How To Steep Coffee: Make A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 22nd, 2022

Do you love the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee? Are you looking for an easy way to make a delicious cup of java? If so, then steeping coffee is the perfect solution. This post will discuss why steeping coffee is the best way to make great-tasting coffee at home.

What is steeping coffee?

Steep coffee is a brewing method that involves soaking or steeping the grounds in hot water. This process is similar to making tea, but instead of using tea leaves, you use ground coffee beans. By steeping the beans in hot water for a certain amount of time, the flavor and aroma of the beans are extracted into the water.

clear glass measuring cup with black liquid

This brewing method is becoming increasingly popular as it yields a smooth, full-bodied cup of coffee with minimal effort. The process is simple and can be done with minimal equipment, making it ideal for those who don’t have access to fancy coffee makers or grinders. Steeping coffee also eliminates the need for paper filters, making it an environmentally friendly option. With its convenience and great taste, steep coffee is quickly becoming a favorite among coffee lovers!

How it works

Steeping leaves coffee grounds in hot water for a few minutes. If you opt to use cold water, it can take as long as several hours. As established, extraction then takes place. Once it’s done, filter out the grounds, leaving you with your fresh brew.

Many coffee lovers believe steeping is one of the best methods to extract coffee compared to other ways, such as drip or pour-over. This is because longer contact between the beans and water allows more flavors to come through.

Benefits of brewing coffee with the steeping method

Brewing coffee with the steeping method offers several advantages over other brewing methods.

First, steeping allows a more complex flavor and aroma to be extracted from the coffee grounds. The extended contact time with hot water releases more of the coffee’s aromatic oils and flavors. The result is a more full-bodied cup of coffee with more complexity and depth than that achieved with quicker brewing methods like drip or pour-over.

Another advantage of steeping is that it is easy to control the strength of the brew. Steeping times can be adjusted to produce a stronger or weaker cup of coffee. Additionally, some types of grind sizes can be used, and the chosen size will affect the brew’s extraction time and strength.

Finally, steeping requires fewer pieces of equipment than some other brewing methods. All you need is a container for the grounds, hot water, and a filter for straining the grounds once the brew is finished. This makes steeping an ideal choice for people just starting home brewing or looking for an easy, low-cost way to make great-tasting coffee at home.

What is the difference between brewing and steeping coffee?

Although the two methods of coffee preparation yield the same final product, brewing and steeping coffee are entirely different.

When you’re brewing coffee, whether it’s a conventional coffee maker, a Keurig, or a pour-over, you’re pushing hot water to move through ground coffee beans. It’s a transparent material when the water comes in. It’s coffee when the other hand comes out. In the meantime, it has picked up all the oils and flavors from the coffee beans, giving you the dark, chocolatey, slightly acidic tones that are normally present in brewed coffee.

On the other side, when you steep your coffee, you have to immerse your coffee in a container of hot water. The coffee grounds are then kept in contact with hot water for 1-4 minutes or more, allowing the oils and flavors to seep out of the grounds and into the water. The result is a very close cup of dark, acidic tones of coffee.

Steeping time

selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

There is no one way to determine steeping time as it depends on several factors. Your preferences come into play as well.

Does longer steeping mean stronger coffee?

Generally, for a stronger cup of coffee, allowing the grounds to steep for longer. For a lighter cup, steep it for shorter periods. When it comes to timing, a good rule of thumb is two minutes for a soft cup, four minutes for a medium cup, and six minutes for a bold cup. Once your desired brewing time is reached, press the plunger down and pour your freshly brewed coffee. Enjoy!

Let’s have a quick rundown of things to consider when deciding the steeping time.

  1. Grind size

Be it drip or immersion method, grind size is gold. The taste of your brew will depend on it as well.

Generally, steeping requires a coarser grind size than the drip method because a coarse grind size allows full flavor extraction without excessive bitterness or vice versa. As a rule, the coarser the grounds, the longer the duration of your steeping time should be.

The grind’s coarseness will affect the time you need to steep your coffee and the flavor you get. A coarse grind will produce a milder flavor, while a fine grind will result in a stronger cup of coffee. You’ll want to use a medium-coarse grind to get the most out of your steeped coffee. This will give you a good balance between the strength of the flavor and the steeping time.

  1. Preferred coffee strength

Bolder and stronger coffee requires a longer steeping time because you will need more extraction to get more flavors. On the other hand, if you find your brew too strong or bitter, experiment by reducing your steeping time.

  1. Brew method

Although steeping is almost always associated with the French press, other methods utilize this process too. An example of this is cold brew.

Since the French press involves using hot water (up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit), you need not steep it for too long since more extraction takes place with the help of heat. Therefore, 4 minutes of steeping time should be enough for a delicious cup of the French press.

Conversely, cold brew will need a longer steeping time since it does not use heat. The steeping time can range from as short as 6 hours to a whopping 24.

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. Yes, the longer the steeping, the stronger the coffee, but it also leaves room for even the unpleasant flavors to be extracted into your cup. So we figured that might not be a desirable case.

Can you overstep coffee?

Steeping for longer than 4 minutes will add more acidity to your java. In short, you can rely more on the ground quantity than steeping time for a stronger coffee.

How to make steeped coffee: The basics

Making steeped coffee is a simple process that requires the right equipment and a few simple steps. To get started, you’ll need freshly ground coffee beans, a brewing vessel such as a French press or Aeropress, and hot water.

  • Start by grinding the coffee beans into a coarse grind. This will help ensure that the grounds are not over-extracted from the water and will help regulate the release of flavor-enhancing oils.
  • Once the beans are ground, place them into the brewing vessel and add hot water.
  • Allow the grounds to steep in the water for 3-5 minutes, depending on your preferred cup strength.
  • After the steeping time has passed, press down on the plunger or filter to separate the grounds from the liquid.
  • Finally, pour your steeped coffee into a mug and enjoy!

Troubleshooting common coffee steeping problems   

Troubleshooting common problems with steeping coffee is a simple process. If your coffee tastes too weak, you may need to increase the grind size. If it tastes too strong, you should use a finer grind size. If it does not taste like much of anything, then you may need to steep it for longer or adjust the water temperature.

Additionally, if your coffee tastes bitter, you may need to use a coarser grind size or lower the water temperature. Finally, if your coffee is too acidic or has a sour taste, you may need to steep it for shorter amounts. These adjustments are easy to make and can help you achieve the perfect cup of steeping coffee.


There are a handful of factors to determine steeping time, which depends on your preference. Trial and error are key if you are new to the steeping world. Rest assured that one day, you will also master the brew that’s perfect for you!

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.