Making pour over coffee at home—while it is more suited to patient people who are willing to babysit the process—is one of the most relaxing and tasty ways to enjoy a great cup of coffee (studies show it is even healthier).
Whether you are making Chemex coffee or using a smaller drip coffee maker like the Hario V60, the coffee taste of a properly made pour over is unforgettable.
Depending on the coffee recipe and brew method, you will find lots of different advice out there for how to make the best pour over coffee.
Some recipes stress the quality of the coffee beans and the details of the brewing method, and others focus on how to pour the water in just the right way.
And while all details come together to make brewing coffee in a pour over taste delicious, one of the most misunderstood aspects for brewing the perfect cup is the brew ratio.
Pour over coffee ratio is a complicated science, but keep reading to get a breakdown of how it works!
How Does a Pour Over Work?
The magic of a pour over coffee is gravity.
Place the ground coffee in the brewing device, usually over a paper filter.
Then you gradually pour water over the coffee bed and let gravity pull the water through the fresh coffee and extract flavor.
While it is easy to think of brewed coffee as flavored water, there are solid materials inside the bean that dissolve into the water as it falls through the ground coffee.
The key to the pour over tasting great is making sure that the ground coffee is the right size.
Dialing in the perfect grind is the key to getting the right flow.
One of the main benefits of the pour over is the clean and even flavor you can get.
In terms of evenness, pour over brewing gives you the control to evenly pour hot water over the coffee.
And the clean flavor comes from the filter.
Unlike immersion brewing—like the French Press—the paper filter of a pour over dripper like the Hario V60 blocks most of the fine particles and oils from making it into your cup.
Why is a Pour Over Coffee Ratio Important?
For some people the coffee taste is everything and for others brewing coffee in their coffee maker is just a necessity to get them up in the morning.
But whatever your relationship with coffee is, it is easy to forget that coffee brewing is a science.
And the most crucial part of that science is coffee extraction.
Extraction is the process through which the materials inside of the coffee bean dissolve into the water—they provide the flavor of drip coffee.
And having the correct coffee ratio ensures that there is a proper mix of water and coffee.
With too little water, you will get strong coffee that does not taste good.
And with too much water, the coffee taste will be empty and weak.
But with the perfect ratio—assuming you do all the other drip coffee steps correctly—you will get the perfect extraction.
Different Brew Methods Means Different Brew Ratios
In case the ratio confuses you, you might be using a different coffee maker, it is important to note that each recipe and coffee maker will demand a slightly different ratio.
You might even find yourself changing the ratio on one brewer as you experiment with the taste.
So while this article will give you the most standard way to understand the coffee ratio with a drip coffee maker, remember that different methods will require different ratios.
Pour Over Coffee Ratios
Now that you have an idea about what pour over coffee is and why the ratio is important, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of how to dial in the perfect dosing for your drip coffee maker.
Common Pour Over Coffee Ratios
While there is no single brewing ratio that you should stick to religiously, the most common ratios fall between 1:16 and 1:18.
That means you would use one part coffee to 16 parts water.
So if you are using a scale, you would grind 18 grams of coffee and pour 288 grams of water over the ground coffee.
How Much Coffee For A 12 oz Pour Over?
Depending on the ratio you choose (between 1:16 and 1:18), you should use anywhere between 18 and 21 grams of coffee to make a 12 oz pour over coffee.
Coffee brewing changes the variables with different brewing methods, but generally, this dosing will give you the proper coffee strength.
How Many Tablespoons Of Coffee Should I Use For Pour Over?
In case you do not own a scale, you can always measure coffee by volume instead of mass.
These measurements will not be as precise, but they will get you in the ballpark of the correct coffee ratio.
And in terms of tablespoons, you should use the ratio of one tablespoon for every four ounces of water.
What Is The Ratio of Coffee To Espresso
Similar to alcohol, coffee dosing equalizes in the different forms that you consume it in.
Espresso brews a strong flavor, but you only consume one or two ounces.
