Coffee to Water Ratio: The Golden Ratio

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on February 6th, 2023

To make the perfect cup of coffee, understanding the right ratio of coffee to water is essential. Whether you like your coffee strong or light, this blog post has all the tips and tricks you need to know. So grab a cup of Joe, and let’s get started!


The Ideal Brew Ratio According to the SCAE or SCA

The SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) recommends a brewing ratio of 60 grams of coffee for every liter of water, equivalent to 1:18. For every unit of coffee; you need 18 units of water.

Tools and ingredients to start the cold-brew process of coffee.

This ratio is considered the ideal brew ratio and is known as the “golden ratio” in the coffee world. It’s important to remember that when making a single cup of coffee, the amount of coffee and water needed will be less than this ratio.

For example, an average cup of coffee is 12 ounces or 336 grams, so if you were using the 1:16 ratio, you’d need 25 grams of coffee and 400 milliliters of water. While this may seem like a lot of work, following these ratios will ensure that your coffee is brewed perfectly every time.

Average Cup of Coffee

An average cup of coffee is 12 ounces or 336 grams. This means that if you use the 1:16 ratio recommended by some baristas, you would need 25 grams of coffee for a cup. It’s important to play around within this range of 1:11 to 1:17 until you find the best ratio.

But if you want to follow the SCA’s gold standard and use the ideal brew ratio of 60 grams of coffee per 1000 ml of water, you must adjust your measurements accordingly. However, if you use different types of coffee drinks and brewing methods, like French Press or Espresso, it’s important to understand their unique ratios.

Understanding the 1:15 Ratio for Stronger Coffee

If you’re looking for a stronger cup of coffee, consider using a 1:15 ratio. This means adding 1 gram of coffee for every 15 grams of water. This ratio is slightly higher than the Golden Ratio of 1:18 and is generally regarded as the best ratio for a bolder and more flavorful cup of coffee.

It should be noted, however, that this ratio may not be suitable for all brewing methods and types of grinds, so it’s always recommended to experiment with different ratios to find the one that works best for your tastes. You should also be aware that a higher ratio could lead to a bitter or overly strong cup of coffee.

A hand pouring hot water to v60 filter on the top of wooden table with green background

Understanding the 1:16 Ratio for an Average Cup of Coffee

The 1:16 ratio is ideal for an average cup of coffee. This ratio is achieved by using 10 grams of coffee per 160 milliliters of water, which equates to about 6 ounces. This ratio is slightly stronger than the 1:18 ratio recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association but still allows for a weaker cup of coffee that won’t be too bitter.

This ratio will produce a well-balanced coffee with rich flavors and aromas without being too overpowering. If you’re looking for a more intense flavor, you can adjust the ratio to 1:15 for a stronger brew.

Using Tablespoons and Ounces

For those without a scale, using tablespoons and ounces to measure coffee or water, the 1:4 ratio works well. This is a simple approach to brewing coffee. To use this ratio, measure 1 tablespoon of ground coffee for every 4 ounces of water, then adjust according to preference.

The average cup of coffee requires two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water.

When brewing with a French press, the same ratio can be used but with slightly more coffee; three tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water. For those who prefer a bit lighter coffee, using 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per 4 ounces of water is recommended.

The ratio for Espresso is more unique; 1-2 teaspoons of ground espresso per 2 ounces of water, one part coffee, to sixteen parts water. Whatever type of coffee is being made, understanding the correct ratio between coffee and water is essential for making the perfect cup.

Types of Coffee Drinks and Their Ratios

With so many different coffee drinks, it’s important to understand the right coffee-to-water ratio to make the perfect cup. Depending on your preference, the ratio for a cup of drip coffee can range from 1:15 to 1:18. If you’re looking for a stronger cup, use a ratio of 1:15. For something less intense, use a ratio of 1:18.

A coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15 is advised when using the Chemex. As a consequence, 15 grams of water are added for every 1 gram of coffee. This is somewhat greater than the SCA’s suggested 1:16 ratio and higher than the golden ratio of coffee.

For pour-overs such as a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave, it’s recommended to use water to coffee ratio of 16:1 or 15:1 if you prefer a stronger cup.

To brew two large cups of Chemex coffee, you’ll want to use approximately 34 grams of coffee grounds (or beans). While this differs from the average cup of coffee, it’s useful to keep in mind Chemex’s recommended ratio when brewing with your Chemex. Additionally, it may be a good idea to adjust the amount of ground coffee depending on how strong you like your cup of joe.

