Coffee Brew Ratios (Coffee Basics You Need To Know)

There are different brewing ratios for different methods. Being mindful of brewing ratios is significant to get the desired cup of coffee. Otherwise, the wrong ratio can result in weaker or bitter coffee.

As we talk about coffee in all its glory, it’s important to consider brewing ratios. Since coffee is such a complex beverage, every ounce increase or decrease can result in a different tasting coffee. Therefore, depending on what is your ideal cup of coffee and what methods you’re using to make it, there are some recommended brew ratios.

In this article, we’ll talk about all of these in detail.

Let’s begin.

What Is A 1/15 Ratio For Coffee?

a cup of coffee next to a cup full of coffee beans

No matter whatever brewing method you’re using, 1:15 is the ratio for an everyday cup of coffee. This makes a moderate brew that almost all drinkers enjoy.

Coffee is basically raw beans that are roasted and ground. Then, we crush these coffee beans coffee and turn them into grounds. The process of making coffee is called brewing.

In this process, the water dissolves the soluble coffee compounds. The temperature can be hot or cold and the time of brewing depends on what flavor you want from the coffee. After the brewing is done, the remaining coffee grounds are discarded and the compound dissolved water is our coffee.

Therefore, making coffee is no less than an art. You need to take into consideration a lot of things in order to make that ‘perfect’ cup of coffee like that perfect painting. But since everyone has a different taste palate what should be the ideal ratio for brewing? You see, there are 3 basic brewing ratios that are followed regardless of the brewing method.

They’re as follows:

  • 1:16 to 1:18 – Lighter Brew
  • 1:13 to 1:15 – Moderate Brew
  • 1:10 to 1:12 – Stronger Brew

The above three ratios make for 3 types of brews.

Lighter Brew

If you enjoy a lighter and weaker brew, 1:16 to 1:18 is your ratio. This means that for 1 part of coffee you need 16 to 18 parts water. Or 1-gram coffee needs 16 to 18 grams of water. In other words, 18 grams coffee and 300 ml water for a lighter brew is the ratio.

Moderate Brew

If you enjoy a more balanced flavor with some added body, 1:13 to 1:15 is your ratio. This means that for 1 part of coffee you need 13 to 15 parts of water. Or 1-gram coffee needs 13 to 15 grams of water. In other words, 20 grams of coffee and 300 ml of water for a moderate brew.

Stronger Brew

If you want a bold and strong cup of coffee, then 1:10 to 1:12 is your ratio. For 1 part of coffee, you need 10 to 12 parts of water. Or 1-gram coffee needs 10 to 12 grams of water. In other words, 30 grams of coffee and 300ml of water for a bold cuppa.

How Much Coffee Do I Use For 2 Cups Of Water?

You need about 15g of coffee for 2 cups of water. This measurement is for moderate-tasting coffee. If you want lighter coffee, decrease the coffee amount by 1-2 grams. And if you want a stronger coffee, increase the amount of coffee by 1-2 grams.

As discussed earlier, it all depends upon what kind of taste you are looking for in your coffee. Therefore, there are only suggestions by experts. But you have to decide what type of coffee you are looking for.

If you want a moderate cup of coffee for 2 cups of water, 15 grams of coffee grounds is ideal. This will enrich the water with soluble flavor and give you a balanced coffee flavor.

But if you’re looking for a lighter-tasting chocker for, 2 cups of water, use 12 to 13 grams of coffee grounds only. This will make a lighter brew.  And for a stronger brew, you can use 17 to 18 grams of coffee for 2 cups of water.

Also, keep in mind, whatever you’re using to brew your coffee like a French Press or a Clever Dripper, do not leave it for long. The average brew time in almost every method is 3 to 4 mins. If you leave it for too long, the coffee will over-extract, giving a bitter and undrinkable taste.

two wooden boards with each having one espresso pods. The right one has a cup of cappuccino and the left has ground coffee and whole roasted coffee beans.

