The Perfect Coffee to Water Ratio When Making Your Coffee.
Do you ever notice how bland your coffee tastes sometimes? Other times, it may be a bit too bitter for your taste. This is probably because your coffee to water ratio is way off. This is what separates good coffee from terrible ones. You have to nail the right measurements when making your daily cup of caffeine.
But how exactly do you measure the right ratio for your coffee? Keep reading to find out.
Measuring with a tablespoon
Americans often measure using grams or milliliters. This is all well and good, but you need complicated instruments to get these specific measurements. They don't make measuring spoons with the words "grams" in them, after all.
Admittedly, it's quite hard to convert grams to a tablespoon. Even if you do a quick Google search, the results may end up confusing you even more. It'll show you that for every tablespoon of coffee, you will need 15 grams.
Now that doesn't seem right. So I tried measuring my coffee with a tablespoon to see how many grams were really in it. What I did was take one heaping scoop of coffee, and I poured it onto my weighing scale. The scale measured exactly 5 grams. I tried leveling out the coffee on the spoon before weighing it, and the weight dropped down to 4 grams.
The takeaway here is to measure it yourself. Don't blindly rely on Google's conversion. You might end up with way too much coffee for one serving.
Why it's important to measure your coffee to water ratio
If you don't want to end up with a bland or bitter cup of coffee, always measure how much water and coffee grounds you put. You can't just blindly throw in the two ingredients and expect to get decent coffee.
Make it a habit to measure your ingredients before you make a cup of coffee. Otherwise, you'll end up with a beverage that you won't even finish. That's a waste of time and money. I suggest you invest in a kitchen scale. This machine will save you from inaccurate measurements, and it's also very easy to use.
Ideally, you will want at least 500 grams of water for every 30 grams of coffee beans. This is only a general rule of thumb, so you can freely experiment to get your desired flavor.
How to measure properly your coffee to water ratio
In this step-by-step process, we will be using a coffee to water ratio of 1:17 to make two cups of coffee. You will need a kettle, water, coffee, and a digital scale.
Measure the water - Place your empty kettle on the digital scale and press the "tare" button. This will reset the scale back to zero even if the kettle is on top of it. Slowly add in water until the scale reads 355 grams. Once you get the right measurement, set your kettle aside.
Here's a tip, though. You might want to add a bit more water if you plan on boiling it. The process of boiling water will reduce the amount that you have in the kettle because it will evaporate.
Measure the coffee beans - Now that you have the right measurement for your water, it's time to measure the good stuff: coffee beans. Make sure to reset your scale after measuring your water.
Place a bowl or container on top of the digital scale. Press the tare button again to set the scale back to zero. Measure at least 21 grams of whole coffee beans. You don't have to grind it before you measure it.
Brewing coffee - You have the right amount of water and coffee now. The only thing you have to do is brew that sweet cup of coffee! Simply add the ground coffee into the filter of your drip brewer and pour the water in slowly.
How to adjust the servings
Measuring correctly doesn't take much time or effort at all. The only reason why some people don't do it is that it might be difficult to adjust the measurements in case they want to make coffee for more than two people.
Using an automatic drop can be quite tedious because of this. It's even more difficult for people who aren't a huge fan of mathematics because adjusting measurements will require you to compute. Luckily, there are a lot of coffee brewing ratio charts available on the internet. You can use one of these as a reference, but you can make a few adjustments here and there based on your taste.
But keep this in mind. Don't ever decrease or increase the amount of water if you do plan on adjusting the coffee grounds. Follow what's on the chart that you found. This is to ensure the maximum quality of your cup of coffee.
I need stronger coffee! - The guidelines provided by the charts you find are all well and good. But as previously mentioned, you can make a couple of adjustments when it comes to the amount of coffee you put. If you want a stronger blend, you can add more grounds depending on your taste.
The general ratio is between 1:15 and 1:18. I tried out the 1:17 ratio to get an idea of how the coffee will turn. However, it's not recommended to go past 1:15. The coffee turned out a bit too strong for most people.
Another thing to keep in mind when adding more coffee grounds is if you put in too much, your coffee will be heavy and a bit chunky. Adding a lot more could possibly ruin the coffee. So don't go overboard. Don't let those high-quality coffee grounds go to waste.
On the off chance that you decided to go with the 1:18 ratio and the coffee is still not strong enough, you should purchase a darker roast. Using a different brewing method or tool might also help in making the coffee stronger. If you prefer strong coffee like espresso, invest in an espresso machine. Drip brewers can't achieve the product that espresso machines produce.
Avoiding Heart Palpitation - The reason why you shouldn't go past the 1:18 ratio is that the stronger the coffee, the stronger the heart palpitation is. The lighter the coffee, the fewer chances of your heart pounding right out of your chest.
But did you know having fewer grounds can also cause problems? It'll end up over-extracted, resulting in a weak or bland coffee taste. No one wants to drink bland coffee, right?
Alternative Coffee Brewing Methods
Automatic drip brewers aren't all that popular nowadays. Chances are, only coffee enthusiasts own one. After all, there are a lot of alternatives like coffee and espresso machines. The method explained above only works if you use a drip brewer.
But what if you're using something else? An explanation of how to measure the coffee to water ratio for other brewing methods can be found below.
The methods below can be adjusted to your taste. You don't have to follow it down to the t. Think of it as a recommendation or a guide. After all, only you know how you want your coffee.
