Bob's Blog #4 - I’m Going to Make You Boys Strong!

Bob's Blog #4 - I’m Going to Make You Boys Strong!

The title is a quote from Major Payne one of my go to comedies usually enjoyed with a strong brew of French pressed Dark Roast TPDCC coffee. It is not however the roast that makes my lifer’s juice strong. 

A darker roast does not equate to a stronger cup of coffee. In reality, the lighter the roast the more acidic it is, and the darker the roast the more bitter it is. Period. Though darker roasts tend to taste fuller and are more palatable (in my opinion) one can still make a lighter roast stronger than a darker roast. Please don’t tell me that espresso is stronger than other coffees. Espresso (meaning in a hurry or quick and fast) is not a type of roast or bean but rather a grind and method to making a coffee. You can have a killer espresso from my light roast Peru as much as my dark roast Mexican or Ethiopian. 

So, I’m going to try to dispel a common myth and mistake people make concerning coffee... “it is the roaster or the bean itself that makes for a stronger cup of coffee”.  If you are one of the many who have fallen prey to this common coffee faux pas, don’t feel bad. Nobody comes out of the womb a grower, roaster, or barista.  

To explain, let’s first talk about caffeine. More caffeine does not make your coffee stronger, it just contains more caffeine. One could actually make a cup of decaf coffee (though I personally believe if you’re insistent on making a decaf drink, make an herbal tea or drink a bottle of water) stronger tasting than a high caffeine blend.  

Caffeine is the coffee plant’s natural defense mechanism. The bugs eat on the coffee plant, intake the caffeine, and it seizes up insides causing them to either drop dead or just not ever wanting to eat at that restaurant again. Ironic that so many of us also use coffee as a defense mechanism. Not necessarily as a shield against the world around us, but rather a shield for the world from us. ha ha ha, don’t deny it you know I’m right. 

I figure at this point most of us have been slapped silly by our favorite hipster friend with the knowledge that light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast. The reply to that is, well, kind of. Now don’t get your man bun in a bunch bro its simply that though some roasters like to burn the hell out of their beans, most all coffee is roasted at a temperature no higher than 430-ish degrees Fahrenheit (at its darkest roast). That is important since caffeine does not even begin to diminish until roughly 455-460 degrees Fahrenheit. Where the higher caffeine nugget comes into play is in volume not really roast.  The more you roast a bean, first crack through second crack and beyond to that Star####s level of burnt, the less moisture the bean has remaining. This causes the bean to become darker, larger and lighter (weight wise). The longer the roast, the more the drinker is reliant on the roaster to expose the rich sweetness of a bean. The flip is, the longer the bean roasts, the fewer natural flavor notes the drinker will be able to experience.  

If you were to take a measurement of 50 grams of ground dark roast and 50 grams of ground light roast, you would probably notice that the mound of dark roast is notably larger. The extra time roasting has removed the moisture and made the bean lighter.  If you were to create the same size pile of light roast as that mound of dark roast, you have a larger amount of denser grounds.  Thus, more caffeine.   

But what about Robusta beans Mr. B?  Yes, Robusta naturally has roughly a 30% higher caffeine content than that of Arabica. However, as I stated in a prior blog it is a cheaper, lower quality bean with a not so yummy taste. It is primarily used in blends and it still does not make your coffee stronger, it just has a higher caffeine content, and it ends up being the responsibility of the roaster to figure out how to disguise (or in our case, accentuate) its taste.   

So how do I get a stronger cup of coffee?  That my friend is all at your discretion.  As the coffee drinker you determine the ratio of amount of water to amount of coffee.   

The less water and more coffee the stronger the cup of coffee. It’s that simple. The way you choose to prepare it may affect the body of the coffee (i.e.: French has a better body than drip in my experience) but strength is the amount of coffee in the amount of water you use. Not the bean and certainly not the roast.  So, armed with this knowledge, grab a hair tie, French press and your favorite TPDCC coffee, make a brew strong enough to protect those in your life from you and enjoy. 

May your life be as rich as the coffee you drink, 

Bob “Coffee” Branson 

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