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Beginners Guide For Coffee to Water Brewing Ratio

The brew ratio is one of the least-understood, but most empowering tools a coffee brewer can benefit from. The quality of your cup of coffee will depend on the quality of the coffee beans, water, and most of all – how you mix them.

I understand being intimidated by weird numbers you may not understand, so I wrote this guide to be as approachable and easy to understand as possible so that you can implement some simple steps to take your brew to the next level.

And trust me – this is going to transform your coffee’s flavour and balance it into greatness immediately.

Why the Coffee brew ratio is so important?

The procedure of making coffee is not complicated. Just like variables, the brew ratio is about manipulating strength and yield to achieve a most perfect cup of coffee. At the end of the day, the coffee we all love is simply a mix of warm water and grinds.

Aside from the brew time and brew technique, the flavour of the coffee will differ based on the brewing method and the number of ingredients used. That is right, the recipe. Making a brew is like baking a cake in that the amount of every ingredient is extremely important.

Just by adding or taking away coffee or water, you can change the flavour of coffee, its thickness, and more. This is true when making multiple cups of coffee. Each one may be slightly different

A jar of water poured on top of one ground coffee bean is not going to make a very strong coffee. That same amount of water poured over sixty ground coffee beans will be relatively balanced.

A jar of water poured over a tub full of ground beans probably would not even yield any brewed coffee, because all the coffee beans will soak up the water. This is the reason I highly recommend using a scale and a timer when brewing.

No Golden Brew Ratio

You’ll most often hear that the best ratio of coffee beans to water is somewhere between 1:15 and 1:18, but this is not forever the case.

The 2014 US Brewers Cup was won with a man using 1:13. While 1:15 through 1:18 might be the most preferred choice by most coffee brewers, those ratios are not brewers' law.

When we discuss a brew ratio, we’re talking in terms of what’s generally accepted as the right ratio for us when brewing coffee at home.

A ratio such as 1:30 (600g of water and 20g of coffee) is going to yield a weak, over-extracted cup.  A ratio of 1:15 (100g of water and 20g of coffee) is going to be overly concentrated, but also way under-extracted. There’s a balance in-between and most drinkers believe 1:15 to 1:18 is that range.

The 1:15 coffee ratio will come out a little bit more concentrated that is likely to be crisp and rich. Since there is less water to extract flavour from the grounds, though, the brew outcome will be less extracted with more acidic than coffee brewed with other ratios.

The 1:18 ratio produces a coffee that’s a bit weaker, but more extracted coffee cup that is mellow and round with a slight acidity. More water is used in this technique, leading to high extraction.

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Calculating the Coffee: Water Ratio

Understanding the coffee brewing ratio is so simple. If you’ve 1g of coffee and 1g of water, the water ratio is 1:1. If you’ve 1gram of coffee and 15 grams of water, the ratio is 1:15. No one brews a 15-gram cup of coffee.

What is expected is a 300-gram cup of coffee. To stay in the generally accepted range of ratios, we need to do some very simple math.

If 1gram of coffee and 15 grams of water is a 1:15 ratio, how many grams of coffee do we need if we want to use 300 grams of water?

Start with what you know – 300 grams of water. Now divide the water mass by the water’s party of the ratio to get the brewing mess.

  •   300 / 15 = 20

With 20gram of coffee and 300 grams of water, you now have a 1:15 ratio and a full cup of coffee. Now imagine you’ve 30 grams of coffee left and you want to use it all in 1 batch – how much water do you need to use to stay in the generally accepted range?

Instead of dividing, it is time to multiply by your picked ratio (1:15).

  •   30 x 15 = 450

Finding the right coffee water ratio for your brewing needs is amazingly simple, and knowing these simple steps will make you look like a coffee guru in front of your friends.

Changing Brew Coffee Ratio

What if you would rather try 1:17 instead of a 1:15 ratio, but still use that similar 300 grams of water for your usual cup of coffee?

Not hard at all!

Like earlier, divide the total water weight by the water part of the ratio.

  •   300 / 17 = 17.6

See how easy that’s? No sweat.

The best ratio for each coffee brew

The coffee-to-water ratio or brew ratio is an adjustment that can be made to almost any brewing way and will examine the strength and flavour of the brew.

French Press or Aero Press Ratio

With immersion brewing in a French or Aero Press, water remains in constant contact with the grounds. This method can limit efficient extraction so you might consider adding more grams of coffee to achieve peak flavour. A 1:12 ratio will come out in a strong brew while a 1:15 should outcome in a standard brew!

Pour Over or Drip Coffee Ratio

Whether it is an automated drip machine or a Chemex, the infusion is arguably the most well-known brew method. A 1:15 ratio should be provided with a strong, bold coffee cup while a 1:17 ratio should provide a lighter and standing up.

Cold Brew Ratio

Because the water is not heated during the cold brewing procedure, it’ll take some time to increase the likelihood of saturated grounds. As an outcome, the ratio will need to be adjusted significantly to avoid brewing brown waster in its place of coffee.

A 1:15 coffee brew ratio should provide a cold brew coffee rich and full-flavoured while a 1:8 will give a lighter cup. As with all of these brew ratios, experimentation will be the key to achieving the right coffee cup for you.

Wrapping up…

With these tidbits of knowledge and a calculator, you’ll be on your way to brewing like never before. Just ensure you have a reliable way of measuring the mass of your water and coffee.

Good luck and happy brewing!


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