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Get the Right Coffee To Water Ratio With This Guide

coffee to water ratio: three cups of coffee

Feel like your coffee isn’t tasting quite right even though you’re using quality ingredients? Oftentimes, funky coffee tastes come down to not using the right proportions when brewing. That’s where a coffee-to-water ratio comes in. This concept is designed to make brewing a cup of coffee easy. It’s a standard rule of thumb that outlines how much coffee you should use in relation to the amount of water you’re using.

Want to learn more about the right coffee to water ratio? Read on to learn more about this guideline and how you can use it to make your next cup of coffee — whether you’re using a French press, pour-over tool, or espresso machine.

What is the Coffee To Water Ratio?

barista pouring coffee

If you’re new to drinking coffee, you may be wondering what a coffee-to-water ratio is. This concept serves as the foundation for any great-tasting cup of coffee. It’s basically a general guideline to the proper amount of water and amount of coffee in each drink. The ratio is proportional so you can adjust how much coffee you use based on how much water you plan on brewing.

The key thing to note here is that coffee is a personal journey. While the coffee to water ratio is a guideline, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You can tweak how much coffee or water you want in your drink. This guideline is meant to offer a starting point for consumers and is also generally used by baristas when brewing drinks in a coffee shop.

Coffee To Water Ratio: The Golden Ratio

coffee to water ratio: water in pourover coffee

The right coffee to water ratio depends on how you’re brewing your coffee and what measurements you use. Also known as the Golden Ratio, the ideal coffee to water ratio is between 1:15 and 1:18. That means one gram of coffee for every 15 milliliters of water on the stronger end or one gram of coffee for every 18 ml of water for a weaker brew.

That seems straightforward enough, right? Where it gets tricky is when coffee drinkers need to convert to other measurements or adjust different coffee batch sizes. The experts at Roasty Coffee have made an excellent, handy ratio calculator you can use when converting to all types of measurements. For example, the Golden Ratio is one to two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water. For those that prefer metric measurements, the ratio is 10.6 grams of coffee for every six fluid ounces of water.

In general, the best way to stick close to the golden coffee to water ratio is to use a kitchen scale. This way, you can choose the right amount of water and then measure out the perfect amount of coffee to match. Remember, these ratios are just suggestions so think of them as a starting point and experiment to make your brew stronger or weaker.

Different Brewing Methods and the Ratio

barista in blue shirt pouring coffee

The ideal coffee-to-water ratio can change depending on how you’re brewing your coffee, brew time, and how you like it to taste. After all, the perfect cup is personal and the right ratio of coffee to water can vary from person to person. The ratio can also change depending on the type of coffee you’re using. Some coffee beans have stronger-tasting notes so you don’t need as much while others are milder.

Water temperature can also affect the brewing process. With some brewing methods, water is heated to boiling temperature, which results in loss of water through evaporation. This can throw off the right coffee-to-water ratio if you aren’t mindful. In addition, grind size can affect the ratio as well. 

With so many factors involved, it’s useful to break down the coffee-to-water ratio based on the brewing method. Read on to find out the different ratios for different types of coffee.

Pour-Over Coffee

If you like to make pour-over or brewer’s drip coffee, it’s vital to use a kitchen scale when measuring your coffee to water ratio. That’s because this type of brewing method is known for being exact. The ideal ratio for pour-over coffees is 1:17.

French Press Coffee

With a French press, you immerse coarse grind coffee in hot water. The coffee grinds are then separated from the water by pressing down on the filter. Since the ground coffee is immersed and not extracted, there’s more wiggle room in the right ratio. You can increase strength down to a 1:10 ratio if you love strong coffee or go for the milder 1:16 ratio. 

It’s important to note that coarse grinds have much more water around them compared to fine espresso grounds. That means it’s best to use weighted measurements — think grams versus teaspoons — when measuring for your ratio. 

Aeropress

The Aeropress is a great option for people who are new to coffee or those that are intimidated by all this measuring. That’s because it features built-in measurements and a scoop for easy brewing. The water reservoir has several lines that correspond to the number of scoops of coffee. You can adjust the water level to different lines to make the brew stronger or weaker as desired. Think of it as a built-in ratio.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a concentrate rather than a straight brew or an immersion. That means you can use a stronger optimal brew ratio — from 1:5 up to 1:8 — for stronger or weaker flavor. The concentrate is then mixed with nitrogen to create a nitro cold brew or ice to dilute it before consuming. After brewing the concentrate, baristas typically use a 1:2 ratio of concentrate to dilute like ice.

Find Your Favorite Coffee Flavor

coffee to water ratio: different coffee brews

Looking for ways to enjoy better coffee? Check out Cup & Bean for tips on how to make great coffee. You’ll find guides for beginners and more advanced tips for expert coffee drinkers. There’s everything from tips on choosing the best whole bean coffees from famous roasters to discovering the best flavors based on country of origin. Plus, you’ll find product guides for the best coffee makers and tools so you can brew the perfect coffee every time.