Sometimes no matter what you do, your cup of coffee just doesn’t turn outright. You've got fresh coffee, a good grinder, and a nice little brewing setup, but still, it's not good enough. Something may seem off, whether it's the amount of coffee you've added or the water. Sometimes we just wing it. But let's actually get into the ratios so your coffee will taste amazing every single time you make it.
The Golden Ratio
Does the perfect concoction exist? Is there a ratio that'll result in the perfect cup of coffee every time? Yes, it does, and it's called the golden ratio.
The golden ratio suggests that an ideal cup of coffee can be prepared with a ratio of 1:17 ratio of coffee to water or 1:15 for a stronger cup of coffee. This is the general rule of thumb when it comes to most ratios for a cup of full-flavored coffee. Anything less than 1:12 or greater than 1:20 of coffee to water is not recommended and will almost always not give you a great cup, in terms of both intensity and taste. If we get into the measurements, 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water will do the job.
The golden ratio is a general standard but may not be applicable to all coffee drinks or brewing methods. For example, it's considered that 98% water and 2% coffee will create a strong cup. But when it comes to brewing methods, the ratios are a whole other ball game. Let's get into the ratios of brewing methods.
Drip Coffee Or Pour Over
One of the most popular and common methods, drip or pour-over coffee, can come pretty easy to anyone. This method of brewing, also known as infusion brewing, is done with auto-drip machines like the Chemex. The best part about this brewing method is that one can easily experiment with many bean combinations and drip coffee ratios to create all kinds of blends.
Pour-over coffee is a beginner's best opportunity to experiment with the brewing process. So generally, pour-over coffee will have a ratio of 1:17 of water to coffee for a usual cup or 1:15 for a strong cup.
While the pour-over or drip method lets the water seep through the grounds, the immersion brewing methods let the coffee brew directly in water. The good part about this method is that since there's no filter, no flavor is lost, and the brew is completely saturated with all the notes and flavors. A French press and AeroPress will allow you to try out the immersion method as they press out the water from the grounds, making a bold cup of coffee. As the water is in contact with the grounds, your cup will be full-bodied and intense when it comes to flavors.
For a French Press, coffee is supposed to have a ratio of 1:17, and if you're making a bolder cup, a 1:11 ratio would also work.
A cold brew is technically also made via the method of immersion brewing, but when it comes down to the specifics, there's a difference. The water is chilled as opposed to the usual hot or lukewarm water (obviously).
Because of the cold water, it takes much longer for the brew to get saturated. Just the change in temperature will make a huge difference. If you're making your cold brew with room temperature water vs. chilled water, you can expect a huge variation in how long it takes for a nice brew.
For a full-flavored cold brew coffee, the ratio of 1:5 will do wonders, and 1:8 is perfect for a lighter cup.
Pro tip: try using the French Press for a cold brew, and ensure the coffee isn't too coarse for a fantastic cup!
Another one of the infusion brews but different from drip coffee, espresso has much less volume and bolder flavors. A ratio is difficult to assign, but a general one that can go with every espresso machine is 1:1 of coffee to water. A lighter one can be around 1:3 for a shot, but how strong your espresso is might depend on the quality of the grind.
Now that we've discussed the ratios, one must keep in mind that these are subject to change when it comes to the desired intensity or the number of servings. Practice makes perfect, so these ratios can be adjusted according to preferences.