All About Ratios

My last post was all about the importance of scales and weighing your coffee rather than just blindly scooping and hoping for the best. This post is all about what ratios you should be using for your coffee and how to get the perfect cup for your own tasting pleasure.


The Golden Ratio

To me this is a great fail-safe for any brewer you are using; a good baseline to start from. For most brewing devices, 17:1 (water:coffee) will make you a great cup of coffee and hit the different notes you are looking for, in general. The great thing about this Golden Ratio is that you can literally use any unit of measure, as long as you hit that 17:1 mark you are looking for. 


For example: 

17 grams of water : 1 gram of coffee

510 grams of water : 30 grams of coffee

34 ounces of water : 2 ounces of coffee


Or if you refuse to buy that kitchen scale

17 scoops of water : 1 scoop of coffee

(This will be odd and take a long time)


This might be weird at first because we usually measure water in milliliters rather than weight, but in order for this ratio to work you need to keep a consistent unit of measure across both sides of the ratio. Weigh your coffee, weigh your water, it is faster this way.


Testing out your Ratios

At this point I have these numbers memorized and I know what I like. Once you play around with this, you will most likely never need a calculator again! For example, on my Chemex I do a straightforward 17:1 ratio. I usually do a medium-ish grind (depending on the coffee) with 510 grams of water : 30 grams of coffee. This gives me a decently big cup of coffee, but it’s my life and you can’t tell me what to do. But for my Hario v60, I usually do 310 grams of water : 25 grams of coffee.

Oh no. I broke my own rules. Nonsense guys relax. 

Remember what I said before, this Golden Ratio is a great BASELINE and STARTING POINT. Where you go from there depends on what you want to drink and how you want it to taste. It all depends on you. If you have a coffee machine, you are more limited with your overall control, but you can still mess around with different things like grind size and amount of coffee/water. Change one variable at a time to see what you like and what works, from there you can keep experimenting until you find that perfect cup for you.

You might think this is overcomplicated, and maybe it will be at first. But like I’ve said before, if you are going to invest the money into enjoying specialty coffee, you might as well do it right. You could go buy pour overs at your local shop, but my guess is that you can make the same cup in your kitchen as well. Don’t get me wrong, please go support your local shops, but just know you can make an excellent cup from your kitchen! It is easier than you think.


Jimmy D.

1 comment

  • Jimmy, 1 milliliter of water weighs 1 gm, so you can use grams or milliliters interchangeably when doing the water ratio measurements. This makes it a bit easier since you only have to weigh the coffee. Doug

    Doug Brown

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