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Pros and Cons of Concentrated Coffee: Is It Worth It?

Whether you prefer an icy cold brew or a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning, there’s one way you can turn your morning mug into an even bolder, richer experience: concentrated coffee. 

Keep in mind, concentrated coffee is not for the faint of heart. If your go-to coffee drink involves a lot of extra cream, sugar or syrups, concentrated coffee is unlikely to be your jam, as it really packs a punch. 

But for those who want an extra kick to help jump start their day (or who want to use coffee in a recipe or alcoholic beverage), concentrated coffee might be your new best friend.

So what exactly is concentrated coffee? Simply put, it’s coffee that is so strong it typically needs to be diluted in order to create a smooth drinking experience. Other types of coffee – for example, your usual cup of Chemex- or Nespresso-brewed coffee – can be consumed exactly as they’re brewed, meaning they’re smooth enough to be enjoyable in their exact amount without needing water or milk. 

Concentrated coffee, on the other hand, is intended to be consumed in a smaller amount, with a designated amount of water or milk added to it. While the process itself is relatively new compared to other brewing methods like pour-over, espresso or French press, it’s just as effective and easy. 

With that in mind, you may be asking yourself: is it worth it to incorporate concentrated coffee into my ritual? Whether you buy it or make it yourself, here are a few things to consider:

Pro: It’s so concentrated that you can drink less and feel more

Sometimes, our mornings can get off to such a hectic start that we don’t necessarily have time to be nursing a regular-sized hot cup of coffee before it gets cold or an iced coffee before it gets diluted. This is where concentrated coffee comes in handy. It’s so powerful that you don’t need to pour as much to begin with, and its strength means that even if you dilute it with water and work on it over the course of an hour or so, it won’t lose any flavor!

Con: It requires a special brewing process

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could convert to the ways of coffee concentrate without having to invest time or money in the special process it takes to create it? While the process itself is quite simple, you may not have the time or desire to learn how to do it. After all, there’s something special about taking those few short moments in the morning to make yourself a fresh pour-over or latte. 

However, there’s something comforting about the good old-fashioned “set it and forget it” nature of a classic brew that you can schedule overnight – and it turns out, making coffee concentrate offers that same convenience. 

Thankfully, the process really isn’t all that tricky. Simply fill a large measuring cup with coarsely ground coffee and pour a slow, steady stream of cold water over it until the coffee is completely covered. Be sure to stir regularly! After that, all you need to do is let it sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours. 

Pro: It’s versatile and works well in many drinks and dishes

Sometimes you simply aren’t in the mood for such a strong cup of coffee that sends an immediate jolt through your system – thankfully, coffee concentrate offers so much more than that. In fact, if you prefer a sweet latte or iced coffee, you can still use your coffee concentrate to make it! Just be sure to use a little less than you normally would, since even when you mix it with sweet add-ons, the strength of the concentrate will be apparent. 

If you have a sweet tooth, try using coffee concentrate the next time a recipe calls for a bit of coffee. You’ll love how much richness of flavor it adds to a batch of espresso chocolate chip cookies or an espresso martini!

Con: It requires you to be more selective with your beans

While this isn’t a true con and may not even make much of a difference for certain palettes, experts recommend choosing the highest quality beans you can to make your own concentrated coffee. This is because the process is so slow and intentional that it picks up every diverse facet of the bean’s flavor profile.

Luckily, there are many options on the market nowadays for people who don’t want to worry about remembering to brew their concentrate every night before bed. Check out your local grocery store or favorite online retailer for pre-bottled concentrates that will help your morning routine be quicker (and more powerful) than ever.

Whether you’re all-in when it comes to concentrated coffee or still on the fence about it, you should definitely give it a try at least once – you may find that it becomes your new go-to!


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