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How to Measure Coffee

In this guide, we will go through various coffee measurements or ratios for coffee brewing.

What is the ideal weight of beans for brewing a cup of coffee? Should I include the weight of the water? Should I use a coffee scoop? Should I use a scale? Should I Use a burr grinder? Making a fine cup of coffee depends on different variables. Getting full control of the different variables requires you to take a bunch of measurements.

There are three measuring techniques you can employ to produce a brew with great consistency, which includes scoops (tablespoons and teaspoons), cups, and grams.

The easiest way to learn how to measure coffee is to know the basic measuring techniques. Why they are important and how you can effectively use them.

Different Ways of Measuring Coffee

There are various things you would need to measure coffee and they include:

Coffee Scoop

If you’re measuring out ground coffee, use a good quality coffee scoop. The general rule of thumb is to use one standard coffee scoop (an equivalent of two tablespoons of ground coffee) for every six ounces of water. 

The standard coffee scoop holds 30 ml or two regular tablespoons. If you don’t have a scoop, just use your regular measuring spoon.

Again, coffee scoops are meant to measure ground coffee for brewing — not beans.

It is also important to note that this way of measuring out coffee is not recommended by coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs because it’s not very reliable. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” for different grinds and beans. 

Firstly, if you use the same scoop to measure different grinds of the same bean, you would actually come up with different weights. 

Secondly, the amount of coffee grounds you need would actually depend on how strong you want your coffee or what the roaster recommends for a particular bean and roast.

Coffee Scale

If you are a long-time coffee lover, you have probably thought of shifting away from ounces and scoops towards a more weight-based and metric system. A coffee scale always gives accurate measurements. 

A standard scale features precision sensors that provide accurate readings from 0.1 grams to 3000 grams. Digital designs have a clear readable display and easy-to-use touch buttons. 

A scale ensures consistency when measuring coffee regardless of whether the beans are lighter or denser. Not only does this help you ensure that your go-to coffee is pleasant every time, but it also enables you to try out new beans. When you weigh beans, you can make the same batch every time, which is what we refer to as repeatability.

How to Measure Coffee Using a Scale – Step-By-Step Breakdown

Step 1: Zero Out the Scale

zero out the scale

To get the most accurate measurements, you first need to zero the scale. The tare process allows you to eliminate the weight of the container by subtracting it from the gross weight. The weight of your beans can be accurately determined.

There are a few easy ways to do this, depending on the type of scale you are using. The first method is to put your empty container on the scale and simply turn on the unit. The weight of your empty container will not be counted. 

The second method is to use the tare feature on the scale. You are going to turn on the scale and place your empty container on the scale. The scale will display the weight of the empty container. All you have to do to cancel that weight is to press the tare button on the scale. Now you will have the weight reset to zero. You will have to reset the weight to zero every time you use a different container because they don’t weigh the same.

Step 2: Measure the Beans

measure the beans

Once you have reset your scale to zero, add your desired number of beans and check the weight. Stop adding the beans when you hit your preferred weight.

What is Brew Ratio?

This refers to the brew strength or concentration of mass of dissolved coffee in the beverage to volume. The ratio of ground coffee to water is extremely important for achieving consistency in your brews.

Espresso Brew Ratio

The brew ratio is absolutely important when making espresso. Some questions will linger in your head. What does a double shot mean? What is a lungo or ristretto shot? All the aforementioned questions are associated with the brew ratio.

The brew ratio is gives you the proportion on the weight of ground coffee for the amount of water you use. To get the perfect brew ratio for espresso, you need an accurate coffee scale that measures in grams. The scale will help you measure the weight of your coffee dose and your shot as it extracts. There are some typical brew ratios that you can consider.

In general, a ristretto ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:2. A normal espresso short is in the range of 1:2 to 1:3, while a lungo espresso is in the range of 1:3 to 1:4. You can make a normal espresso shot using seventeen grams of coffee. This means you will have a range of thirty-four to fifty-one grams of coffee in your cup. You should know that lower brew ratios, like ristretto, are stronger and create a richer body and mouthfeel and work well with darker roasts with chocolate flavors. 

Higher brew ratios, on the other hand, bring out more flavor and have higher clarity. They help bring out lighter as well as brighter notes. 

To be able to effectively manipulate brew ratios, you will need a grinder that is dialed into a reasonable range. For the best results, you will need shot timing and cup volume measurements. You simply have to adjust to a grind size that produces a two-ounce espresso from seventeen grams of coffee in twenty-five seconds from the first drip. Once you’ve got the right setting, it is easy to toast your portafilter with seventeen grams.

French Press Brew Ratio

French Press coffee makers are available in 12-ounce, 17-ounce, 34-ounce, and 51-ounce sizes.

Make sure you have the appropriate grind size for this brewing method, which is a coarse grind. Handground is usually recommended because it delivers the best consistency.

You can start off with a 1:12 coffee to water ration, which means around 10 g of coffee to brew a standard US coffee cup (118 ml), or around 30 grams for a 350 ml mug. After trying out this ratio, you can tweak it according to your preference, adding or subtracting coffee to make a stronger or weaker brew.

The Golden Ratio of Grounds to Water

If you are a coffee enthusiast, you probably have your tried and true brew ratio. But if you are serious about coffee brewing, then you will appreciate the Golden Ratio in addition to the aforementioned espresso brew ratio.

According to the Golden Ratio, a good pot of coffee uses 10 to 30 grams of fresh grounds per 177 ml (6 ounces) of water. 10 grams makes for a tamer brew, 20 is ideal for people who prefer extra caffeine boost and bolder flavors. The experts who came up with the Golden Ratio have specific advice that can help you improve the quality of your brew. The very first thing that you are advised not to do is not to over-extract coffee grounds because that can leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

On the other hand, coarse under-extracted grounds are likely to produce a brew that tastes flat and lacks flavor. The experts recommend that the optimal water temperature for brewing coffee should range from 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You are supposed to bring cold water to a boil and set it aside for a minute. The amount of time your coffee brews is extremely important if you want your measurements to give you the best consistency.

Final Thoughts

You may need this information for one of three reasons. First, you are new to coffee brewing and you have no idea of how to measure coffee. Second, the method you are using in measuring coffee doesn’t seem to produce a good cup. Third, you may be using the wrong coffee brew ratio for the wrong coffee-making method.

Regardless of the type of problem you are experiencing, we’ve got a solution for you. Most first-timers find coffee scoops to be convenient. But here is the thing, both coffee beans and grounds from different brands don’t seem to have the same density. We recommend measuring coffee by weight using a coffee scale for precision and consistency in your brew. 

Of course, you can always buy takeaway from your favorite café in town. Alternatively, you can challenge yourself and use the information in this guide to make make coffee from the comfort of your kitchen.

Avatar for Giada Nizzoli

Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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