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The 1 Perfect Ratio Of Coffee To Water For Every Brew Method

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coffee water ratio

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Brewing delicious coffee at home shouldn’t be complicated. But with so many brewing styles to choose from, something as basic as the ratio of coffee to water can be a bit confusing.

So, we’ve created this simple guide to coffee water ratios to assist you in your daily home brewing adventures.

So, let’s get brewing.

Ratio Of Coffee To Water

Getting the ratio of coffee to water right is essential in improving the quality of the coffee you brew at home.

While several factors come into play when brewing coffee (coffee beans used, grind size, water temperature, etc.), the coffee water ratio is equally important.

To get the most accurate measurements possible, we always recommend using a scale to measure coffee and water to ensure your ratio is on point.

Using a scoop or a tablespoon is a less reliable alternative, so for the purposes of this simple reference guide, you’ll find our recommendations listed in grams.

We’ve provided a sample measurement for common batch sizes for each coffee brewing style. However the ratio of coffee to water may be easily adjusted for any batch size to suit your taste.

Coffee Water Ratios – Easy Reference

BREW METHOD

COFFEE WATER RATIO

BATCH SIZE

COFFEE

WATER

POUR OVER

1:16

2 Cups

30g

480g

FRENCH PRESS

1:12

4 Cups

60g

700g

COLD BREW

1:5

4 Cups

70g

350g

DRIP COFFEE

1:15

6 Cups

60g

900g

AEROPRESS

1:6

2 Cups

30g

180g

MOKA POT

1:10

2 Cups

40g

400g

Coffee Water Ratios Explained

Hand holding stainless pour over dripper above carafe, Perfect coffee water ratio
Best pour over coffee ratio

Pour Over Ratio

Like every other type of coffee, pour over coffee requires some finessing to get the ratio of coffee to water just right for your taste.

We typically use a 1:16 coffee water ratio. In other words, 30g of coffee and 480g of filtered water for a whole batch. Start here and adjust as desired.

Ratio For French Press

Coffee is a personal journey, and French press coffee is no exception. As with the pour over method, french press brewing requires some experimentation to figure out how to make the perfect French press coffee for you.

So, what’s our recommended ratio for French press?

We advise starting with a 1:12 coffee water ratio and adjusting from there. But for best results, we recommend staying somewhere between 1:10 and 1:18.

Remember that French press coffee, by design, is meant to be heady, rich, and full-bodied, so start strong and add water as needed until you find your favorite ratio of coffee to water for French press.

Fellow Clara French press in black

Ratio For Cold Brew Coffee

The ideal ratio for cold brew coffee is 1:5 coffee to water. 

This ratio for cold brew coffee will work well with most roasts. We like to use a medium roast coffee for our cold brew, but light roast is also quite popular.

When making French press cold brew, you should shoot for around 60-70 grams of coffee to 300-350 grams of water.

Remember: the best cold brew ratio will result in a potent cold brew concentrate that’s diluted with milk or water before consumption; therefore, 4 cups of cold brew concentrate yields 6-8 cups of coffee.

Pouring coffee from beehive carafe into speckled ceramic mug,

Ratio For Drip Coffee

When we refer to drip coffee, we mean coffee brewed in an electric drip coffee maker (as opposed to a manual pour over coffee).

We advise starting with a 1:15 coffee water ratio for drip coffee and adjusting from there. But for best results, we recommend staying somewhere between 1:15 and 1:18.

Why the range? When deciding on a coffee water ratio, one thing to consider is how you or your guests prefer to take the coffee. If the coffee is diluted with cream, this must be considered when determining the ratio of coffee to water for all brewing methods.

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A lower coffee to water ratio is a better place to start for those who take cream and/or sweetener in their coffee. If the coffee is consumed black, there is more room to play with the ratio. 

We find that a 1:17 coffee water ratio works exceptionally well for black coffee, as more of the flavor nuances are drawn out with the additional water.

