Pour-Over Coffee Ratio
To make pour-over coffee, you need to know how much coffee and water to use. Decide two things: how much coffee you want to make, and how strong you want it to be. The brew ratio of coffee to water is directly related to the strength of the drink.
Some coffee lovers will tell you that the optimal dosage is two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 fl oz (180 ml) of water. Of course, you can start with this approach, but professionals measure the amount of coffee and water required with special scales since the tablespoon method is not suitable for achieving a consistent result every time.
Coffee and Water Dosages
It is most convenient to measure the ratio of coffee to water in grams. Most American coffee professionals use a ratio between 1:15 (1 gram of coffee to 15 grams of water) and 1:17.
Yes, this means that both coffee and water will have to be measured by weight, not by volume. However, by measuring both ingredients in the same way, we greatly simplify this stage of the process by using just one measuring device: a kitchen scale.
How Important Is Accuracy?
Perhaps you measure your coffee in tablespoons, and there's nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to brew great coffee with a stable flavor, we recommend that you use a scale and calculate the coffee-to-water ratio. Here's why:
- This approach is more accurate.
- It makes it easier to correct mistakes when a drink is not prepared successfully.
- It is suitable for use with any brewing device.
Using measuring spoons is far less accurate, for a few reasons:
- You may overfill or under-fill a measuring spoon without noticing.
- Beans of different varieties can vary significantly in size. A tablespoon of one variety of beans might weigh a different amount than a tablespoon of a different variety of beans. The difference can be about a gram, which is significant when dealing with small quantities like you do when brewing coffee.
- Grind size is also important. A spoonful of finely ground coffee weighs more than a same-sized spoonful of coarsely ground coffee.
Since the difference between a cup of perfect coffee and a cup of low-quality coffee is determined by fractions of a gram, measurement accuracy is very important, for both coffee grounds and water.
Weighing is the only way to ensure an accurate and reproducible ratio of coffee to water and a consistently high-quality beverage. Otherwise, you can achieve a great result by accident, but it will be difficult for you to repeat it. It is helpful to record the ratio used so you can repeat it later if you like the coffee.
Plus, if you don't like the coffee, it will be easy to understand what to correct next time. For example, if your coffee is too thick and very strong, then most likely you have used too much coffee and should take less next time. Or if it seems weak and watery, you used too much water and should use less next time.
Remember, for different pour-over coffees, the “ideal” coffee to water ratio will differ. How the coffee is extracted in your chosen funnel will definitely influence your optimal coffee to water ratio.
How to Calculate Coffee Dosage
The dosage is the amount of coffee used in calculating the ratio of coffee to water. It's quite easy to determine the dosage with some simple calculations, especially if you're using the weighing method.
First, you need to consider the size of your pour-over funnel and decide how much coffee you want to brew. For example, consider the small Bee House funnel. The manufacturer claims that it is designed to make one to two cups of coffee (8 oz). Let's start with a 1:16 coffee to water ratio per cup.
For the desired 1:16 ratio, you simply divide 9.2 oz (270 grams of water) by 16 and you get the required amount of coffee: 0.6 oz (16.9 grams). This means you can start with 0.6 oz (16.9 grams) of coffee beans and 9.2 fl oz (270 grams) of water.
Depending on the taste of the drink, you can change the dosage, adding or removing about 1.4 grams of coffee at a time.
The above ratios and calculations may indicate that you need to use a much larger amount of coffee than you are used to. One of the most common mistakes people make at home is using too low a dosage. If you use a ratio of 1:16 and think that there is too much coffee, it is still recommended to try that ratio before reducing the dose.
The table applies to different pour-over funnels and any amount of coffee. If you decide to brew a lot of coffee using a six-cup Chemex, then, according to the table, use 48 oz (1416 grams) of water and 2.8-3.1 oz (80 to 89 grams) of beans to make those six cups.
However, if you are using several different funnels, using the same ratio of coffee to water for each one will not likely work.
In coffee shops, the brewing parameters for each device (grind, dosage, ratio) can be changed every day, or every time they start working with a new batch of coffee. This process is called tweaking and is designed to continually optimize the quality of the beverage. At home, you are unlikely to need to tweak anything after you've determined the perfect ratio for your funnel.
Dose correctly by weight, using a scale; don't dose by eye or at random. If you don't have a scale, you can use a tablespoon: 6.5 oz (180 ml) of water should be used with about 2 rounded tablespoons of ground coffee. The optimal ratio of coffee and water is between 1:15 and 1:17.