And regular coffee—with a ratio of 1:16—is much less strong but involves 12 ounces of beverage.
Is There an Ideal Brew Ratio?
The ideal ratio for coffee is not fixed because it depends on all of the other variables of brewing.
For example, how you pour and grind the coffee has just as big an effect on the outcome of the brew.
But generally speaking, you will brew great coffee if you stick with the ratio between 1:16 and 1:18.
How to Correctly Measure
Needless to say, caring about the coffee ratio means nothing if you do not have a way to measure it.
So let’s review the ways to correctly measure coffee.
Measuring by Weight
To measure coffee by weight, use a scale to dial in the grams of coffee and water you use.
It is the most accurate way to measure.
Measuring by Volume
Measuring by volume means you assume the size of a coffee bean is consistent, and you fill a tablespoon up with a certain amount.
This method is less accurate because different coffees have different densities.
Other Ways to Measure
Without weight or volume, you can also measure by counting coffee beans.
This measurement assumes a certain mass per bean, and it is how Beethoven would measure his coffee every day.
The Basic Elements of Great Pour Over Filter Coffee
Hot water has more energy than cold water because the molecules move around more.
You should heat water to anywhere between 205 and 208 degrees Fahrenheit.
Weigh Your Coffee
The best way to measure your coffee is to weigh it on a gram scale.
Then you can sync up the grams of water you pour to sync with the ratio that your pour over recipe requires.
Wet Your Filter
The coffee filter is one of the key aspects that separate immersion brewing from pour over and drip coffee.
Coffee beans contain coffee oils that affect the taste, and the filter helps remove those.
But to make sure that your filter only removes the fine particles and oils, make sure to wet your filter first to remove the paper taste.
Grind the coffee
For a pour over to work, you need ground coffee so that the water can fall through within three to four minutes.
And you need to dial in the size of the coffee grind, making sure that the water does not take too long to pass through the grounds.
When it comes to making pour over coffee, how you pour the water has a surprisingly huge effect on the taste.
There is conflicting advice about pouring—some prefer to pour in stages, and others consistently into the coffee bed.
But whatever you choose, the key to the pour when making drip coffee is evenness.
Pour in a smooth and consistent circular pattern that evenly wets the coffee grounds.
Additional Equipment for Making a Pour Over
As with almost any specialized area, specialty coffee can be simple or fancy.
Whether it be a gooseneck kettle, an expensive coffee grinder, or a fancy coffee subscription, you can end up spending a lot of money in the pursuit of the perfect cup.
Do You Need A Scale To Make Pour Over Coffee?
While buying a coffee scale is one of the cheaper pieces of equipment for improving the taste of your pour over coffee, it is not strictly necessary.
The scale will increase your precision when dosing the coffee ratio (often to 1/10th of a gram), but you can get an approximate measurement when you measure the coffee beans volume.
Tips To Help You Nail The Perfect Brew
Lastly, let’s work through a few tips for getting the most delicious cup of coffee.
Your Grinder Is Your Secret Ingredient
Do not underestimate the value of the grinder.
When you grind coffee properly, you get an even particle size that results in a tasty extraction.
Don’t Skip The Bloom
The bloom helps prepare the coffee for brewing, and it should last for at least 30 seconds.
Skipping the bloom stage will leave you with an underwhelming taste.
Be Consistent And Keep A Record
It might sound geeky, but keeping a record of your daily brews will help you to dial in the ratio and other factors that control the taste of your pour over coffee.
Make minor adjustments each day and notice what changes.
Don’t Ignore The Cleaning Part
This factor should go without saying, but you cannot brew your best coffee when the equipment is dirty.
So keep a regular cleaning regiment!
Pour over coffee is a fantastic way to brew a delicious cup at home.
And getting the ratio right is a critical step in that process.
So hopefully, this brew guide gives you a better understanding, and make sure you do your homework on understanding coffee ratios before the next time you brew.