The Best Coffee to Water Ratio - Golden Coffee Cup

Last Updated On : July 2021
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Coffee to Water Ratio
  • Do you know that heavenly feeling that you get when you take a sip of the perfect cup of coffee?!
  • Isn’t it annoying that sometimes your cup of coffee just doesn’t hit the mark?
  • Would you be excited if I told you that there’s a way to achieve the golden cup of coffee every time?

Well, it’s possible! It just boils down to the coffee to water ratio!

Whether you want to treat yourself to the perfect cup of coffee or just learn how to brew the best coffee from your kitchen counter, this article is for you. I will teach you how to brew the perfect cup of coffee every single time.

Why Does Measuring Matter?

First and foremost, to be consistent and to brew the perfect cup every single time, you have to be precise. And to be precise, you have to measure your coffee and water.

The best way to do that is to use a digital kitchen scale that measures in grams or ounces. Any type would work as long as it is accurate.

Apexstone Digital Scale

  • Weight in grams, ounces & 3 other units
  • Precise measurements
  • Built in timer

Why use a scale instead of scoops? Well, scoops are inaccurate because different coffee beans have different densities depending on their growing conditions and their roast. 

Now the reason why people use ratios when making coffee at home is that ratios can be used in grams or ounces and they are easy to scale up or down - it just requires simple math!

Kitchen Scale - Coffee to Water Ratio

The Golden Coffee Cup Standard

The Golden Cup Ratio was conveyed back in the 1950s by Professor Earl E. Lockhart from MIT, after some intensive research.

The ratio suggests 55 grams of coffee per one liter of water. This equates to a brewing ratio of 1:18 - for every unit of coffee, you need 18 units of water. Easy to repeat without needing to become a scientist in the process!

This Golden Ratio is only a guideline and it doesn’t mean that it works with other types of brewing methods. While this ratio might work for some, I personally found that I prefer a ratio of 1:16

If I’m having milk with my coffee, then I would use the 1:15 ratio to make slightly stronger coffee that stands up to milk.

So ultimately, the right ratio is based on preference, as long as it remains between 1:15 and 1:18

The Best Coffee to Water Ratios

As I mentioned earlier, The Golden Ratio applies mostly to regular drip coffee, but many of us enjoy other types of brewing. So I will teach you how much coffee per cup of water is required for as many brewing methods as possible:

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is one of the most common methods of making coffee at home. These automatic drip machines are super easy to operate and many of them have their built-in grinders.

Drip Coffee to Water Ratio

This is the perfect method for those who want to put as little effort as possible into making their coffee. Just make sure the coffee to water ratio you use is between 1:15 & 1:18

3 Simple Steps

This is how you would make 2 cups of drip coffee with a 1:16 coffee to water ratio:

  1. Measuring the water: 355mL or 355g or 12oz
    Place the empty kettle on the digital scale and press the tare button. This resets the scale so that you are only measuring the water. Add the water to the kettle until you reach 355mL

  2. Measuring the beans: 21g or 0.75oz or 4 tablespoons
    Keep in mind, it is more accurate to use a scale than scoops. Next, place a clean and dry bowl on the scale and hit tare again to reset it. Add the beans until you reach 21g.

  3. Grind & Brew:
    Now that you have the exact amount of water and coffee beans measured, add them to your automatic drip machine and start it. If your machine doesn’t have a built-in grinder, then make sure you grind the beans before adding them to the brewer’s filter.

Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

  • 4 - 18 cup slide dial
  • Scoop & cleaning brush included
  • 18 position grind selector

This chart below will show you how much coffee per cup of water is needed to achieve the perfect coffee to water ratio. Use it to scale up or down the number of coffee cups needed. 

Coffee Brewing Ratio Chart

Coffee to Water Ratio Table

Pour Over

Pour over is another simple way to brew your coffee, but it allows you to be a bit more experimental than drip coffee. 

This method is more of an art because it allows you to control the pouring of the water, its temperature (recommended: 92 - 96 °C or 197 - 204 °F), and for how long it is left to brew.

While it might be ok to not use a scale when using a drip brewer, you will absolutely need it for the pour-over method. I also recommend using a gooseneck kettle for a slow and even stream of water over the freshly ground coffee.