Another point to consider is the type of coffee bean. While a lighter roast may taste better at a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water, you might find that your favorite medium-dark roast is better extracted at a 1:16 ratio

But, for most people, a coffee water ratio of 1:15 will work well. Start here and adjust as needed.

Airscape coffee storage canister in turquoise
Airscape Stainless Steel Coffee Canister

Ratio For AeroPress

The AeroPress is a different brewing method than the previous four. When considering the best ratio of coffee to water for the AeroPress, it must be acknowledged that the AeroPress brews an espresso-style cup of coffee.

When we refer to “cups” with the AeroPress, it should be noted that a “cup” of coffee from an AeroPress will be most similar to a shot of espresso in size.

The AeroPress brews a highly concentrated, small cup of coffee. Therefore, 2 cups of AeroPress coffee (aka the max it will brew) is more similar to a double shot of espresso.

moka pot pouring coffee into short glass with ice, Using filtered water for coffee
how to use moka pot
moka pot ratio

Coffee Ratio For Moka Pot

Like the AeroPress, the Moka Pot uses pressure (from steam) to brew an espresso-style beverage. In fact, many refer to the Moka Pot as a stovetop espresso maker.

The cup measurements will differ from those from drip brewing methods or the French press. 

Depending on the size of the Moka Pot you choose, it will brew between 1 and 8 espresso-sized cups of coffee. The coffee from a Moka Pot is strong, rich, and the closest you can get to an espresso shot without an espresso machine.

ramekin of coffee beans on scale with plants and beans in background

How To Measure Coffee Per Cup

Now that you know the best starting ratio of coffee to water for several brewing methods, how exactly do you measure the coffee and water? In grams? Ounces? Cups?

The big problem with using a scoop to measure coffee is that densities and weights vary from bean to bean, so the scoop method will never be accurate.

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If using a scoop to measure coffee, you’ll want to stick to a tablespoon-sized scoop to be sure you’re getting the correct ratio for drip coffee. The ratio of coffee to water changes as the units of measurement here aren’t interchangeable. 

But to be more accurate and make the math more manageable, we use a scale and measure coffee and water in grams. Always measure whole coffee beans vs. ground coffee, then grind the appropriate amount. This ensures you only grind what you need each time.

So, for example, with a 1:15 coffee-water ratio for drip coffee, we use 60 grams of coffee and 900 grams of water. This recipe for drip coffee yields about 32 ounces of coffee.  

close up of roasted coffee beans in plastic bag with sun streaming in onto beans, Coffee water ratio
Ratio of coffee to water for french press

Pre Ground Coffee Vs. Freshly Ground

Fresh is best for coffee; just like other fruits, coffee does expire. When green coffee beans are roasted, they release carbon dioxide and oils from within the bean. 

The coffee beans begin to oxidize immediately after roasting as the outside of the beans is exposed to air. Once the coffee is ground, more of the bean is exposed to air, thus speeding up the oxidation process (ground coffee becomes stale very quickly).

When you purchase pre-ground coffee, it’s already stale before you even open it (gross). Grinding coffee beans just before brewing ensures maximum freshness and the best possible flavor from the beans. 

Pre-ground coffee is typically ground to medium grind size. While this is the correct grind size for drip or pour over coffee, buying pre-ground limits your brewing options. Grinding the beans yourself with a burr grinder allows you to experiment with several different brewing methods, which is way more fun.

So always buy the freshest whole coffee beans and grind them before brewing. Store your beans in an airtight container or in their resealable foil bag. Once opened, peak freshness lasts about two weeks (or 90 days unopened).

fellow opus grinder
The Fellow Opus Grinder

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re an expert (or at least you’ve got some basic knowledge) on how to get the best ratio of coffee to water for several brewing styles try experimenting a bit.

Coffee is an entirely personal experience; no two coffee drinkers will have identical palettes, so don’t be afraid to adjust the ratios to find your perfect cup of coffee.

These are merely starting points and guidelines to help you on your coffee journey. Happy brewing!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Calatrello

Heather Calatrello owner of ShedLight Coffee Roasters