Coffee To Water Ratio

You have fresh, quality coffee, a decent grinder and an excellent brewing setup, but the results just don't satisfy you. What could have been wrong? 

While there are plenty of opportunities, one of the best places to start is by looking at the ratio of your coffee to water.

Instead of wasting time fiddling with settings, finding the right brew ratio can be put to just a little effort. With that solid foundation in place, you can then continue experimenting with your brewing process. 


Some people are talking about a Golden Ratio, an ideal number that makes the cup perfect. While that would make it all more comfortable, it's a bit too simplistic too. 

Not every cup, every brewing process, every individual has a perfect ratio.But that doesn't mean we have to be in the dark entirely.

You can start with a ratio of between 1:15 and 1:18 for the most brewing methods and tastes. The first will give you a robust and full-bodied coffee. The second is getting lighter. 

I suggest playing, experimenting with different side by side ratios to decide your preferences for different roasts and brewing methods. However, in general, you probably don't want to go louder than 1:12 with most approaches, because the tests are just going to be too messy. 

Going below 1:20 or so will leave you with a watery, bland coffee possibly too bitter. 


For many coffee drinkers, Drip coffee is the most common type. It is the form you get with auto-drip machines and manual pour-over brewers like the Chemex, which is called infusion brewing. 

Coffee brewing is an effective method as there is a continuous flow of freshwater flowing through the coffee. This helps to extract all the TDS without over-saturating (which we will see below) the ground. 

Drip usually needs less coffee due to its quality. A ratio of 1:15 to 1:17 will make you standard-bold.


The coffee is in the water (immersed) the whole time, with immersion. This style follows strategies such as the French Press and AeroPress. Because the same water is in contact with the coffee, there is a tendency to saturate the grounds, thus preventing efficient extraction as with drip coffee.

You can counter this by stirring or agitating the beans, but more coffee can be used to ensure more flavour. 

Because immersion methods are typically used for a bold cup, a standard cup can start with 1:15 and go as low as 1:12 for a potent brew. 


Indeed, the cold brew is immersion, too. But, since the water is not heated, it is a little different than standard methods. That means we need to adjust the ratio, or you'll end up with brown water, not coffee. 

Cold brewing is a process that is much less unpredictable, so it takes longer. This means more chance of saturated grounds, so you will need plenty to get an acceptable flavour. 

You may use a 1:5 coffee to water ratio for a full-flavoured cold brew, and 1:8 for a lighter blend. 

This is a case where experimentation is critical, mainly since brewing times (and whether you brew at room temperature or in the refrigerator) can make a big difference. 


Once again, espresso is a brew for infusion, technically. But because of the pressure involved, it's also very different from the drip coffee. It also creates an entirely different kind of brew, one with far less volume and bolder flavours. 

Given that espresso machines can vary so much, it's hard to nail down a ratio. You'll use the same amount of coffee for every shot, too. The difference comes in pull frequency. A shorter pull requires less water, and a stronger chance (like the ristretto) will end up on you. 

A ratio of 1:1 is commonly considered to be a ristretto shot. A rate of 1:2-3 is standard, with a ratio of 1:4 being a lighter, lungo shot. That is dependent, of course, on a consistent grind quality. 


Coffee brewing is a relatively simple process, even if you are getting super scientific or fancy. Apart from the temperature of the water, the brew time, the grinding and the brewing process, you don't have that much to control.

The drink is ground coffee and hot water at its most basic.Because of that simplicity, by changing the coffee to water ratio, you can make a big difference. 


Extraction is the magic that allows for coffee. It's the method of taking out of the coffee the soluble compounds (such as caffeine, carbohydrates, lipids, acids, and sugars), which gives it the taste we all love. 

Brew ratio is important because it affects how much of the good stuff is extracted from the coffee without getting too much of the bad. (This can also vary with the brewing process and grind size.) 

Without much sugar, under-extracted coffee sometimes gets sour. The coffee's citrus notes are extracted first, and the sweet and slightly bitter flavours that come later do not balance them. 

Over-extracted coffee goes too far, pulling out more acidic, bitter flavours than you would like, which isn't even pleasant. 

Time, temperature and grind can all influence extraction while brewing. Brew ratio always does. Too much coffee, and you'll probably get a drink that's under-extracted. Not enough, and that's going to be over-extracted, which is not pleasant either. 


Above all, strength refers to flavouring more than the content of caffeine.

And the coffee flavour is mostly determined by the amount of Total Dissolved Solids ( TDS) that I have described above. The more scientists in the coffee world will use a refractometer to accurately measure the number of solid particles in a brew to assess their extraction. 

We can tell by the taste for most of us, though. 

You generally need more coffee for a more robust cup with a bold flavour. It allows for more TDS without over-extraction within the cup. If you don't use enough coffee, the result will be thin and watery. But too much, and it could be overwhelming and even muddy.


Since there aren't so many ingredients, many people just haphazardly throw coffee and water together and never wonder about the results. The coffee is great on one day. It stinks the next day. 

But you are not. You would like to fine-tune the process. You would like to experiment with the few variables that you can control. And that is where the ratio of coffee to water comes in. 

Cookie professionals Use Recipes

 Think of it as sipping a cookie. Add more flour, and you can adjust the size of your cookie. But that means the other ingredients need to be adjusted accordingly. 

There are recipes for Baristas who value consistency, too. Only two ingredients exist, so they pay close attention to them. 

Some recipes will tell you how much per litre or cup of coffee. By weight, the most useful way to split the ratio is. 


As we talked about earlier, scoops are the most common way of measuring coffee. But this eyeballing isn't reliable, either. A scoop may vary from person to person and may roast to roast. 

Instead, you 're going to want to calculate by weight, so you have an exact scale.You should weigh your water too for the best results. It may sound odd to some people as we prefer to think volumetrically of water and other liquids. 

Luckily the water is easy to convert. One millilitre of weighs a gramme of water. Just. Easy. Half a litre? That is around 500 g. 

Even if you only fail to think in metric, a half-litre (500 ml or 500 g) is just over two cups (16.9 ounces of fluid). 


Don't worry. You don't have to be a master in maths to work out brew ratios. Usually, you'll see something like 1:12 or 1:16 when represented as numbers. In words, this is "1 gramme per 12 grammes of water" and "1 gramme per 16 grammes of water." 

Not everyone puts coffee first, but the more significant number representing water can always be counted on. Imagine adding 1 ml of water in a coffee scoop, and you can see why this is so. 

Only divide your target by the higher number in the ratio to find out how much coffee you need for the desired amount. For instance, if you want to brew 1 litre at a rate of 1:16, you will divide 1000 (which is how many grammes of water you want) by 16. That would be 62.5 for you. 

For 1000 grammes of water, that is 62.5 grammes of coffee, a ratio of 1 to 16. (Or, you can always use the above calculator.) 


There is a shortlist of what we really can do in life. But that list should include the quality of your coffee. It doesn't take too much time to get the cycle under control. 

You can improve the consistency of your daily brew by using a little bit of measurement and calculation. You might find your Golden Ratio with a bit of experimentation, no matter what type of coffee you 're in today's mood.