Does your coffee taste different every time you brew, and you can’t figure out why? Are you making coffee for the whole family and you’re wondering how many tablespoons of coffee per cup to use? Or are you simply starting to brew coffee at home and want to make it taste like that from your favorite cafe?
Whether you’re just starting to experiment with coffee brewing, or you are an experienced coffee enthusiast, it’s hard to eyeball the right amount of ground coffee to use. The best way to eliminate the guesswork - and nasty surprises at the first sip - is to know exactly how much coffee per cup you need to ensure a perfectly balanced taste.
This article will give you all the guidance you need to start brewing coffee like a barista.
Is Measuring Coffee Important?
An excellent-tasting cup of coffee is a result of the adequate coffee to water ratio, correct grind, brewing time, equipment, and the right technique. If your morning cup doesn’t taste quite right, one of these components missing might be the reason. Estimating how much ground coffee you’re using leads to inconsistencies in taste. The best way to take your brewing skills to the next level is to start precisely measuring the quantities.
Using a scale and measuring the coffee grounds and water in grams is the most reliable method that will provide the best results. But if you’re not ready to invest in a coffee scale just yet, measuring your coffee with a food scale, tablespoons or scoops will improve the taste of your cup.
Coffee to Water Ratio
So let’s get down to business and establish how much coffee per cup will ensure that delicious coffee taste.
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the ‘golden ratio’ of coffee brewing is to use two tablespoons per cup or 6 ounces of hot water. And if you’re measuring in grams, the recommended coffee to water ratio is 1:17, which means that for every gram of coffee, you use 17 grams of water. For example, if you want to brew 250ml of coffee, you should use around 14.7 grams of coffee grounds.
We recommend starting with this ratio and then adjusting to your preference. The range that you can experiment with shouldn’t be lower than 1:15 or higher than 1:18.
How Much Coffee to Use?
How much coffee for 4 cups?
- 42 grams of coffee grounds and 710ml (24oz) of water
How many tablespoons of coffee per 4 cups?
How many scoops of coffee for 4 cups?
How many scoops of coffee for 12 cups?
- 24 tablespoons (127 grams) of coffee grounds and 2.1l (71oz) of water
How Much Ground Coffee per Cup?
- Two tablespoons (10 grams) of coffee grounds and 170ml (5.5oz) of water
These amounts vary depending on the brewing method and while some are more forgiving and easier to estimate, other methods require precise measurements. While AeroPress comes with its own measuring scoop, it would be hard to estimate the amount of coffee to use in a Hario V60 or Chemex.
Here are the most common brewing methods and their recommended coffee-to-water ratios.
When brewing coffee in an automatic drip machine, following the 1:17 ratio is the best place to start. According to the standard recipe, one cup of coffee will require 2 tablespoons or 10 grams of ground coffee. To adjust the intensity according to your taste, you can modify the amounts and brew a more intense cup with a 1:15 ratio or milder brews with a 1:18 ratio.
While French Press is a fairly forgiving brewing method, the more precise measurements will be reflected in a better taste in your cup. For a mellow French Press coffee, you can brew with a 1:16 ratio. For heavier flavors and robust taste, loved by French Press drinkers, you can experiment with a 1:10 ratio.
Cold-brew, a refreshing beverage that is great for summer and can display much more developed flavors than iced coffee, will taste best when following a 1:8 ratio.
When brewing pour over coffee, including Hario V60, Chemex, or Kalita Wave, start with a standard 1:17 coffee to water ratio, or 2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water.
If you’re measuring the amount of coffee grounds to use when making a double espresso, 18-21 grams of coffee is recommended to brew a great-tasting double shot.
One of the newer brewing methods, the AeroPress, is unique in terms of how versatile it can be for brewing coffee. By adjusting the ratio, you can brew a coffee similar to that of a pour over, or a stronger brew resembling a shot of espresso.
How To Measure Coffee?
If you’re not ready to invest in a coffee scale yet, measuring ground coffee in tablespoons is a good place to start.
When looking at recipes that use different measurements, bear in mind that a tablespoon of coffee will usually weigh around 5 grams and a coffee scoop tends to equate to two tablespoons. The measurements in tablespoons and scoops vary and they can cause inconsistencies in your cup, which is why a coffee scale is an excellent investment that gives you more control over the brewing process and improve the taste of your coffee.
What Happens If You Use the Wrong Ratio?
A good cup of coffee is a result of the perfect ratio between the coffee grounds and water. If you don’t use enough coffee, it will result in a weak, thin, flat, and watery cup. On the other hand, if you use too much of the good stuff, this will make the coffee feel muddy, heavy, and off-balance, without any real depth.
You can experiment with the amounts but don’t depart too far from the recommended ratio. If you prefer a stronger taste, opt for darker roasts that will taste more bitter, and if you prefer a milder cup, experiment with medium or blonde roasts or different origins.
Don’t Forget to Adjust the Grind
The amount of coffee is not the only important thing you should care about when selecting the coffee grounds.
Apart from the ratio, it is crucial to use the right grind size recommended for your selected brewing method.
The brewing method, together with the type of filter and the steeping time, determines the adequate grind size to achieve the best-tasting brew. Since French Press is brewed without a filter and uses a full immersion method, it requires a coarse grind, while the espresso which is brewed in 30 seconds, requires a very fine grind.
Final Thoughts: How Many Scoops of Coffee Per Cup?
A delicious cup of coffee is a result of many factors, one of which is the amount of coffee grounds you use.
Our general recommendation is to use 2 tablespoons of coffee per cup, or a 1:17 coffee to water ratio. This amount, however, depends on the brewing method you use.
Do not underestimate the importance of accurately measuring the amount of ground coffee you use for your morning brew. Using tablespoons or scoops is a good place to start but getting a coffee scale will improve the taste and consistency.