Plunger, espresso, filter? Bitter coffee doesn’t mean ‘stronger’

Coffee – one bean with numerous applications. There are numerous ways to brew coffee, including espresso, filter, plunger, percolator, and instant. Each method has different requirements for equipment, timing, temperature, pressure, coffee grind, and water.

Our brewing method preferences may be cultural, social, or pragmatic. But to what extent do they affect the contents of your cup?

Which brew is the strongest?
It depends. In terms of milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml), espresso methods are typically the most concentrated, capable of delivering up to 4.2 mg/ml of caffeine. This is approximately three times higher than other brewing methods, such as the Moka pot (a type of boiling percolator) and cold brewing (1.25 mg/ml). Drip and plunger methods (including French press and Aeropress) cost roughly half again as much.

Espresso methods extract the most caffeine due to a number of factors. The finer the grind, the greater the contact between the coffee and water. Additionally, espresso uses pressure to force more compounds out of the water. While other methods brew for longer, this method has no effect on the caffeine content. Caffeine is water-soluble and easy to extract, so it is released early in the brewing process.

However, these comparisons are based on typical extraction circumstances, not consumption circumstances.

Therefore, while espresso provides the most concentrated product, it is delivered in a much smaller volume (just 18-30ml) than most other methods. A recent Italian study determined that a typical final serving size for filter, percolator, and cold brew coffees is 120 milliliters.

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