A good coffee to water ratio to start with is 1:17 while using this method. If you don’t have a scale, then you can use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces (355mL) of water. But remember, using scoops will not yield the exact same results every time.

French Press

The French press is considered immersion brewing. In this type of brewing, the coffee is immersed in hot water and left there to brew. A filter is not used and the coffee grounds are completely soaked for the duration of the brew.

French Press Coffee to Water Ratio

Once the brewing is done, the water is filtered out of the grounds, which results in a stronger and bolder flavor!

The recommended range with this method is between 1:11 to 1:17 coffee to water ratio. Play around within these two ranges until you find a ratio that works for you.

Don’t forget, coffee grounds are meant to be coarse for this type of brewing, which is why using a scale is very important. Try to avoid using scoops as much as possible!

Cold Brew

Cold brew is another method of immersion brewing. The main difference between this method and the rest of the brewing methods is that the water is not heated. It either remains at room temperature or it is cooled.

Don’t forget that this method creates a concentrated coffee that is later diluted with water before drinking it. So don’t be alarmed with the coffee to water ratios that I am about to share!

The best starting point for this method is a coffee to water ratio of 1:8, but some who prefer stronger coffee will most likely go for a 1:5 ratio. 

When you are ready to have a cup of cold brew, the next step would be to dilute only the amount you are planning to drink. Do not dilute the whole carafe! The ideal ratio is 1:2 coffee to water and ice.

Of course, this method also allows you to tweak the dilution or brew ratio according to your preferences.

Aeropress

The Aeropress is a very popular tool these days because you are able to get anything from a regular coffee brew to an espresso-like concentration by simply changing the coffee to water ratios.

What makes this tool even more desirable is the fact that it comes with its own measuring system and scoop. All you have to do is follow the instructions provided and you’re good to go.

Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker

  • 1 - 3 cups
  • Includes funnel, scoop & microfilters
  • Quick & easy to clean

Play around with the recommended coffee to water ratios from the brand until you find something that works for you.

Watch Out for These Issues

When you are making your coffee and you are trying to figure out how much coffee per cup of water is required, always make sure you follow the recommended coffee to water ratios for each brewing method.

Try to avoid going lower than the recommended coffee water ratio to get stronger coffee, because it won’t end up tasting as good. Instead look for darker coffee roast which will yield stronger tasting coffee without having to steer away from the best coffee to water ratios.

Also avoid going higher than the recommended coffee water ratio if you prefer weaker coffee. This could result in over extracted coffee and a bitter taste. Instead, buy a lighter coffee roast for a lighter tasting coffee.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee to Water Ratio

How do I know how much coffee per cup is needed?

To figure out how much coffee you need for a serving size, first figure out how much water that serving size requires, then divide it by the coffee to water ratio you are using. For instance, if you want to make 2 cups of coffee, the amount of water needed is 355mL, divide that by 15 (if you are using a 1:15 ratio) and you get 24g of coffee.

Now let’s say you have a certain amount of coffee and you want to know how many cups you can make. Then multiply the amount of coffee by the coffee to water ratio. So if we are using the same ratio and we have 85g of coffee, then we could make 1,275mL of coffee (85x15) which is about 7 servings of coffee.

Why do I need a scale to make a cup of coffee?

For some brewing methods, using a digital scale is vital if you want to consistently achieve a quality cup of coffee, such as the pour over and drip coffee. 

For others, it is helpful but not crucial, such as the French Press and the cold brew. While the Aeropress has its own measurements and scoop for you to use.

How do I measure coffee if I don’t have a scale?

For most of the brewing techniques mentioned earlier, except for the pour over method, you should be able to use tablespoons and cups for measurements. 

To keep it simple, for each serving, use one tablespoon of coffee grounds for every 6oz of water. But I highly recommend using a scale to ensure a quality cup of coffee every single time.

How much coffee do I use for 12 cups?

12 cups of coffee is about 2.1L or 72oz of water, which means you would need about 128g of water if you are using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio. 

Refer to the chart above for other serving sizes.

Final Remarks on Coffee to Water Ratio

See? It isn’t so hard to make the perfect cup of coffee every single time! You just have to make sure you are within the range for the best coffee to water ratio.

So feel free to experiment with the information I shared with you, because at the end you know exactly which coffee to water ratio best suits your taste buds. Happy Brewing!

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