’t have to go that far. As long as the water is good enough to drink, it is good enough to use in your coffee.
Finally, your equipment also matters. You should use a precision grinder to get your beans down to a powder fine enough for the water to brew strong coffee. You also need the right size filter or cone.
If you really want to go above and beyond with your pour over coffee, you can get a range of extra equipment including a special insulated carafe to keep the coffee warm, a scale to precisely measure out your coffee grounds, and even precision drippers.
How to Make Your Pour Over Coffee Stronger
There are many advantages of pour over coffee, but sometimes the brew that results from this method is much weaker than you would like.
Before reaching for an espresso machine, try to make adjustments to the brewing process. It’s possible that your water temperature is too low, your coffee grounds are too coarse, or that your ratio of water to coffee is off. Any one of these factors and several others could affect the strength of your coffee.
The beauty of making pour over coffee is that the process is highly customizable. By making adjustments at every step of the way, you can get the exact cup of coffee that you want. Just be sure that you are using the best beans, have the right equipment, and are up to date on your technique.