Closeup of a male barista pouring coffee grains on a scale before brewing some coffee in a cafe

Brewing With a French Press

Brewing with a French press is a great way to get the most out of your coffee beans. The French press uses a higher coffee-to-water ratio than other brewing methods and produces strong, full-bodied coffee.

The ideal ratio is 1:12 coffee to water, but anywhere between 1:10 and 1:15 will produce a well-balanced cup. If you prefer a more subtle flavor, the 1:15 ratio is perfect for you.

Cold Brew Brewing Method

Cold brew coffee is an increasingly popular way to make coffee. The ideal ratio for cold brew coffee is 1:5, or one cup of coffee grounds, to five cups of water. This ratio will work well with most roasts and is a great starting point for those wanting to experiment with their cold brew recipes.

If you’re looking for a stronger cup of coffee, you can use a 1:15 ratio, resulting in a more intense brew. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an average cup of coffee, use a 1:16 ratio. Regardless of your desired strength and flavor, it’s important to adjust the ratio of coffee to water according to your preferences.

AeroPress Brewing Method

The AeroPress is an excellent method for producing a strong cup of coffee with a smooth, clear flavor. The traditional AeroPress ratio is 1:16, which is one part coffee to sixteen parts water. This ratio produces a stronger cup of coffee with more body and complexity than a standard drip machine.

However, if you prefer a milder flavor, you can adjust the ratio using less coffee and more water.

Moka Pot Brewing Method

The SCA golden ratio of 1:15 is too much for the Moka Pot method, as it would produce an overly strong cup of coffee. Instead, use a ratio of 1:10; for every one gram of ground coffee, use 10 grams of filtered water. If you’re looking for a stronger cup of coffee, try adjusting the ratio to 1:15 or 1:16 for an average-strength brew. Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios to find the best one that suits your taste.

Espresso and its Unique Ratio

Espresso has a unique brewing ratio that is unlike other types of coffee. The ideal ratio for espresso is between 1:1 and 1:3, meaning that 18 grams of coffee grounds should produce 36 grams of liquid. This ratio is known as the ‘ traditional espresso,’ while a ‘ ristretto‘ or short shot is typically 1:2-1:2.5, and a ‘ lungo,’ or long shot, is usually about 1:3.

This ratio is important to remember when making espresso so that it can be brewed to perfection. Additionally, measuring the dose and yield for espresso should be written as a ratio to ensure an accurate result.

Pour water into measuring cup

How to Adjust Ratios to Suit Your Tastes

The key to finding your perfect cup of coffee is adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio to suit your tastes. To get started, as a general guideline, you should first understand the ‘Golden Ratio’ of 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water.

Once you understand this ratio, you can then adjust the ratio depending on the type and strength of coffee you prefer. For example, if you want a stronger cup of coffee, you may want to try a 1:15 ratio, while a 1:16 ratio would be more suited for an average cup.

Other brewing methods, such as French Press, Cold Brew, AeroPress, and Moka Pot, have their own recommended ratios. With trial and error, you can find the perfect ratio for your desired flavor and strength.

Know Your Desired Strength and Flavor

When brewing coffee, it’s important to consider the desired strength and flavor of the end product. Understanding the appropriate coffee-to-water ratio is key to achieving this. The SCA Golden Ratio, 1:15, is ideal for a stronger cup of coffee, while a ratio of 1:16 will give you an average cup.

Experiment with Coffee Types and Grinds

Experimenting with different types of coffee and the grind size to suit your desired strength and flavor is another great way to adjust the coffee-to-water ratio and achieve the perfect cup of coffee.

For example, a light roast will require a coarser grind than a dark roast to ensure the flavor is not too intense. Different brewing methods also require different grind sizes. French press, for example, calls for a coarse grind, while pour-over requires a finer grind.

Additionally, a finer grind will require more coffee to extract its flavors. Experimenting with different types of coffee and grind sizes can help you find the right combination for your desired taste.

Conclusion

In conclusion, brew ratios are crucial to making the perfect cup of coffee. Different brewing methods require different ratios, and it is important to experiment to find the best ratio. The SCA Golden Ratio is a widely accepted guideline for making the perfect cup of coffee.

It states that one should use 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces (177ml) of water. This ratio ensures the best extraction and flavor from the coffee, and it is easy to adjust the ratio to suit your personal preferences. It is important to note that all brewing ratios are in grams; 1 gram of coffee to “x” grams of water.

Understanding the SCA Golden Ratio will help you make the perfect cup of coffee every time and also give you an understanding of how to adjust other brewing methods and ratios like the 1:15 ratio for stronger coffee or the 1:16 ratio for an average cup of coffee.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.