Understanding the Coffee To Water Ratio

By Shabbir
Last update:

The coffee to water ratio is an important part of brewing a cup of good coffee. Most experts will tell you that the ratio is between 1:12 to 1:15. Use 1:12 for a strong cup, and 1:15 for a mild cup. You can even go as high as 1:17 for a very mild cup.

Coffee to water ratios for cups of coffee

Note: This cheat sheet uses the 1:12 ratio, which is roughly 60 grams per liter, or 15 grams for every 225 ml(7.5 oz).

You can use these measurements for any kind of coffee except for cold brew. Use it for coffee grounds or beans, both work.

It’s worth noting that the perfect coffee to water ratio is more of a range: anywhere between 1:12 to 1:15 will yield a decent cup, and the best way to figure out what you like is to experiment.

Coffee Calculator: Ratios for all brews

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Here's a little timer for your french press brew

TIME : 4:00

For brewing most kinds of coffee, you can follow something called the “Golden Ratio”: 2 heaped tablespoons of coffee beans or ground coffee per cup. A standard cup of coffee has 6 ounces of water.

You can always adjust up or down depending on your taste preferences, but 2 tablespoons will generally produce the best, richest coffee.

This ratio is applicable for all brewing methods: drip coffee pot, pour over, french press coffee, percolator, and espresso brewed coffee.

The question of coffee and water most often comes up with making a brew in a coffee pot, but really, this proportion works for all brewing methods except cold brew.

Is there such a thing as a perfect coffee ratio?

Technically speaking, there is. It’s called the Golden Cup Standard, defined by the Specialty Coffee Association as:

Coffee shall exhibit a brew strength, measured in Total Dissolved Solids, of 11.5 to 13.5 grams per liter, corresponding to 1.15 to 1.35 “percent” on the SCA Brewing Control Chart, resulting from a solubles extraction yield of 18 to 22 percent*.

The coffee to water ratio I’ve given above is not set in stone, of course, so you are more than free to play with the amount of coffee to adjust the strength.

Realistically, you’re not going to measure the TDS of cups of coffee, but the ratios given here will get you in a close enough range.

For an everyday coffee drinker, remember, all that matters is how the coffee flavor tastes for you!

The best way to tune your cup of coffee is to keep everything constant and change one variable at a time.

For example, if you make drip coffee but wish to change the flavor a little, keep the brewing method the same, keep the coffee brand and roast the same, keep the grind the same, and just add a few more grams of coffee.


Try using a slightly darker roast for a richer flavor.

If you want a lighter coffee, you can use a few grams less, or use a lighter roast.

The important thing with coffee is measurement! Measure, measure, measure, and you’ll get consistent results every time.

It may also be a wise idea to invest in a coffee scale to help you measure.

Hario V60 Coffee Scale
The Hario V60 coffee scale measures in 0.1 gram increments and includes timers for pour over and french press. It's a bit expensive, but the accuracy you get is worth it.

Once you’ve played around a little and gotten a ratio and recipe that you really like, you may find that you enjoy your coffee straight black instead of with milk and sugar.

You will also find that using the exact same coffee and the exact same measurement with a different brewing method will completely change the taste.

So many variables can be quite overwhelming, so here’s a quick reference for the kind of taste to expect:

  • French press: bold coffee and full mouthfeel
  • Drip or pour over: balanced coffee and clean mouthfeel
  • Espresso: intense, bold coffee and thick mouthfeel
  • Percolator: bold coffee and medium mouthfeel
  • Aeropress: bold coffee and clean mouthfeel

You can then use the coffee to water ratio to adjust. Add more ground coffee for extra boldness, or reduce the amount of ground coffee to dull the boldness down.

Whats the cold brew ratio?

For cold brew, the ratio changes quite significantly. Because you’re now brewing with cold water instead of hot water, the molecules are moving much more slowly and they need a lot more coffee to interact with in order to extract the flavor.

There are a wide variety of tastes and preferences when it comes to cold brew, but you can use ratios of anywhere between 1 parts coffee to 8 parts water up to 1 part coffee to 2 parts water.

The more coffee you use, the more concentrated and strong the drink will be – so you may want to use it as a concentrate that you dilute with water or milk instead of something you drink straight.

Here’s a cheat sheet for cold brew:

  • Strong concentrate: 500 grams of coffee for every liter of water
  • Medium concentrate: 250 grams of coffee for every liter of water
  • Dilution you can drink right away: 125 grams of coffee for every liter of water

What’s the pour over ratio?

There’s a pretty wide spectrum you can use for pour over. Personally, I love the 1:15 ratio for pour over, but you can certainly use 1:12 or 1:17.

The best way to see what suits you best is to experiment with a couple of brews.

Making so much coffee may seem a little wasteful, but a little hack you can employ is to just brew less coffee using the same ratio. You can even use this hack with Keurig machines to get a stronger cup of Jo.

What’s the french press ratio?

French press is very forgiving, so you can use 1:12 for a very strong brew and even go down to 1:15 or 1:17 for a lighter brew.

In the video above, the 1:12 ratio yields a very strong wake-up call brew, and 1:15 yields a pleasant brew that you will enjoy sipping.

What’s the Aeropress ratio?

Aeropress is a really interesting brew method. The original recipe calls for using one heaped scoop for one cup of coffee. The scoop is around 2 tablespoons.

That works out to about 14 or 15 grams as we saw above.

Some Aeropress recipes even call for using 30 grams of coffee per cup, which yields an incredibly bold cup.

Personally, I prefer sticking to 14-15 grams, adding water up to the 1 mark, and diluting the resulting shot with another 150 ml of water for a really sweet and satisfying cup.


Remember, coffee is all about experimentation and finding what works best for you. There’s no rule that you must use one ratio or the other, but the ratios that we’ve given here will all make great cups of coffee. It’s just a matter of finding what you like!

Last update on 2024-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.