Why Does Coffee Ratio Matter?

There is a whole science behind the ratios. The water in the beans is lost in the roasting. Therefore, the water to coffee ratio is vital for submerging the beans to be soluble in water. This makes for a perfect cuppa if done correctly.

Coffee is a very complex drink. Though it might not seem like it, a lot of factors need to be considered before a fresh coffee brew is presented to the drinker.

With the raw beans getting roasted while having different masses in each precious coffee bean, an evaporation process takes place. The green bean’s moisture level is reduced. Between 3 and 5% is lost in the entire process. If you’re wondering why then read on.

The beans weigh about 15-30% less after roasting because the water that is released turns into steam, causing them to weigh less than they did before roasting.

If this doesn’t happen, they wouldn’t crack, but more on that next time. So, experts, including those at the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America), agree that around 60 grams of coffee per 1 liter of water is the best ratio, to begin with, no matter what your brewing method is.

Just skip the hassle by choosing a 1:15 to 1:18 ratio. Having enough water will ensure that every coffee ground reaches stage 3 without being so much that you over-extract. Therefore, the ratios matter when brewing coffee.

Below I’ve summarized a table for you suggesting what ratios to follow for each brewing method for standard flavor.

Types Of Brewing MethodsDurationAmount Of CoffeeAmount of WaterRatio
Espresso25 to 35 seconds18 grams36 grams1:2
French Press4 minutes60 grams900 grams1:5
Clever Dripper3 minutes30 grams500 grams1:16
Cold Brew (French Press)12-15 hours100 grams800 grams1:8

What Is The Best Ratio For Coffee To Water?

The Specialty Coffee Association Of America has come up with the Golden Ratio for coffee aficionados. That ratio is 1:18. This ensures the perfect cup of coffee that has a maximum flavor and is not overpowering.

Though each person has their own preference for their cup of coffee, there’s an optimal way to extract the best out of the coffee grounds. Why?

Because if it’s under-extracted, it will produce a weak and watery cup of chockers. If it’s over-extracted it will produce an extremely bitter, viscous cup of coffee. With that being said, that this can happen due to many other reasons, but here we are focusing on getting the perfect ratio for water to coffee.

But before we discuss that. Keep these factors in mind.

  • Grind your coffee grounds just before brewing to get optimum flavor.
  • Temperature affects the coffee, I talk about it on a different article, so be sure that the temperature of the water is 93 degree to 95 degree Celsius (around 200-degree Fahrenheit).
  • The best brewing time is 2- 4 minutes. But it can vary depending on what type of brewing method you’re using.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the golden ratio.

The SCAA developed the Golden Ratio to ensure that you get the perfect cup of coffee every time. Getting this ratio right marks that you have mastered the perfect way to brew coffee and confirm that you have achieved your dream as a barista! The secret to achieving it is patience, a childlike passion for play, and a lot of coffee love!

a coffee machine pouring a shot of espresso

The ratio is 1:18. This means that 1 part of coffee to 18 parts of water. Or, in other words, 55 grams of coffee and 1000 ml of water. Despite the sweetness, this coffee has a refreshing taste, the acidity and bitter notes are in proportion, and the overall taste is balanced with the harmony of all elements.

Of course, you might not like it because of your own palate, so you can always customize it as per your liking. Just get a scale and make tweaks and you will develop your own golden ratio.

You can watch this video where they sample different ratios of coffee with the ultimate golden ratio.

fantastic video

Final Verdict

Everybody has their own preference when it comes to their morning cuppa. Some like to drink a power-packed cup of strong coffee while some enjoy weaker notes. But the best thing about coffee is that you can certainly customize it.

You can make it stronger or weaker, it’s all up to you. But just be mindful of under-extraction and over-extraction.

Also, before plunging deep into the world of coffee brewing you should know a bit about the ratios. This is important in order to brew that perfect-tasting coffee. You can follow the golden ratio given by the SCCA. But in case you don’t like it, you can always tweak it as per your liking.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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