How Much Coffee Grounds to Use: Coffee Brewing 101

By: | Updated: April 14, 2021

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If you’ve recently purchased a brand new coffee maker, then you may be wondering how much coffee grounds to use in it.

Unless you’ve shelled out on a model that accepts convenient but expensive, single-serve coffee pods, you’ll need to measure out the grounds yourself, so how much should you be using?

The way you like your cup of coffee, whether it be stronger or weaker than most, will somewhat affect the outcome, but stick to our instructions as a guide to start with.

We will take a closer look at how to brew your own coffee to perfection!

How Much Coffee Grounds to Use

If you ask a few of your friends the scoops of coffee grounds to use, you may get a different answer from every single one.

The reason for this is that the ideal amount of coffee ground needs to be adjusted to suit personal tastes.

If you’re the type of person that likes an extra espresso shot in your favorite takeaway coffee, then it’s very likely that you’ll need to use more coffee grounds than the average person.

Making a great-tasting cup of coffee is about much more than just using the right amount of grounds.

Keep reading for our top tips on how you can create the best tasting cup of coffee at home.

The Golden Ratio

The National Coffee Association suggests that the “golden ratio” of coffee grounds to water is between one and two tablespoons of coffee to every six ounces of water.

That means if you have a 12-ounce French press, you should start with three tablespoons of coffee and then adjust from there.

If you find the coffee too strong for your preference, try reducing it down to just two tablespoons.

On the other hand, if you like it stronger, you can increase the amount of coffee in your next pot to four tablespoons per six ounces.

The Brewing Method

The extraction process you put your coffee through is arguably one of the most important aspects of coffee-making.

As the water makes contact with the coffee grounds, it dissolves all sorts of compounds that end up in your coffee cup.

Some of them can actually taste really nasty, which is why the extraction process is so important.

Properly extracted coffee will only dissolve the right compounds, in the right amounts.

Brewing methods that require longer brewing times usually have more coarsely ground coffee beans for this reason.

There are a variety of brewing methods you can choose from, from pour-overs, French presses, machine-drip, to percolators.

They all make great coffee, so it’s just a case of choosing the one that is the most delicious to you, as well as one that offers you excellent convenience.

Some coffee connoisseurs insist that using paper filters can ruin the coffee’s taste by not allowing some of the essential oils to pass through.

Still, you should follow your personal preference since you’ll be the one drinking it.

The Beans

There is a vast amount of choice when it comes to buying coffee beans.

The beans will taste different, depending on the beans’ variety (arabica, robust, blend), as well as the country and region in which they were grown.

They can also vary based on the type of roast, with darker roasts tasting slightly more bitter.

If you like coffee, you’ll have a lot of fun trying out many of the different options available until you find your favorite.

The Grind

Having figured out how much coffee grounds to use, you also need to think about which is the best grind.

When choosing how your coffee beans are ground, it is important to consider the brewing method you’ll be employing.

Different methods will generally call for a specific type of grind to encourage the best flavors from the extraction method in question.

For example, if you’re using a French press, you should always go for coarsely ground coffee so that it doesn’t end up tasting too bitter and clog up the French press filter.

Here are the best types of grind for each brewing method:

  • French Press: Course grounds
  • Pour-Over: Medium-course grounds
  • Drip and Machine-Drip: Medium grounds
  • Siphon: Medium-fine grounds
  • Aeropress and Espresso: Fine grounds
  • Turkish Coffee Maker: Turkish grounds

The Water

If you have funny tasting tap water at home and generally try to stick to bottled or filtered water, you should also use the same water for your coffee.

Strong tastes from chlorine can affect the way your coffee tastes.

Unlike tea, which utilizes boiling hot water to steep the leaves, coffee will ideally be made with just-under-boiling water.

Once you have brought some water to the boil, let it sit and cool for about a minute before pouring it over.

If you want more of exact science, you can use a thermometer. The ideal temperature of the water you should add to coffee grounds is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the water is too hot, then the coffee may lose some quality, while water that’s too cold will result in flat, under-brewed coffee.

Brewing Time

The brewing time is also significant to get the best flavors out of the beans. While you may not have any influence in the brewing time when it comes to percolators, you do have one when it comes to a French press.

The ideal contact time in a French press is around four minutes, but you can experiment with slightly shorter and longer times to see how it affects the flavor.

Espresso has a particularly brief contact time of just from 20 to 30 seconds, while cold press coffee usually needs to be steeped for around 12 hours.

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Knowing how much grounds to use is one thing, but making sure they’re the right type of grounds will also massively affect the result.

Experimenting with different flavors and methods of coffee brewing can be really fun, though, so enjoy!

Joakim
by Joakim
Joakim is a coffee connoisseur who loves all types of coffee, no matter the type or region of origin. He loves writing about his coffee experience, sharing with readers the tastes, methods of making, and more.