Next, I will solve this question that most coffee lovers have asked themselves for some time. How much coffee should I use per cup? A dose every one, two, three, or four cups?
This topic concerning the espresso machine is a little different, so this time I will focus on the dose and ratio of coffee for filtered methods, such as the French Press, Moka, Chemex, the Hario V60, the cloth filter, or simply leaving the coffee and water infusing alone.
The quick answer is that 60 grams of coffee should be used for every liter of water. So, for two cups or half a liter of water, we need 30 gr of coffee, for a 250 ml cup, 15 gr, and so on.
Note: Let us remember that the measure “cup” will depend on the extraction method and coffee maker we use. In filtered methods, 250ml is the adequate measure. However, this is not always the case, so that we will go into more detail in this article.
How to measure the amount of coffee?
The questions that someone starting in the world of coffee is surely asking themselves are: How much are 15 grams, 30 grams, or 60 grams of coffee? How can we measure it? The perfect answer is with a scale, ideal for coffee making and cooking.
A scale is always a great investment. We have an exact number in grams on the scale, which will always be the same. On the other hand, if we measure with something a little more common in the kitchen, such as spoonfuls, even if you use the same standard spoonful of 15 ml, it will not always weigh the same, and therefore it will not always have the same amount of coffee.
The volume will depend on many things, for example, the coffee you use. A coffee with a dark roast is not the same as a light roast; the dark roast will weigh less. And it is not the same for a finely ground coffee such as for a Moka as a slightly coarser one such as for a French press; the larger one will occupy more space and weigh less.
Taking this into account and to have a clear idea, a standard tablespoon of coffee with a medium roast ground as for a French press contains about 5 grams of coffee, so we need for one cup three tablespoons; for two cups, we double the amount of both ingredients and so on.
If you always use the same coffee pot with the same coffee, you can use the spoon to measure and adjust the rest of the variables.
What is the ratio when preparing coffee?
This word we often see in the coffee world has a very simple concept once we understand it. The ratio is the proportion between the coffee beans that we use and the amount of water that we use.
So with the recommendation I gave you a moment ago, if we use 60 grams of coffee per liter of water, we would use a ratio of approximately 1:17; for each gram of coffee, we use 17 grams (or milliliters) of water.
What is the ratio useful for when preparing coffee?
The ratio is part of the recipe we will use to prepare the coffee. It will tell us how much we need of one or another ingredient.
If we have, for example, a cup of 400 ml instead of one of 250 ml, we can calculate the coffee we need by dividing the 400 by 17. Or, if we have only 12 grams of coffee left in a bag, we multiply it by 17, and we obtain a result of the amount of water we will need to make it.
But this type of calculation can be a little complicated initially, so I recommend calculating based on 60 grams per liter. This is the most convenient formula to use daily.
Should the ratio always be 1:17 or 60 g per liter? No, not at all. It is only a recommendation.
When do you change the ratio when preparing coffee?
It will depend on your taste; if you like intense coffee, you should reduce this 1:17 ratio. You should use more coffee for the same amount of water; for example, use 17 grams of coffee for a 250 ml cup and try it.
You should do the opposite if you like softer, less intense coffee. Use 13 grams of coffee for a cup and try it since small changes in the quantities will produce very drastic changes in the cup of coffee obtained.
How does the ratio influence the preparation of coffee?
The intensity of a coffee will be determined by the ratio (by the dose or the amount of coffee we use). This is very important to clarify because many people think that the type of coffee or roast gives the intensity.
Dark roasted coffee is not more intense than lightly roasted coffee; it will simply have a more roasted flavor, more bitter. This confusion comes from commercial coffee, which usually indicates this erroneous information on the package.
Does the ratio influence the extraction time?
If I want to prepare coffee for two cups instead of one, I double the quantities of both coffee and water, but is the extraction time the same, or should it also be double?
The extraction time, as long as we maintain the ratio or proportion of the ingredients, will be the same for one, two, three, four cups, or whatever.
For the immersion methods, such as the French press, where we place the coffee and the water together and let them infuse, the time is always the same for all the quantities, and we should not modify anything.
And in the drip or percolation methods, such as the Hario V60 and Chemex, when we must pass a column of water through a coffee pod, we will need to modify other variables such as the size of the bean grind to maintain the same extraction time.
For this, using the balance becomes very necessary; it is something I highly recommend if you want to improve your coffee preparations at home. It gives you consistency so that you can take note of the recipe and be able to repeat it or modify it accordingly.
Related: Learn how to grind coffee for each extraction method.