The Home Brew: A Short Guide to Coffee Brewing Ratios
There are a couple of factors you need to consider before brewing your coffee. The kind of coffee itself, the water you’ll be using and its temperature, the grind size, brew method, and others. Knowing just how much water to use relative to the amount of coffee you’ll be brewing is important in getting to that perfect cup for you, and that’s where the coffee brewing ratio comes in.
What is the Coffee Brewing Ratio?
Simply put, a coffee’s brewing ratio tells you how much water to use when you’re brewing a certain amount of coffee. If you’re preparing to brew a cup for just one person for example, how much coffee do you need and how much water would be used to brew that cup.
The ratio matters because if you get the ratio right, you’ll be brewing a mighty fine cup that brings out all the good qualities of your coffee while maintaining a balanced cup overall. Using too much water might cause you to have a diluted cup while using too little water could result in a strong and unpleasant brew.
The "Golden Ratio"
You may have heard of the “golden ratio”. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, this ratio is 55g of coffee to 1L of water, plus or minus 10%, which would be about 1:18. The reason why there’s such a standard is because in order for the SCA to properly evaluate a cup of coffee, they’d need to set some ground rules that they should follow. Your golden ratio, however, may depend on how you enjoy your coffee. Some people like brewing it slightly stronger at a ratio of 1:15 for example, or even going as low as 1:13. Your preferred ratio should also factor
Types of Coffee Brew Methods
It should be noted that up to this point, the ratios discussed have been for pour over coffee, and the ratio will differ depending on the type of brew method you’re using. Here we have some different brewing methods and their recommended ratio:
For espresso, you can start with a ratio of 1:2 and you can adjust accordingly depending on the extraction.
For pour overs, a happy middle for us would be a ratio of 1:15 to start. If you feel the coffee could be a bit too strong, you can go for a 1:16 ratio or even up to 1:17, but we’d probably not go higher than that.
For an immersion brewer like a French Press, you could go a little lower with your ratio since the coffee will be steeped for a certain amount of time and since the grounds of your coffee will be more on the courser side. Try starting with 1:13 and see where that leads you.
Unlike the French Press, the Aeropress can be used in a variety of different ways that even the ratios can get out of whack. For this specific instance, we’re only going to advise a ratio for either the traditional or inverted method, which for us would be a ratio of 1:13.33, or essentially 15g of coffee to 200ml of water.
For cold brew, it will depend on the intended length of steeping and what kind of cold brew you intend to make. Regardless of the situation, your grind size will be on the coarser side as well, similar to a French Press. If it’s more of a concentrated brew, you can go as low as 1:5 and adjust up to 1:7. For a ready-to-drink cold brew, you can do 1:10 to 1:12.