The Most Optimal Coffee To Water Ratio

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Coffee to Water Ratio Guide

Generally, people brew their cup of coffee using guesswork in the measure of the ingredients. This approach is good to save time, but brings up two main problems:

  • Inconsistency in taste;
  • No perfection in Brewing

You have a nice grinder, a top-rated drip coffee maker, well-roasted beans, and even a weighing scale. But still, each brewing cycle ends up differently. Sometimes good, next runs average and another, yuk. It’s time to look at the Coffee to Water ratio seriously as that can seriously make or break your taste!

Most Optimal Coffee to Water Ratio

For majority of people, the taste palette saturates between the ratio of 1:15 to 1:18: the larger number is water and smaller part is coffee.

A general guideline called the “Golden Ratio” – one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences.

Check the cup lines or indicators on your specific brewer to see how they actually measure. And remember, some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing patterns.


As a general rule of thumb, when you don’t want to stress your mind much, go for a ratio of 1:17, after that adjust accordingly. If the taste feels light, increase the portion of coffee. On the opposite, if the taste feels stronger, increase the water part or decrease the coffee.

Another simpler method is to use 2 tbsp of coffee for a strong cup which means, 8 tbsp for 4 cups, 12 tbsp for 6 cups, and 16 Tbsp for 8 cups of coffee. Similarly, decrease the measure to 1 and 1/2 tbsp per cup for medium-strong and 1 tbsp for a mild cup of coffee.

The above were some general rules if you are basic coffee drinker. For people looking for deeper insights, below is an enhanced guide for perfection as the ratio varies for different brewing methods.

Drip Coffee to Water Ratio [or Pour-Over Ratio]

Drip/Pour-Over Ratio

A drip or a pour-over coffee maker is the most common brewing equipment found in most American households. This method requires a lesser part of coffee because a steady flow of water runs through the coffee grounds. The time duration of steeping of water into coffee grounds is longer and so, the process extracts a good flavor profile.

If you are using a Chemex or Pour-over, the ratio of 1:17 will give a mild cup of coffee whereas the ratio of 1:15 will give strong. Try between these ratios and you’ll get the best taste you might be seeking for.

Aeropress or French Press Coffee Ratio

French- Press Coffee Ratio

For people more curious about brewing coffee, French press or an Aeropress is mostly their piece of equipment. The process of brewing in these methods stays in full manual control and the coffee grounds stay in water for long, the ratio plays a very important role.

There span between higher and lower values is large when we talk go from mild to strong coffee, varying anywhere between 1:11 to 1:16. On the lower numbers, 1:11 will give your coffee a bold taste whereas, 1:16 will do mild. In grams, approximately 21 grams of coffee for each cup of french press coffee will give a strong flavor. Whereas for a mild cup, 14.7 grams of coffee for each 8 oz of coffee will do. You can experiment in between for your favorite taste.

Espresso Shot Ratio

A totally different process involves making espresso and so, the ratio concept is a lot different. An espresso flavor completely depends on the length of extraction – shorter extraction gives intense flavor. A ratio of 1:1 is typically called a Ristretto and is the shortest espresso shot whereas 1:3 is a Lungo, meaning a longer shot. In between, 1:2 is the basic espresso shot.

The calculation here is totally different. It’s because the espresso is more specifically a different brew with bold flavors and lesser volume.

Moka Pot Ratio

Moka-Pot Coffee Water Ratio

The next is Moka, a form of making espresso without a machine. But again, it’s a different level. To keep it short, we suggest playing with a ratio of 1:7 where 1 part of coffee goes with 7 parts of water. For a 4-cup Moka pot, the filter basket can hold about 15-17 grams of coffee and so, there is not a lot to experiment with as the holding capacity is already fixed at the optimal size. When you are brewing one cup, adjust accordingly by dividing the full quantity by the number of cups.

You might like: Our Favorite Single Serve Coffee Makers

Cold Brew Ratio

Though cold brew somewhere resembles pour-over brewing, there is a major difference – the water temperature. In cold-brew, the extraction is done using cold water instead of hot and hence the process needs more coffee grounds. If we use the same ratio as in a pour-over, the extracted coffee will taste watery.

So, for cold brew, we suggest playing somewhere between 1:2 to 1:7. The smaller the ratio, the more intense and bolder will be the flavors.

Wrap Up

Coffee To Water Ratio

Talk about coffee with some other and you will discover something more. A flavor profile or palette is different for each person and so, every coffee-cup cannot be the same for everyone.


  1. What is the ratio of water to coffee?

    The general and most simple answer is the ratio of 1:15 to 1:18, where the larger part is water and smaller is coffee.

  2. How much coffee do I use for 8 cups of water?

    For 8 cups of water assuming 6 oz. of water per cup, you would go for 2 tbsp. coffee per cup that means 16 tbsp. of coffee grounds in total.

  3. How much coffee do I use per cup?

    The simple, straight and easiest answer to this question is 2 tablespoons. For a 6 oz. cup, use 2 tbsp. of coffee grounds and multiply accordingly for greater numbers.

Coffee is not any science, but it’s your virtue, your liking. So, the ratio should not bound you from experimenting. The above guide should help you bring closer to a good cup, but not the best. The best cup is your responsibility, and for that, keep trying new!