The importance of water-to-coffee ratio

In three previous blog articles, we discussed some fundamentals that make for a great cup of coffee – grind size, water temperature and brewing (contact) time.  This is the final blog post in this series where we introduce the importance of the coffee-to-water ratio.

Start with good water

The water you use is very important to the quality of your brewed coffee.  Always start with fresh, clean and odor free water. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or has a strong odor or taste, such as chlorine. 

If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before measuring or filling your coffee brewer, and be sure to use cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water.

The coffee-to-water ratio

A general guideline is 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 that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods. 

Weighing your coffee and measuring you water

Maybe you’re thinking, why should I care about weighing my coffee and measuring my water to match? The best answer is that the flavor of your cup of coffee will vary from brewing to brewing, if you don’t. So if you want your coffee to taste its best every time, you need to weigh it. You will be amazed at how using a coffee scale can improve your cup – and save you money on coffee because of the precise amount you use each time. And measuring allows you to experiment with different ratios to find what you like best. Here are two charts that can be helpful in getting started towards a better cup. 


The bottom line is that a great cup of coffee is no accident.  To brew like a barista, follow these four fundamentals to making a consistently great cup of coffee:

  1. Grind size – grind your coffee to match your brewing method. Extra fine for Espresso to Coarse for French Press. Drip and pour over methods will fall in between those two.
  2. Water temperature – 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the “Goldilocks zone” to achieve proper extraction of coffees flavor. Higher temperatures leaves your coffee bitter.  Lower temperatures result in a weaker cup.
  3. Brew time – the grind you use and the brewing method will dictate brew time. Over-extracting? - the brew time is too long Under-extracting? - the brew time is too short
  4. Coffee-to-water ratio – as discussed, start with the charts above and adjust the ratio to your personal taste. You'll make every cup a great cup.

Review the previous blog articles for more detail.

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