How To Make (Or Order) The Perfect Cup Of Coffee For You

Weak? Strong? Or somewhere in between? We've got the answer to your caffeine needs.

Our taste for coffee knows no bounds. The world produced about 9.1 million tonnes of the stuff in 2017 alone, with the average Aussie consuming about three kilos per year. That's quite a few cups of Joe.

Whether it's a classic brew or a newfangled hipster trend -- broccoli latte, we're looking at you -- us coffee-lovers want it hot, fast and fresh. But do we really know just what we're slurping down every morning (or afternoon ... or evening)?

The answer is likely, no. Nup. Nada. We just know it tastes good, and helps us keep trucking throughout the day.

A little bit of coffee know-how can go a long way, especially when it comes to minimising or maximising the caffeine factor. It can make the difference between a nice mid-afternoon boost and a sleepless night.

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To get to the bottom of the business of the beans we chatted with founder of Sydney's The Black Lab Coffee Co. and self-professed "coffee nerd" Eli Rami.

Our first question to Rami was about the many different brewing methods out there, and whether they can impact the caffeine strength of the cuppa.

"Yes they can. There are so many different ways to make coffee at home -- French press, instant, or filter -- all these will have different caffeine content," he told ten daily.

Things aren't as simple as that, though. Rami told us that it's not just how you make your coffee but several other factors including bean type -- yes, there's more than one -- water temperature and how finely the beans are ground that affect the caffeine punch your cup ultimately packs.

Different beans

Robusta and Arabica are the two most common types of coffee beans enjoyed around the world, making up 40 and 60 percent of global coffee production respectively.

Robusta is mostly grown in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Brazil but originated in central Africa. Robusta is higher in caffeine and is often used in instant coffee and espresso. 

The plant itself is hardy and can withstand harsh climates at lower altitudes, which tends to make it a lower grade product.

Arabica beans are in some ways the opposite of Robusta. Originating in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula in the 12th century, Arabica is a far more delicate bean with a lower caffeine content that grows best at higher altitudes.

It has to be picked by hand not machine meaning only the best quality fruit makes the cut. It goes without saying then that Arabica is considered a higher grade than Robusta.

Grind size

Rami told ten daily that in short the smaller you grind your beans the higher the caffeine content of your brew. This is because you're exposing more of the bean and thus the caffeine.

If you're after a jolt of caffeine Rami recommends opting for a Robusta bean, and grinding it to a very fine powder then brewing it in a Turkish coffee maker.

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Water temperature

According to Rami the perfect water temperature for brewing coffee is between 90.5 to 96 degrees Celsius.

"Any higher and you'll scald the beans and it will be bitter; any lower and you'll under-extract and end up with an acidic taste, and you'll forgo the full flavour of the bean," Rami told ten daily.

Brew time

This one's easy to understand. The longer the brew time, the more caffeine you'll extract from the ground beans.

So if you're after a gentle boost mid-morning, keep your eye on the time when you're brewing.

Rami likes to leave his morning cup -- which he makes in his preferred way using a French press aka a coffee plunger -- for four minutes. The caffeine keeps him going until lunch, at least.

Roasting

When it comes to roasting beans, Rami was keen to dispel a common caffeine misconception. "People think that the darker the roast, the stronger flavour which means the most caffeine," he said, but turns out this is totally incorrect.

The longer you keep the coffee on the roast the more caffeine you burn off. Dark coffee does not mean more caffeine.

Noted!

If you're craving caffeine and are within range of a cafe Rami suggests you order an espresso as this has the highest caffeine content.

By nature of being a shot, however, espressos are on the small side, so if you need something to wake the dead opt for a double or triple shot.

Want to actually sleep that night? Rami said that a 'half caff' -- half a shot of decaf plus a half shot of caffeine -- is the way to go.

At home, Rami is all about the French press. With correctly ground beans (read: fine) and brew time (four minutes) a cup of French press can pack more caffeine than a triple shot espresso.

Eli Rami's top tips for the best home brew

  • Rami reckons the best home brewing method is a French press -- in Aus they're commonly called a Coffee plunger
  • Don't buy your coffee pre-ground as it goes stale five to ten times faster than beans.
  • Buying beans means you need something to grind them with and Rami recommends spending about $150 on a decent grinder, but, "You can spend 30 to 40 bucks up to a few thousand."
  • Use filtered water, and let it sit for about 30 to 45 seconds after boiling so it cools to the optimum  90.5 to 96 degrees.

Feature Image: Getty