For a majority of people, the best way to start the day is with a good cup of Joe and one of the best ways to make that happen is to ensure that you are brewing your own coffee.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets it right when it comes to brewing a good cup of coffee because most of the time, you will always get it wrong with the measurements or don’t have the right tools.
When that happens, your coffee will either be too strong or too weak, something that can discourage you from brewing coffee again, even when using premium organic coffee.
Why the Amount of Coffee Matters
When it comes to making a consistent cup of coffee every time, you must learn how to accurately measure your ingredients.
You can either opt for a simple kitchen scale that you can use to measure your coffee beans in grams or you might want to opt for other measuring methods.
Usually, the preferred water to coffee bean ratio is 500 millimeters of water to 30 grams of coffee beans.
You might want to experiment with other ratios, but this is the acceptable measurement for a cup of coffee of decent strength.
The biggest challenge when it comes to measuring coffee is knowing how much you are supposed to use.
In that case, if you end up using too much coffee, your brew will be under-extracted. The coffee will then either taste sour or salty, will not have a lot of sweetness, and will lack the depth that only a good cup can offer. On the other hand, if you don’t use enough coffee, the brew will end up being thin, watery, and weak tasting.
Over extracted coffee is bitter and dry while the under-extracted one is empty and sour tasting.
At the end of the day, when it comes to how much coffee to water ratio you are supposed to use, there is no right or wrong answer.
What it all comes down to is your personal preference, but the best place to start is with one liter of water and 60 grams of coffee.
Benefits of Measuring a Coffee
If you would rather brew your own coffee rather than buy one, then you need to know how to measure coffee to get the best tasting brew.
It’s a technique that is worth learning and one that will save you so much in the future in the form of money you would have to spend buying coffee.
When it comes to making the best cup of coffee, then finding a balance between the ratio of ground coffee and water is important.
Coffee beans come in different densities, with some being less or denser than others, which messes up with the measurements.
In addition, the volume of the espresso varies widely depending on the roast and freshness level of the beans, which is the main reason why coffee measurement is important.
Once you get it right in coffee measurement, then a scale helps you become more consistent and repeat the same result every time you want to brew coffee.
Whenever you are using the grind time function on the grinder, the chances are that you might end up grinding more coffee than you need, which leads to wastage.
With a good weighing scale, all this becomes a thing of the past and you get to be more accurate with your measurements.
You Get to Experiment
When you are using a scale, you are in a better position to play around with the different brew ratios so that you can find the perfect balance.
With that said, some coffee tends to taste better with 1:2 ratios, which helps to highlight the different subtle notes, while other coffees are okay at a ratio of 1:1.
If you are looking for more control over your brew, then you need to learn how to measure your coffee.
How Does Coffee Measuring Work
If you have finally decided to start brewing your own coffee, then learning how to measure your coffee is vital.
The problem that most people face is determining how much coffee they should use, whether a scoop, a tablespoon or simply using a coffee scale.
When it comes to the art of coffee brewing, precision and evenness are at the top of the list.
There are so many measurement tools that you can use, from the total amount of dissolved solids in a cup to coffee grinds particle distribution.
At the end of the day, however, not considering all the high tech measuring as well as analytical tools, what remains is the simple digital scale.
When it comes to coffee brewing, the ingredients are always measured in grams. This tends to be more reliable than using other volume measurements such as tablespoons and cups.
The reason behind this approach is that coffees have different masses. Once the coffee has been roasted, it undergoes different changes, with the main one being the change in the moisture content of the beans.
A green coffee before roasting tends to have a moisture content of around 11%. After roasting, the moisture content reduces, which leaves the coffee bean weighing 15 to 20 percent less.
During the roasting process, the moisture content drops to around 3 to 5 percent mainly because the water in the beans turns to steam and is released, which leaves the beans weighing less.
Generally, the darker the beans are roasted, the more moisture will be lost. As such, dark coffee tends to weigh less than the light roasted one, which is a more than enough reason to measure your coffee when brewing.
Coffee Brew Ratios for Each Brew Method
With everyone taking up coffee brewing nowadays, the chances are that you are not brewing your coffee with an automatic drip brewer, which means that you don’t get your measurements right. Here are a few ways of measuring coffee for different brew methods.
What you need to keep in mind, however, is that changing the water to coffee ratio is just a matter of preference for when you want to change the strength of the brew.
The cold brew is one of the most common brewing methods, especially when you need a summer drink. Cold brew coffee is naturally sweeter since the brewing method creates a concentrated brew rather than a finished one.
The brew is then diluted with water later on in the process. When it comes to a cold brew, you can start with a 1:8 coffee to water ratio.
This ratio should create a brew with a mild level intensity that most people prefer. If you are looking for something a little stronger, then you can start with a 1:5 ratio.
When it comes to diluting the brew, how much water you add will depend on your tastes, which is why you need to mix it up for every cup.
With that in mind, it is recommended that you dilute the coffee as you are drinking rather than diluting the entire carafe at once.
