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Best Way To Measure Coffee And Water Perfectly

At home, most people estimate their coffee-to-water ratio when preparing a cup or pot of coffee.

Although this method usually works well enough, using a more accurate method to achieve the proper ratio of ground beans to water can help you create a cup of coffee that’s delicious, flavorful, and potent.

woman pouring coffee into a clear mug

Coffee-to-Water Ratios

One of the best ways to measure coffee and water for the perfect cup of coffee is to use a ratio of ground beans to water.

The correct ratio, however, will generally depend on what brewing method you’re using.

Most home brewers use a drip or percolator-style coffee machine, and these machines are efficient when it comes to extracting flavor and caffeine from the ground coffee beans.

For this reason, you can use a ratio of coffee to water that’s between 1:16 and 1:17, meaning you’ll need 16 or 17 parts water to one part coffee.

chalkboard coffee to water ratio

Although this ratio can give you a good idea of how much water and coffee you’ll need, it can make measuring confusing, so it’s easier to think about it in terms of grams and milliliters.

For these ratios, you’ll want to use about 60 grams of coffee for every 1000 milliliters of water or about 10 to 11 grams of coffee per 180 milliliters or 6 fluid ounces of water.

Six fluid ounces is the standard size for a cup of coffee on most U.S. coffee makers. This gives a ratio of 1:16.67.

If you’re making pour-over coffee, you can use the same ratio of 1:16 or 1:17. For a French press, you’ll want to use slightly more coffee or slightly less water, as a French press doesn’t extract flavor and caffeine as well as a drip-style coffee maker.

The best ratio is 1:15. You can change this ratio into grams and milliliters by deciding how much water you want to use.

For example, if you want to make a 6-ounce or 180-milliliter cup, you would divide the 180 milliliters by 15 to get 12, telling you that you’ll need 12 grams of ground coffee.

180ml / 15 = 12g

Using a cold brewing method is even less efficient, but it produces a mild, sweet coffee that many people prefer. For cold brew coffee, use a ratio of 1:8.

This means that you’ll need about 22.5 grams of coffee for every 180 milliliters of water.

You can also adjust your ratios depending on personal preference. If you like stronger coffee, for example, add a bit more coffee or reduce the amount of water.

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Using Scoops and Tablespoons

Measuring ground coffee beans by weight is the best way to create the perfect ratio of coffee to water, which will lead to a delicious cup of coffee.

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However, not everyone has a kitchen scale handy, and measuring ground coffee by weight can be time-consuming. Instead, many people prefer to use tablespoons or a coffee scoop.

In general, 1 tablespoon of coffee weighs about 5 grams, so 2 tablespoons should get you close to the amount of ground coffee needed for one standard cup of coffee.

In theory, coffee scoops are supposed to hold 2 tablespoons of coffee, so you can use a scoop to get a good estimate.

However, scoops are not standardized, unlike tablespoons, so you may want to measure how much your particular scoop holds and adjust how much coffee you add accordingly.

coffee scoop with ground coffee

Dark, Medium, and Light Roast Weights

Coffee beans are roasted for different lengths of time to bring out various flavors. Dark beans have been roasted longer than medium beans, which have been roasted longer than light beans.

Because they’re roasted longer, dark and medium beans are drier and therefore weigh slightly less.

The standard idea that 2 tablespoons of coffee weigh about 10 grams is based on dark roasts. For medium roasts, you may want to use about 1/5 less coffee.

For light roasts, you can use up to 1/3 less coffee. However, dark roasts are often stronger, so you may not want to use less of a light or medium roast, depending on your coffee preferences.

various types of coffee beans on wood table

Whole Bean vs. Ground Bean Weight

Whole and ground beans weigh about the same amount, so you don’t have to worry too much about whether you measure out your beans before or after they’ve been ground.

Measuring Water

When measuring coffee and water, it’s important to understand what size is given for a standard cup of coffee and how this correlates to your coffee mug size.

A standard measurement for a single cup of coffee in the United States is only 5 or 6 ounces. Most 12-cup coffee makers, for example, only hold 60 fluid ounces of coffee.

However, most coffee mugs hold between 8 and 12 ounces of liquid.

If you add milk or cream to your coffee, you may only want your single cup of coffee to contain around 6 ounces, but if you want a full mug of coffee, you might want to consider making two servings of coffee by using up to 12 fluid ounces of water.

Six fluid ounces is equal to about 180 milliliters. A U.S. measuring cup, on the other hand, holds about 240 milliliters or just over 8 fluid ounces.

Using a standard liquid measuring cup with either cups or milliliters printed on it can help you determine how much water to add to obtain the proper coffee-to-water ratio.

white ceramic mug filled with coffee surrounded by coffee beans

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