Brewing that perfect cup of coffee is an art that coffee enthusiasts are continuously perfecting. One of the most important factors in making an excellent cup of coffee is the coffee-to-water ratio. The ratio of coffee grounds to water determines how well the flavors and aromas of coffee beans get extracted during the brewing process. The perfect balance that highlights the natural features of coffee beans is what everyone strives for. In this blog, we will delve into the details of the perfect coffee-to-water ratio, how you can measure it, and tips for getting the best brew.
Coffee Brew Ratio Basics
Understanding the basics of coffee ratios is an essential part of brewing great-tasting specialty coffee. The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) provides guidelines to help you find the perfect balance for your cup.
The basic ratio for any type of coffee is 1:16, which means one gram of ground coffee for every 16 ounces (or one liter) of water. This can be adjusted depending on how strong you would like your beverage and what brewing method you’re using — French press, pour-over, cold brew or espresso machine — but this ratio should give you a good starting point and flavor profile.
For instances in which less volume is desired such as single-serve mugs, it’s recommended to increase the ratio to 1:14 so that each cup will have more intensity without compromising taste quality. For stronger brews like espresso shots, the SCA recommends doubling up on grounds with a higher ratio of 1:8 or even higher ratios depending on the desired concentration level.
When experimenting with various recipes and ratios it’s important to keep in mind that adjusting too much will alter both strength and taste profile drastically; start by changing scales incrementally before making dramatic changes until you land upon a recipe that suits your palate best!
Who is the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)?
The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is the leading non-profit trade organization for those working in specialty coffee, dedicated to providing support and education to businesses, professionals, and consumers alike. An international membership-based association of coffee enthusiasts and professionals, SCA is focused on setting standards for excellence in quality throughout the industry and it seeks to increase consumer knowledge about proper brewing methods as well as promote sustainable production practices around the world. The association was formed in 1982 with a mission “to continue to lead the global specialty coffee industry through focusing on quality, sustainability, training & education, science & research”.
Coffee to Water Ratios for Different Brewing Methods
The coffee ratio varies with the brewing method.
- For drip coffee, you will need a ratio of 1:15 to 1:18
- For French press coffee, you will need a ratio of 1:12 to 1:15
- Cold brew requires a ratio of 1:5 to 1:8
These ratios are only a guide, and you can adjust the ratio to your preference. If you like your coffee stronger or milder, adjust the ratio according to your preference.
Measuring the Coffee and Water
To measure the coffee and water accurately, you need to use a kitchen scale. Eyeballing measurements can lead to inconsistencies, and you may end up with a weak or bitter brew. You can also use a measuring spoon to help you determine the right amount of coffee to use based on your desired ratio. When measuring the water, ensure that you take into consideration the amount of water lost during the brewing process, which helps you determine the exact amount of water to use.
Tips for Brewing Coffee
Making the best brew isn’t just about starting with quality freshly ground coffee beans, but also understanding how to use different methods of brewing and achieving the ideal ratio. Here are some tips to help you obtain the perfect cup of brewed coffee:
French Press – If you’re using a French Press, make sure your grind is coarse so it won’t slip through the filter. The traditional “rule-of-thumb” for quantifying water/coffee ratios would be 1 part water / 2 parts ground coffee beans (or about 8 ounces of water for every 14 grams of grounds). Also be mindful that when using a French Press, it takes more time than other brewing styles; plan on around 4 minutes from start to finish.
Drip Coffee – To make great drip-style coffee you don't need anything too fancy; just keep a fine grind and experiment with temperature if your brewer will allow it (a standard drip brewer temp is around 195°F–205°F). One good rule-of-thumb for determining portions would be 3 parts water / 1 part grounds (or 15 ounces of hot tap water for every 7 grams of medium grind espresso roast). A great tip for making drip style is that using preheated cups will result in more even extraction throughout your pot's volume.
Cold Brew - Cold brewing can take up to 12 hours! For cold brew, you'll want a coarser grind than normal since cold brewed way extracts slower due to less heat being used during steam pressure infusion or agitation compared to any conventional method like espresso or Aeropress, etc.
The suggested ratio here could range between 6 parts cold filtered water / 1 part coarsely ground espresso beans (about 40oz cold filtered water & 14 grams dark roast coffee) which should give an adequate saturation rate based on average extraction percentages per brew type.
Feel free to look into solubles yield calculations as well that usually involve total dissolved solids measurements with refraction indices measurement tools to determine accurate saturation rates through science instead experimentation.
Achieving the perfect coffee-to-water ratio is an essential step towards achieving that perfect cup of coffee. The ratio you use depends on various factors such as the coffee roast, origin, and type of brewing method. Always use a kitchen scale to measure the coffee and water accurately and take into consideration other factors such as water quality and temperature to get the perfect brew. With these tips, you are on your way to becoming a coffee brewing pro.