Coffee Brewing Ratios
The Ultimate Guide
Coffee Brewing Ratios - How Much Coffee Per Cup?
Brewing coffee isn’t complicated. All you need is ground coffee, purified water, a measuring tool, and a brew device. However, to get an AMAZING coffee flavor without bitterness, it helps to know the correct coffee to water ratio
For those that enjoy a rich, full-bodied, and aromatic cup of coffee, brewing with a French Press is the way to go! It’s a mainstay in the coffee industry, and rightfully so - it’s a quick and easy modular brew method that, with the right practice, can brew up one tasty cup. Getting started is simple and once learned only takes a few minutes.
For brewing, the SCAA recommends a “Golden Ratio.” This is your baseline coffee weight to water weight ratio that you will build off of when trying new coffees at home. The golden coffee to water ratio is 1 part coffee to 18 parts water. For example, if using 55 grams of coffee, use 1000 grams of water. This is a 1:18 ratio. If you don’t have a scale, this translates to approximately 1 tablespoon of coffee for every four ounces of water.
Now, knowing the correct coffee to water ratio, let’s put it into practice using the tools at your disposal. There are three ways in which we can do this when brewing coffee at home:
A scale is your most reliable measuring tool when measuring coffee weight for brewing. They come in all different shapes and sizes, but we recommend getting one that is compact and kitchen countertop-friendly. Also, make sure your scale measures in grams, as that’s the most commonly utilized unit for coffee brewing. A scale with a built-in timer is preferred.
Liquid Measuring Cup
If you don’t have a scale, a quick and easy way to measure coffee weight is with a liquid volumetric measuring cup. If you keep in mind that 1g of water is 1mL of water, measuring cups become effortless weighing tools for brewing coffee when no scale is accessible.
If neither a scale nor a measuring cup are available, you can’t go wrong with an old fashioned spoon! We can assume each tablespoon scoop that is level and even is around 5 grams. If using an at-home drip coffee pot with a larger brew basket for more coffee, using a spoon is just fine. For better tasting coffee, open the top and stir the water and grind combination every minute or so. While liquid measuring cups and spoons can measure coffee out just fine, they will only provide ballpark measurements. You will need a scale to get the most precise weight and measurement possible, in order to get the best tasting coffee possible! Even 1 gram can make a HUGE difference in coffee taste. With a spoon or measuring cup, that difference can be difficult to determine. Aside from this, scales reduce coffee waste, saving you money in turn. If you have a precise ratio you like, say 1:18, you can write it down on a piece of paper, and test out a 1:15 ratio if you’re feeling like switching it up! Accuracy and precision is king when brewing coffee.
With all that science and measurement out of the way, here is a comprehensive guide to proper baseline coffee ratios for different brew methods:
A french press is an “immersion” coffee brewing method. Instead of dousing your grounds with different amounts of water over a 1-4 minute time period, you are pouring decent sized amounts of water over a bed of coffee grinds and letting the combination sit for a bit, thus immersing the coffee fully. This yields a stronger, more full-bodied cup.
For a french press, start with a 1:15 ratio. That’s 20g coffee to 300g water, or 4 even tablespoons of coffee to 300ml of water. If your coffee is too strong, try a more diluted ratio of 18g coffee to 300g water.
For a comprehensive guide on brewing with a french press, check out our guide, here.
Pour-over coffee executes the same method as a drip coffee maker, but by hand. This is the method we recommend if you are keen on tasting the coffee as it was intended to be tasted. This brewing method will bring out sweetness and acidity in coffees like you’ve never experienced before! This is where the golden 1:18 ratio really shines. However, a more “normal,” brew will be around 1:13 or 1:15. If you like your coffee strong, stick with a 1:10 or 1:12 ratio.
Drip Coffee Maker
At-home drip coffee makers come in all different shapes, and sizes! All ratios reviewed above are applicable here. Let’s start with a 1:15 ratio for good measure. If you are brewing drip coffee at home on a drip brewer without a scale, remember that 1 tablespoon of coffee equals approximately 5 grams. A good tip for coffee brewing in general is to purchase a grinder. If you’re able to grind whole coffee beans as close to the brew time as possible, you will ensure better flavor! Don’t fret if you don’t have a grinder, as most coffee companies will grind their coffee for you pre-shipment.
Time for the fun part: a little experimentation. Assuming we’re brewing drip coffee on our favorite pour over device or drip coffee brewer, let’s start with a 1:18 ratio - 1 gram coffee to 18 grams water, or 18 grams water to 300 grams coffee. To fully test this ratio, we’ll have to brew the coffee and taste.
If yosur coffee is too light and watery, then start by changing the coffee amount ever so slightly - try 20 grams. Since 20 grams of coffee to 300 of water grams is 1:15, we’ve tweaked our ratio a bit to make the flavor more concentrated.
If 1:15 results in coffee that is too strong and bitter, switch to less coffee weight - say 18 grams of coffee - to the same amount of water. If the flavor is still not strong enough for your preferred taste, we can still achieve proper TDS by brewing with a 1:12 ratio (30 grams coffee to 360 grams water) and your coffee will be brewed bold - guaranteed.
Despite all we’ve learned about the science of coffee, the correct coffee to water ratio still comes down to personal preference! A 1:18 ratio may not be suitable for you, but a 1:10 ratio may be too strong! Each brew is as valuable as one another, it’s just a matter of refining your brewing method and ratio to make your perfect cup!! Happy Brewing!