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Question about making stronger coffee.


Does coffee get a stronger flavor if you leave it on for a long period of time? My mother in law insists it does, I think it's a waste of electricity that just burns the coffee. (We're talking 8+ hours of the same pot of coffee sitting on the hot plate.)

I think if she wants stronger coffee she should add more grinds, less water, run the brewed coffee back through the pot, or buy a darker roast, but she insists that if she leaves the machine turned on it makes the coffee stronger. Am I wrong?


Good question. Your mother-in-law is a genuine old-school coffee lover. Yes, if you keep coffee on a burner for hours, it will taste stronger. But there is burned-strong and flavorful-strong. Her way burns off all the volatile oils that carry the flavor and leave you with a cooked, and rather bitter taste.

For a stronger brew that still tastes good, she should follow your advice. (Except for running the coffee back through the pot, which can also make it taste bitter.)

Learn more on our how to make coffee page.

Comments for Question about making stronger coffee.

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Jul 30, 2010
by: bindyb

does coffee get stronger just sitting in the cup for two days?

Jul 22, 2009
Coffee ain't doesn't get better with age!
by: Marc the Shark

Your window of opportunity for drinking coffee that is kept warm on a burner is about 20 minutes. You can always tell when the coffee is old by its smell and by the color when you add cream. After that you may as well forget about it! Throw it away as the health benefits and flavor that are present in freshly brewed or dripped coffee have been cooked off. Some feel that old, burnt coffee may even have carcinogens. Look at it this way...fresh coffee is a liquid which contains the oils and essence extracted from the beans according to certain measured amounts; a coffee to water ratio. As it sits on the burner water is evaporated and the oils and tars remain changing the ratio and concentrating the continuously stewing liquid. Eventually all the water will evaporate and what is left behind is a black tar like goop. If you like it strong then add more grounds when you brew it. One time this wise guy from the Bronx gave me burnt coffee, but now he sleeps with the fishes!

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