Everyone wants to make the perfect cup of coffee. We all dream about what it tastes like to perfect the brewing method, how good it feels, and what a great impression we can make when we brew the perfect cup of joe.
But the truth is, it’s hard to make a perfect cup of coffee. Anyone can make a good cup of coffee, but a perfect cup of coffee is entirely different. Finding the right brew ratio takes some study.
Knowing how much coffee per cup, how much water to use, long to brew, and other contributing factors make coffee more of an art than anything.
Making good coffee is easy. But that’s part of what makes getting it right feel so darn good. Making great coffee requires a unique set of skills, cultivated by a coffee lover over pounds and pounds of failed attempts.
How Big Is a Cup of Coffee?
The first step to understanding how to make a great cup of coffee is understanding the basics. That means starting at the very beginning, answering how big is a cup of coffee.
Generally, a cup of coffee is about four fluid ounces. This measurement is at least reasonably standard in the United States. Outside of the United States, you might find different measurements.
You can enjoy just enough coffee to want a second cup with about four fluid ounces. That’s one of the beautiful things about coffee: there’s always more to go around.
How Much Coffee Is in a Scoop?
Depending on the type of coffee pot you use, the size of the coffee scoop might vary. But there is a standard measurement that allows you to get the right amount of coffee in your scoop every time.
A standard coffee scoop holds about two tablespoons. You want to make sure you use level scoops. Otherwise, you end up with a lot more than you think. It’s easy to overload the amount of coffee you have, which can mess up the entire pot.
More robust coffee obviously requires a little more, and for weaker coffee, you can use less. But the standard that you want to follow is about two tablespoons.
How Do You Calculate How Much Coffee Per Cup?
Calculating how much coffee you need per cup comes down to how you like your coffee. Generally, you want to have about one scoop (two tablespoons) of coffee per cup. This makes a nice, robust, and consistent cup of coffee that you can count on to get you through the day.
If you like your coffee a little weaker, that’s alright, too. You can lessen the amount of coffee you use per cup down to half a scoop and see if that better suits your taste.
The great thing about coffee is that it really does depend on your taste. So if you try something that’s supposed to be perfect and you don’t like it, just try something new.
What Is the Best Ratio for Coffee to Water?
Depending on who you talk to, you might hear some different stories about the best ratio for coffee to water. Generally, a coffee pot holds about 12 cups. Now, you can try simply doing one scoop for every cup of water, but you might run into some problems.
A cup of coffee is about four fluid ounces, but that’s made with about five or six fluid ounces of water. Not all the water makes it into the cup. So the ratio isn’t exact when it comes to the coffee grounds.
A good ratio for keeping your coffee excellent and consistent is to use one tablespoon of coffee for every six ounces of water.
Using Tablespoons to Measure Coffee
It’s relatively simple to use tablespoons to measure coffee instead of a coffee scoop. In fact, you might find it more manageable.
If you know that you like one and a half tablespoons per six ounces of water, then using a tablespoon will give you a better measurement.
Similarly, if you know that you like two full tablespoons, you can easily measure that out with a regular tablespoon.
Using Coffee Ratios
Some people really like the idea of using coffee ratios for their coffee. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can get a little more complicated if you aren’t careful. If you’re working with tablespoons and ounces, you can try a few different methods.
The most common coffee ratio is a 1:4 ratio. That’s one tablespoon of coffee for every four ounces of water. Now, we’ve seen that there’s some variation to this rule. It’s not always precise, but it gives you room to work as you develop your coffee taste.
Drip Coffee Measurement
There’s no real difference between a drip coffee measurement and any other type of coffee measurement. If you’re making a giant carafe of coffee in a drip pot, you just need to use more coffee and water.
Using drip coffee doesn’t change the ratio, however. You can still stick with that 1:4 ratio if that’s what you prefer. Depending on how big a carafe you have, you can convert your tablespoons into cups to make the process a little bit simpler.
The French press requires a little more finesse. However, once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy to make the perfect cup of coffee every time.