Start with a 1:2 water to ice ratio. If you don’t want to add ice, there is no harm diluting your brew with water.
As you dilute, taste the brew and twerk the dilution to what feels better-tasting to you.
When it comes to pour-over coffee, the process is more of an art and a science. As such, while you may get away with not using scales with cold and drip brews, you need one with this brewing method.
If you have ever brewed pour-over coffee before, then you know just how much difference brewing in a gooseneck kettle makes, and using a scale is just as important.
The best place to start when making a pour-over brew is with a 1:17 coffee to water ratio. If you don’t own a scale, then you can use one to two tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.
While this method will not give you the same results as when you use a scale, it is good enough to get the job done right.
If you prefer a stronger, bolder brew that is thick and rich in flavors, then you might want to start with a 1:10 ratio.
If you like a lighter brew that tastes more like tea, however, start with a 1:16 ratio. Use the two ratios as a guideline to adjust the brew so that it falls somewhere in between.
If you don’t have a scale, start with about two tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water and then either move up or down from there.
At the end of the day, since you require a coarse grind for French press, then grind your French press coffee for better taste.
Whole Beans vs Ground Coffee
Buying whole beans and grinding them yourself is one of the best ways of ensuring that your coffee always tastes fresh.
With that in mind, however, avoid engaging in coffee grinding without a grinder because this will mess up with your measurements.
The question, however, is whether this affects how you measure your coffee.
If you are using a coffee scale, then there is no effect whatsoever. Most grinders, especially the handheld ones, are designed to be low static.
What this means is that the grounds don’t get stuck; hence their weight is essentially the same when ground as they were whole. In short, each bean from a coffee grinder comes out the same size, which is why it doesn’t matter if you use scales or not.
However, if you are using volume measurement tools, then it can be difficult to determine how much coffee you need to grind, but there is a rule of thumb to follow.
One tablespoon equals about 5 grams of coffee and a millimeter of water is about a gram. When you understand this, then all you need to do is to use simple math when implementing your chosen ratio.
What you need to keep in mind, however, is that while this may work for some brews, it leaves too much room for errors with other brews.
How to Use Brew Ratios
Brew ratios are simply guidelines that show you how much water and coffee you need to use. They give you an easy recipe that you can reciprocate with every brew you make.
A brew ratio will look something like this; 1:15, 1:16, 1:17, and more, in which case a ratio of 1:15 means using one-part coffee and 15 parts water, which could be 20 grams of ground coffee brewed using about 300 grams of water, which produces 300 millimeters of coffee.
If you want to use brew ratios, then here is a step by step guide that you can follow:
Step 1 – Start with the coffee amount that you wish to use
For instance, if you want to use 20 grams of coffee, then you can go ahead and multiply that with the brew ratio in this case of 15, which gives you 300 grams of brewed coffee.
In such a case, you need a scale to measure out 20 grams of coffee that you will brew with a French Press.
Set up the press on the scales and then add the ground coffee. Next, press the tare on the scale and then pour water into the press until you get a weight of 300 grams.
Step 2 – Decide on how much coffee you are going to make
This is one of the most preferred methods for a lot of people. Start by deciding how much coffee you want and then figure out the brew ratio based on that.
The first challenge is deciding on the amount of coffee. The standard portable coffee mug, for instance, has different options.
Let’s say you want 10 ounces or 300ml; then, you will need to make about 300g of coffee, which is 300ml in the coffee cup.
To work out the ratio and the amount of coffee you will need to use for 300 grams of water, then divide 300g by 15, which will give you 20g of coffee, which is what you will add to make 300ml of coffee.
How to Measure Coffee With a Scale
Step 1 – Get a digital scale
While you can always use spoons to measure out your coffee, they are not as accurate as a digital scale. A digital scale helps you achieve consistency and quality. You can get one online or from any kitchen supply store and ensure that you get a scale that measures both ounces and grams.
Measuring coffee is difficult mainly because coffee varies in weight. For instance, one spoonful of dark roasted coffee tends to weigh less than light roast coffee.
Step 2 – Measure out the water
Place a coffee cup on the scale and then hit the tare button to reset the scale. After that, pour out 6 ounces of water, which should be enough to make a standard cup of coffee.
Step 3 – Measure out the coffee
Place another cup of coffee on the scale and reset it once more; add premium coffee beans or grounds slowly until you get a reading of 36 ounces or 10 grams.
Most coffee mugs are usually about 8 fluid ounces; therefore, add .06 ounces of coffee and 2 extra ounces of water.
Step 4 – Grind the coffee
If you are using coffee beans, grind them. You can get a grinder online or from a kitchen supply store to help you break down the beans.
Step 5 – Brew the coffee
The last step is to go ahead and start brewing your coffee. With this step, just do it the way you normally do. Using a brewing machine works better since all you need to do is add the components.
For other brewing methods like a French press, you will need to boil the water on your own first before you allow the coffee to steep in the water for a couple of minutes.
