Ideal Coffee To Water Ratio (This is Mind-blowing)

The ideal coffee to water ratio is 1:18. Or you can say it’s one tablespoon of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water.

Having a delicious cup of coffee every single day has become a part of many people’s lives. From hot creamy cappuccino to cold iced coffee in the summer, coffee is loved by everyone no matter what the temperature is outside.

It’s just such a versatile drink. Usually, people grab their favorite cuppa from coffee shops because they don’t have time to make it themselves and it’s just much more convenient. But have you ever wondered how the barista makes the perfect cup every single time?  The secret consists of many things, but the most integral thing is the water to coffee ratio.

Here, we’ll talk about everything that there is to the ideal coffee to water ratio so that even you can brew a delicious coffee at home.

What Is The Ideal Coffee To Water Ratio?

The ideal coffee to water ratio is 1:18. This makes for a moderate-strength brew with balanced flavors.

Coffee is a very complex drink, to begin with. Several things affect its taste and flavor, such as:

  • Coffee bean quality
  • Temperature
  • Brewing method
  • Coffee to water ratio

With each coffee ground having a different flavor, there are a lot of other factors to keep in mind for the coffee to water ratio. No matter what kind of coffee grounds you use, the main aspect of getting your perfect cup of coffee is the ratio.

If you’re unfamiliar with coffee ratios, you can read my article explaining the basics of it here.

You see, the brewing method does come into play when brewing the ideal cup of coffee. But the coffee to water ratios will be one of the critical factors in determining the strength of your cuppa. Some people enjoy a very light brew and some enjoy a very strong brew. And the ideal cup of water to coffee ratio is 1:18 which is called the golden cup ratio.

But what is the golden cup ratio?

The golden cup ratio was formulated in the 1950s by Professor Lockhart. It’s not based on any chemical reaction but instead on quantity. The ratio is 1:18 translates into 1 unit of coffee to 18 parts of water. Even the Specialty Coffee Association of America which is known as SCCA recommends this ratio.

This ratio was designed by doing a survey of different people and taking their preferences into account. And most people enjoy this ratio. Therefore, this became the ideal ratio that everyone enjoys.

What Happens When You Put Too Much Water?

If you add in too much water, the brew will be thin, watery, and very bitter. Excess water will not make a strong brew but will draw out extra unwanted stuff from coffee grounds.

As mentioned earlier, getting the ratios right for brewing coffee is actually crucial. You don’t always have to be accurate with the grains of coffee grounds if you’re a beginner. But being completely off and having too much water or even having too much coffee can create havoc.

a barista is pouring freshly brewed black coffee

You see, when the water comes in contact with the coffee grounds, it starts to extract the coffee compound. Think about making coffee with a bathtub full of water and only one coffee bean. There’s no way it would work. It’s going to be too weak – but there’s also a chance of it being too extracted.

And if we reverse the situation and the bathtub is full of coffee grounds and only a glass of water is there, what do you think would happen?

Aside from not working, it would be under-extracted. A too-great amount of coffee will prevent the grounds from getting past the water, which will mess with the brewing process. The result would be extremely sour coffee.

So, in conclusion, you need to measure the water before you start brewing.

Here I’ve prepared a table for you giving what ratios to follow for each brewing method for the standard flavor profile.

Types of Brewing MethodsRatioDurationCoffee QuantityWater Quantity
Espresso 1:225 to 35 seconds18 grams 36 grams
French Press1:154 minutes60 grams900 grams
Clever Dripper1:163 minutes30 grams500 grams
Cold Brew (French Press)1:812 – 15 hours100 grams800 grams

Why Are Coffee Ratios Important?

The ratios are a whole science in themselves. When the beans are roasted, the water in them evaporates. In order to get all the soluble substances to dissolve in water, water to coffee ratios is critical. If done correctly, it makes a perfect cup of coffee.

The beverage of choice for many people is coffee. There are a lot of factors to consider before serving a fresh brew coffee to the consumer.

The process of evaporation takes place when raw beans are roasted and have different masses within each bean. The moisture content of green beans decreases. 3 to 5% of the moisture evaporates during this process.

This happens because during the roasting process the moisture gets converted into steam. And then as the roasting proceeds, the steam then escapes and causes the coffee beans to crack.

Then, when these roasted coffee beans come in contact with water, the water starts extracting all the soluble compounds. If the ratios are out it can’t yield a desired cup of coffee. If the water is too much it can yield a bitter yet weak cup and if the coffee grounds are more it will be too strong yet sour.

Have a look at this video to understand better.

How Many Scoops Of Coffee Do I Need For 1 Cup?

One scoop entails two tablespoons of coffee grounds. So, if you want to brew a strong coffee 1 scoop for 1 cup is good If you want a weaker brew, you can lessen the scoop of coffee.

One thing with coffee is that there’s no exact way to do it. Don’t get me wrong there are many guides to help you find your perfect cup of coffee but each to its own. Some people drink very strongly and some enjoy a lighter brew.

a porcelain mug filled with glossy coffee roasted beans

So, it all depends upon what you want from your coffee. But if you were to measure it out, do it with the scoop method.

1 scoop of coffee means 2 tablespoons of coffee. So, for a strong cup of coffee one scoop is good. But if you want to enjoy a lighter brew, you use half a scoop or use one scoop for 2 cups.

My Final Thoughts

Coffee to water ratios are incredibly important and doing it wrong may mess up your coffee. It’s best to adhere to the golden cup ratio if you want your coffee to be just right, but keep in mind that all of this boils down to personal preference. Perhaps the golden ratio will work for you, or perhaps it won’t.

Everybody has their own preferences when it comes to coffee.

Many people enjoy a strong power-packed cup of coffee and some enjoy a creamy frothy light cup of coffee. But the best thing about coffee is that it can easily be personalized.

So, before you start brewing coffee at home, you should know about the ideal ratios. And don’t worry, if you don’t nail it in the first few tries. If you will eventually get it.

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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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