Cold Brew Method - Let's talk about the cold brew method. All iced coffee enthusiasts love this method. Not only is it great for beating the heat, but it requires almost no effort to do. If you are not familiar with this, the cold brew method produces concentrated coffee. This means the mixture will need to be diluted with water to avoid heart palpitations or bitter-tasting coffee. So keep in mind that the ratio that is being suggested is for concentrated coffee, not the finished product.
You can try using a ratio of 1:8 first if you are new to this brewing method. The result is a medium-strength concentrate. However, if you've been using this method for quite some time, a ratio of 1:5 is ideal.
Now that you have the measurements for the cold brew concentrate let's talk about how much water you will need to dilute it. This highly depends on your taste. So don't be discouraged if your first cup doesn't turn outright. It takes time for you to get the right measurement. Ideally, you should start with a 1:2 ratio of coffee to water with ice. However, if you don't want ice in your coffee, you can just add more water. Slowly add more water if the product of this measurement is too bitter for you. Keep going until you reach your desired level of strength.
French Press - Brewing coffee with a French press is very easy. Anyone can do it. The recommended ratio for this brewing method is 1:10. This measurement is ideal for coffee fans who love strong, heavy, and thick brews. If you want a lighter cup of coffee, go for a 1:16 ratio.
Use these two measurements as a guideline for when you want to adjust it. You can choose any measurement between 1:10 and 1:16. In case you don't have a scale yet, the measurements are 2 tablespoons and 6 ounces of water. You can increase or decrease the amount from there. A French press requires coarse ground coffee. This means there will be quite a bit of space between your coffee grounds. This is okay because weighing it will give you a more accurate reading compared to other measuring methods.
Pour Over - You've seen a lot of videos of people using the pour-over method on the internet. Coffee fans consider this as the most artistic way of brewing your coffee. However, not everyone can pull off this method. You will need exact measurements to produce high-quality brews.
If you're familiar with this method, you very well know that there is a huge difference in the product if you use a gooseneck kettle. Yes, the type of kettle is important. But not as important as measuring the ingredients. Start with a coffee to water ratio of 1:17. In case you don't have a scale, 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee are enough for 6 ounces of water. However, keep in mind that you won't achieve the same product all the time even if you follow the measurements. What's important is you have a guide on how to measure properly for the pour-over brewing method.
Aeropress - An Aeropress is a popular and one-of-a-kind brewing tool. If you adjust your measurements, using an Aeropress may give you a coffee concrete closely resembling espresso. The great thing about the Aeropress is that it comes with a measuring system. There are marks on the tool, and you'll see numbers like 1, 2, 3, and 4. There is also a scoop that comes with the tool. The numbers on the Aeropress correlate with the number of scoops or servings. Use the numbers as a guide for the measurement of your water.
Aeropress recommends that you follow the measurements properly if you are using 1 or 4 scoops. However, if you opt to use 2 or 3 scoops only, you can fill it to the top or bottom of the recommended measurements on the tool. If you fill it below the oval, you will have a richer brew that closely resembles a latte. Filling it to the top of the oval, on the other hand, will give you a lighter brew that is suitable for a long black or Americano.
Ground Coffee VS Whole Beans
The majority of coffee lovers prefer whole beans because this preserves the flavor and intensity of your coffee. Freshly ground coffee also produces the best brew. But the question is, does using whole coffee beans affect your measurements of the ingredients?
If you are using a scale, this won't be a problem. This is why you should invest in a digital scale. They're small, affordable, and can be bought in most, if not all, appliance stores. When using whole beans, you will obviously have to grind them before you can brew them.
Also, you measure the beans whole, not after you grind them. Grinders are often low static. This minimizes the chance of your grounds sticking to the device. That's why it's okay to measure your coffee while it's still in bean form. However, if you measure ingredients by volume, things may get a bit more complicated. Don't panic just yet. There's an ideal measurement, and I will share it with you.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one tablespoon can hold 5 grams of coffee. One mL of water weighs at least a gram. You will need to do a bit of calculating afterward using your ideal ratio. However, keep in mind that although this estimate works for most people, others might need to adjust it accordingly. This depends entirely on your taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you measure coffee without a digital scale? How?
It's possible, but it's a bit more complicated. This is exactly why you should invest in a digital scale. But if you really don't want to or you simply don't have the time to go out to buy one, you can use a different measuring tool.
If you're using a coffee dripper, the measurements don't exactly have to be perfect. If the weight of your ingredients is a bit off because you used a cup or tablespoon to measure, then that's completely fine. But don't be too relaxed when using a different brewing method. If you take a look at the Pour Over method, this requires high accuracy to produce the best results.
Is a digital scale important for measuring coffee?
Yes! Not only will it make your life easier, but you will get more accurate measurements of your ingredients. This will result in better-tasting coffee. It will also save you a lot of time since you rarely have to go through the trial and error phase.
Does the size of my grounds affect the intensity of my coffee?
To an extent, yes, it does. The ratio and measurements provided above give you a lot of room to adjust it to your taste. But the size of your grounds may impact the taste of the coffee. If you don't use whole beans, then that's fine. This won't be a problem for you. But if you grind your own beans, it's best to have a grinder with range. Let me explain. If you're looking to brew mild coffee, you should use a coarse grinder.
If you're not familiar with this concept, the finer the coffee, the stronger it is. The more coarse the coffee, the lighter it is. So adjust your grinder depending on how you want your coffee to turn out.
You have to consider the different brewing methods before you follow the ratios provided here. As explained above, different methods require different measurements. So go ahead and try them out one by one and adjust the ratio accordingly. This is your guide to making your ideal cup of coffee.
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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content.
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