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How Much Coffee Per Cup? Measuring out the Golden Ratio

A huge part of making great coffee is knowing how much coffee per cup that you need. In this post, we’ll talk about how much coffee you should use whether you like to measure with tablespoons or grams.

Following the correct ratio, along with paying attention to grind size, water temperature, and brew time are what make a good cup of coffee.

Here’s the video version of this blog post:

The coffee to water ratio calculator

1. Select brew type:

2. How many Servings?

Amount of Water needed:

Amount of Coffee needed:

Coffee Grind:

How to brew:

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 uses 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.

The Golden Ratio is applicable for drip, pour over, french press coffee, percolator, and espresso.

Tablespoons or grams?

When brewing coffee, using a scale is extremely important. You just can’t get the same level of accuracy with a tablespoon as you can with grams.

You can try doing this yourself. Grab a scale, and measure out what you think is 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds three separate times.

Chances are you’ll get a slightly different measurement every time.

Which begs the question:

How many grams of coffee per cup?

For really perfect coffee, ditch the tablespoon measure and use a scale to measure using grams instead. Use 12 to 15 grams of coffee per cup.

12 grams of coffee per cup is a ratio of 1:15, which is recommended by most baristas. For every 15 grams(ml) of water, you use 1 gram of coffee.

That means you should use 12 grams for 6 ounces or 178 ml of water.

For a stronger coffee, use a 1:12 ratio. This works out to 15 grams of coffee per cup(6 ounces or 178 ml).

How many ounces of coffee per cup?

Suppose you use a scale, but you’re so patriotic that you won’t even go near grams and metric measurements. In that case, we’ve got you covered:

For every cup, use 0.42 ounces of coffee.

For a stronger cup, use 0.53 ounces of coffee.

Tablespoons of coffee grounds vs tablespoons of coffee beans

The reason we advocate using a scale to measure is because you can be a lot more accurate.

Two tablespoons of coffee grounds will not have the same mass as two tablespoons of coffee beans. Because the beans are larger and irregularly shaped, there’s a lot more air in the tablespoon of beans vs the tablespoon of grounds.

As a result, you’ll probably find that one tablespoon of coffee grounds will weigh more than one tablespoon of coffee beans.

The lesson? Use a scale for the best, most consistent coffee.

For best results, you want to use freshly roasted coffee beans anyway, so why spoil your pick-me-up with pre-ground coffee?

How many grams of coffee in a tablespoon?

One tablespoon of coffee grounds is between 5 to 7 grams. There’s no exact measurement because you may be measuring out fine or coarse grounds.

If you measure out coffee beans, there will be a slight difference between light and dark roasts, as dark roast beans are smaller in volume, so you’ll get more grams of beans per tablespoon.

There are grams to tablespoons conversion charts available online(such as this one) but they are not too accurate because they don’t take density into account. One tablespoon of mercury will weigh a lot more than one tablespoon of water!

If you don’t have a scale on hand, you can use 2 tablespoons for every cup you wish to brew, as noted above.

How many tablespoons in a coffee scoop?

Here’s where things get interesting. Coffee scoops are not standardized as far as I know, so using “scoops” as a measurement is not very accurate.

Many coffee makers come with scoops that are equal to one tablespoon, but the Aeropress, for example, comes with a scoop that is about 2 tablespoons.

So even if your coffee maker shipped with a scoop, it’s better to use a known tablespoon measure rather than any old scoop.

Cheatsheet: how much coffee to use for coffee pots and coffee makers

Note: This cheat sheet uses the 1:12 ratio. You can use these measurements for any kind of coffee except for cold brew.

How much coffee for 1 cup(6 ounces)?

For 1 cup of coffee, you need 2 tablespoons or 15 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for 2 cups(12 ounces)?

For 2 cups of coffee, you need 4 tablespoons or 30 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for 4 cups(24 ounces)?

For 4 cups of coffee, you need 8 tablespoons or 60 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for 6 cups(36 ounces)?

For 6 cups of coffee, you need 12 tablespoons or 90 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for 8 cups(48 ounces)?

For 8 cups of coffee, you need 16 tablespoons or 120 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for 10 cups(60 ounces)?

For 10 cups of coffee, you need 20 tablespoons or 150 grams of coffee.

How much coffee for a 12 cup coffee maker?

For 12 cups of coffee, you need 24 tablespoons or 180 grams of coffee.

For even larger coffee brews, you may want to pick up a coffee urn.

Don’t like doing the math? Click here to use our handy coffee calculator.

Is there such a thing as a perfect amount of coffee?

The 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.

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.

OR

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 grounds for extra boldness, or reduce the amount of grounds to dull the boldness down.

How to brew great coffee every time

Coffee is such a universal and versatile drink that there are really plenty of ways to brew coffee, but a few elements will always remain the same.

Aside from using the correct amount of coffee per cup, you can consider these the laws of coffee brewing:

  • Use freshly roasted beans. I can’t repeat this enough times. Once you’ve tasted coffee made from freshly roasted beans, you’ll never be able to drink pre-packaged supermarket coffee again.
  • Grind freshly roasted beans just before brewing. Grinding just before brewing ensures that most of the flavors remain trapped in the coffee bean, only exposing them just before you brew. Once you grind coffee beans, they lose most of their flavor in a very short time. Use an automatic or manual burr grinder.
  • Use the correct water temperature. If your water is too hot, you risk burning your coffee. If it’s too cold, you won’t get enough flavor extraction. You need to brew at the perfect temperature – which is around 90 to 95 degrees C. For real temperature sticklers, there are SCAA-certified coffee makers that brew at 200 degrees.

Use the grind chart below as a reference to get your grinds right:

various coffee grounds compared to the size of a standard US quarter

How much coffee for cold brew?

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

How much coffee for pour over?

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.

How much coffee for french press?

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.

How much coffee for Aeropress?

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.

Conclusion

As you can see, the question of how much coffee per cup is much more nuanced than you’d think! There are good benchmarks to start from such as the golden ratio, but after that, it’s up to you to experiment and fine tune your brew to the way you like it.

Frequently asked questions

How much coffee for a pot?

It depends on the size of your pot! Many coffee makers come standard with 12 cup pots, so you’re looking at 24 tablespoons or 144 grams of ground coffee.

How many teaspoons in a coffee scoop?

One coffee scoop is around one tablespoon, which is equal to 3 teaspoons. For a proper cup of coffee, you’ll want to use 6 teaspoons.

How much coffee do you put in a drip coffee maker?

You should put 2 tablespoons or 12 grams of coffee per cup. To brew 2 cups, you’d put 4 tablespoons or 24 grams of coffee.

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how much coffee per cup pin

Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

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

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