Do you crave a bold, intense cup of coffee but can't stand that bitter taste? Fortunately, with the right technique, coffee beans, and kit, you can craft the perfect cup of coffee that packs a punch.

In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of brewing strong, smooth coffee that retains its natural sweetness and complex flavours with none of the bitterness.

Why Coffee Can Taste Bitter

Before we get brewing, it helps to understand why coffee sometimes tastes bitter in the first place. The main culprit is over-extraction. This happens when the hot water draws out too many solids from the ground coffee beans. This over-extracted coffee will be high in acidic and bitter compounds that overwhelm the sweeter, more delicate notes.

Under-extraction can also lead to weak, flavourless coffee, so there’s a fine line to walk. The aim is to extract just enough from the beans to get a rich, full-bodied cup without tipping over into bitterness.

How to Optimise Extraction and Avoid Bitterness

There are 4 key steps involved in creating the ideal cup of strong coffee:

1. Choose the Right Grind Size

How finely you grind your beans determines how much surface area gets soaked in water. This, in turn, determines how effectively you extract flavour from the beans. For intense flavour minus bitterness, opt for a medium-fine grind instead of powdery espresso or coarse French press grounds.

This lets the sweetness release slowly enough that you still get bold coffee flavours that aren’t overly intense or harsh.

2. Heat Water to the Perfect Temperature

Water that’s too cool won't extract efficiently, while overly boiling water scorches out bitter compounds. Heat water to around 93-96°C for the best balance before adding to the coffee grounds. This allows for rich coffee extraction without releasing chemicals that cause bitterness.

3. Choose Your Brew Method Wisely

Your brewing method should allow the ideal contact time between coffee and water for balanced extraction, along with filters that keep out grounds. An AeroPress, for example, has a faster yet complete contact that lets flavour take centre stage without excess compounds that induce bitterness.

On the other hand, a French press or metal strainer can allow too many solids through, contributing to that harsh, biting taste.

4. Follow the Ideal Steeping Time

Brewing coffee right means hitting that sweet spot between under- and over-extraction for full flavour with no harshness or sourness. For most methods, that's around 2.5 to 4 minutes of contact time between coffee and close-to-boiling water.

Strong Coffee Brewing Methods

Here’s how to craft a smooth, strong cup of coffee using some of the most popular home brewing methods.


The AeroPress delivers optimally extracted coffee, letting those sweet and bold notes shine through. Here’s how it works:

  1. Boil the water, then let it cool to 96°C. Add around 17g of freshly ground medium-fine coffee to the chamber.

  2. Give the grinds and water a gentle 10-second stir to kickstart flavour extraction.

  3. Pop the plunger in just enough to seal the chamber without pressing down.

  4. At the 2-minute mark, push the plunger down fully for over 30 seconds.

  5. Top up your mug with more hot water or frothy milk.

  6. Enjoy your perfectly balanced coffee.

Pour Over

Offering ultimate control over brewing variables, pour-over coffee is ideal for bold flavour when you get the timing right. Follow this smooth coffee recipe for best results:

  1. Place a paper filter in your pour-over dripper, then pour freshly boiled water to preheat and rinse the filter, discard.

  2. Add 14g of medium-fine coffee grounds into the filter.

  3. Start the timer, then pour 80g of water over the grinds in circular patterns to bloom for 30 seconds.

  4. Over the next 3 minutes, pour another 120g water in consistent spiralling motions for the ideal extraction.

  5. The coffee should finish draining by 3.5 to 4 minutes for maximum sweetness and body.

  6. Enjoy your smooth, aromatic pour-over coffee flooded with tantalising flavour notes!

French Press

It's easy to over-extract your coffee with a Cafetière , but not if you follow these simple steps:

  1. Boil the water, and then let it cool to 96°C.

  2. For a 500ml french press, add 30g of coarsely ground coffee to the empty French press pot.

  3. Pour the desired amount of hot water over the grounds until they’re completely submerged, leave to brew for 4 minutes.

  4. After 4 minutes, break the crust and stir. Pop the plunger on top to seal it without pressing down.

  5. Allow another 4 minutes of brew time, then press the plunger down fully over 30 seconds.

  6. Enjoy your French press coffee at full richness!

Choose Rave Coffee for Boldness Without the Bitterness

Technique is vital for avoiding coffee bitterness and unpleasant harsh tones. But high-quality coffee beans also make a huge difference by offering inherent sweetness and nuanced flavours.

At Rave Coffee, we offer a range of single-origin beans from across the globe, along with unique blends. With options like The Italian Job Blend No. 2 with a punchy dark chocolate kick, the legendary Indian Monsoon Malabar Coffee No. 53 for a unique taste experience, and the Strong AF Blend No. 666 for the ultimate strong coffee brew, we have something for every strong coffee lover seeking quality over bitterness.


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