How to Measure Coffee With a Tablespoon
Step 1 – Get a coffee spoon
Most kitchen supply stores always stock coffee spoons, so it shouldn’t be hard finding one. The scoops, most of the time, equal 2 tablespoons or 29.6ml, which is the average amount of coffee required to make a standard cup of Joe.
The challenge, however, is that coffees come in different densities thanks to the roasting process, which means that you will not always end up with the exact 2 tablespoons.
For instance, one scoop of finely ground coffee is less dense than the coarsely ground one, which means that you will always have less coffee per scoop.
Step 2 – Pour water into a measuring cup
Use a kitchen measuring cup to make the process easy. Such cups are available in any kitchen supply store. Fill the cup to about ¾ full, which translates to about 177 millimeters.
Step 3 – Scoop some coffee with the spoon
Dip the coffee spoon into your coffee grounds and then scoop out a full 2 tablespoons. If you don’t have a coffee spoon, then a regular measuring spoon will do. Add the grounds to a coffee machine or French press.
Step 4 – Brew the coffee
The last step is to brew the coffee just as you normally do. Add the ingredients into a coffee maker and make adjustments until you get your desired strength. You can try out different types and flavors of coffee to get the one that fits into your taste.
Once you have brewed the coffee, note the taste to change the ratios for an even better-tasting cup next time.
How to Adjust the Strength of Your Coffee
Step 1 – Add beans if you prefer stronger coffee
If the first cup you make ends up tasting weak, then go ahead and measure out a few more beans using a coffee scale when you brew another cup.
Ensure that you use the same amount of water to get a more concentrated cup. Most of the time, a 1:14 coffee to water ratio will produce coffee of medium strength.
Ensure that you always record your ratio of coffee to water to ensure that you recreate the same strength of coffee every time.
Step 2 – Add water for weaker tasting coffee
If the first cup turns out too strong for your liking, then add more water to the scale to make the coffee weaker, ensuring that you keep the beans as consistent as the first time.
How much water you add will depend on how strong the coffee was to you. Just like with the coffee beans, note down the amount of water that gives you the right tasting coffee so that you can copy that next time.
Step 3 – Experiment with different coffee beans
When it comes to adjusting the strength of your coffee, nothing beats finding the best roast for the best tasting cup of coffee.
Some beans tend to be intensely flavored and bitter, while others are mild and sweet. You can get coffees from Amazon of different blend and flavor or ask your local barista about the different beans available so that you get a roast that suits your taste.
Instant coffee has a long shelf life also, which makes it easy to experiment with different coffee brands to find the one that suits you best.
Do’s and Don’ts When Measuring Coffee
- Do ensure that you get a coffee digital scale to get the most accurate reading. While you can measure out the coffee with a spoon, it is not as accurate as a digital scale.
- Do consider the type of coffee beans and ground since different coffees have different densities.
- Do adjust the coffee to water ratio to get a cup that suits your taste. If you prefer stronger coffee, then use more coffee than water and vice versa.
- Do not forget to take down the measurements when you achieve your desired taste so that you can repeat that next time you brew coffee.
FAQ About Coffee Measuring
How much coffee do I use per cup?
The general rule of thumb when making one cup of coffee is to use one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. You can, however, adjust this to suit your taste preferences.
How much coffee do I use for 4 cups?
Most people, as well as the Specialty Coffee Association of America, recommend using two tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. Others recommend using one tablespoon for every cup, but at the end of the day, you are free to adjust the measurements to suit your preferred taste.
How much coffee do you use for 6 cups?
If a standard cup of coffee is 300ml, that means that you need about 1800ml of coffee. Using the brewing ratio of 15, then that would mean dividing 1800 by 15, which gives you 120 grams of coffee for 6 cups of coffee.
How many grams of coffee are there in a tablespoon?
There are about 5 grams of ground coffee in a tablespoon. As mentioned earlier, however, you should consider using scales as well since tablespoons are not as reliable since different coffees have different densities.
How many tablespoons are there in a coffee scoop?
A standard coffee scoop holds approximately 2 tablespoons of ground coffee.
What’s the best scale for measuring coffee?
There are so many companies that make coffee scales, but the best ones are those made by Acacia. They make use of the latest technology when making coffee scales, which leads to scales that have Bluetooth connectivity, brew guides, a flow rate meter, among other features. However, coffee scales made by Jennings, Hario, AWS, and Brewista are also pretty decent.
How to measure coffee without a scale?
If you don’t have scales, you can still measure your coffee, although it will not be as accurate. In such a case, a coffee spoon will work just fine, but you need to consider your coffee first, whether light roast or dark roast.
A standard tablespoon of light roast coffee weighs about 7 grams, dark coffee about 5 grams, while medium roasted coffee falls somewhere in the middle.
The best way to enjoy coffee is to brew it yourself, but most people end up hating the process mainly because they don’t have the knowledge of how to measure their coffee. If you have decided to stop buying coffee and brew your own, then you need to get it right with the measurements and ratios of coffee to water.
With that in mind, the golden rule for a standard cup of coffee is using two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. The ratios are not set in stone, however, and you are free to adjust the coffee or water measurements to get your preferred taste.
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