Coffee Basics: Brewing Ratios – How much water to coffee to use?

For this week’s Coffee Basics entry, we’ll walk you through the optimal ratios of coffee to water for brewing the best coffee no matter what method you are using. For help finding the right brewing methods, read our previous Coffee Basics post.

Just as we mentioned in the brewing methods post, making good coffee can come down to some pretty fine details, including the size of the ground coffee particles, the temperature of your water, and brewing duration. For this post, we’ll be talking about the best ratio for common drip and immersion brew methods.

As a broad standard, we recommend 1:17 ratio

With a 1:17 ratio, for every 1 gram of coffee, use 17 grams of water. This allows for a best chance of an ideal extraction—the process of dissolving soluble flavors from coffee grounds in waterwith a complementary strength. This ratio is optimal for manual and automatic pour over methods.

For pour overs like this one, and manual brewers, use the 1:17 ratio.

As you may have noticed, we recommend our ratios based on weight in grams. To weigh your coffee, we recommend using basic kitchen scales or for those who want to be extra precise, high-tech scales like the Acaia Pearl from our online shop.

For those without a scale, using tablespoons and ounces to measure coffee or water, follow the ratio of 1:4. 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 4 ounces of water.

There are slight differences in this standard, recommended ratio for “full immersion” brewing methods such as French presses, clever drippers, and siphons. These methods require a tighter ratio, closer to 1:15 as shown in the diagram below.

Because the water and coffee sit together much longer in a full immersion brew method than in a drip method like the auto drip or the pour over—where water flows through the grounds rather than the grounds steeping in it—there is more time for extraction to happen, so a little less coffee helps balance out the flavor.

We hope this guide has helped to improve your brewing process and helps create better cups of coffee.