The best way to make French press is to weigh your coffee and go by the grams. Most people use a 1:12 ratio. So for every gram of coffee, you want to have 12 grams of hot water.
This means that for a standard 12-ounce French press, which is about 340 grams, you want to have 30 grams of coffee.
Espresso is a different beast than regular coffee. It’s more robust, more potent, and more likely to get you wired. But it’s delicious, and when it’s done right, you’ll be having the time of your life.
Espresso comes from a particular type of machine that should dial in to operate with a 1:2 or 1:2.5 ratio. This creates a good strong shot of espresso without overdoing it.
Cold brew coffee emerges by letting coffee grounds and room temperature water sit together for about a day. The great thing about cold brew is that you can use the same ratios for regular drip coffee, so a primary 1:4 ratio.
What you’ll end up with is more of a cold brew concentrate that can make really good iced coffee. It will be very strong and should be mixed with water or milk when you’re ready to enjoy it. Unless you like your coffee very, very strong.
Your brew time will depend entirely on what kind of coffee you’re making. A pot of coffee might take 12 to 15 minutes to brew, while your French press only needs to sit for about four or five minutes.
Cold brew will take the longest since the coffee grounds and water need to sit together for at least 14 hours. You can leave them together longer if you want stronger concentration.
Key Tips for the Perfect Coffee
When you’re ready to start brewing coffee, you need to make sure you pay attention to a few essential tips. These tips will help you brew a great pot of coffee every time, without fail. You’ll be the most impressive friend in your group.
Pick the Right Coffee Beans
The coffee beans you use will make all the difference in the cup of coffee you have in the end. It’s a straightforward equation: bad coffee beans make lousy coffee.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive beans on the market, but splurging for something a little better than instant coffee or bottom-shelf grounds will pay off in the long run.
It’s also essential to find the right kind of beans. For example, if you’re making espresso, make sure that you have a nice espresso roast. You can use a standard dark roast, but the flavor of an espresso roast will be so much better.
Use a Coffee Grinder
One of the coffee trade tricks is always using a coffee grinder instead of purchasing pre-ground coffee. Buying coffee in bean form will keep them fresher longer, and you’ll get a much nicer flavor when you grind them yourself.
You can also control how you grind them when you buy the whole bean. For example, a French press needs coarsely-ground coffee. If you purchased coffee that’s already been finely ground, you’re not going to have a lovely French press.
Use a Quality Coffee Maker
The coffee maker you use plays a huge role in the coffee that comes out. If you’re using a crappy piece of equipment, your coffee is just not going to taste good.
Make sure you have a nice coffee maker with good ratings and plenty of user reviews to back it up. They might be a little more expensive, but they’ll last longer and provide you with better coffee daily.
Frankly, it doesn’t make sense to make coffee if you’re not using the best ingredients and tools out there.
How to Brew the Perfect Pot of Coffee
So now it’s time to make the perfect pot of brewed coffee that you’ve been dreaming about for so long. You have all the ingredients; you have all the tools: all that’s left is to put it together and hope for the best.
Using the 1:4 ratio that we’ve already discussed, make sure you have lovely, level scoops of coffee. Use distilled water, not tap water. It will impact the taste.
Grind your beans right before you make the pot of coffee. And when the pot finishes brewing, pull it off the burner so you don’t get that unpleasant scorched taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you’re a coffee brewing master, let’s look at some of the other common questions people have when making the perfect cup of coffee.
Why do you need a scale to measure coffee?
A scale will help you measure coffee if you prefer to go by weight. If you want to measure out the grams of coffee you use, then a kitchen scale is the best way to do that.
How do you measure coffee without a scale?
The best way to measure a portion of coffee beans without a scale is to use tablespoons or a designated coffee scoop.
Does grind size also affect coffee strength?
Yes, the grind will affect the strength of your coffee. A finer grind will make a cup of coffee that is much stronger than a coarse grind will.
Now you know the basics, the measurements, and how to repeat the process every time. So making the perfect cup of coffee is within reach. All that’s left is to give it a try.