Making coffee for the first time at home? Or perhaps just getting used to a new drip coffee machine? Whatever the case, you’ll notice how tricky it can be to home-brew a consistently good tasting cup of coffee.
Assuming you buy fresh beans and use some sort of filtered water, there’s a high chance the problem is related to your coffee-to-water ratio.
Not to worry though, we can quickly resolve the issue and get you back to enjoying your own homemade drip coffee again. In this article you’ll learn the “golden rule” drip coffee ratio as well as each of our own personal preferences.
Let’s get started.
The Golden Rule Drip Coffee Ratio
Your coffee-to-water ratio is extremely important for brewing delicious coffee because it’s what dictates the strength of the flavor. A ratio that’s too high in coffee produces a cup that might taste overwhelmingly bold. On the other hand, a ratio with too little coffee leads to a diluted cup that might taste too watered-down.
The general guideline accepted by the National Coffee Association is referred to as the “Golden Ratio”, which is one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This is applicable for drip coffee as well as other brewing methods (e.g. pour-over, french press, etc.).
Now, you might notice six ounces of water is somewhat of an arbitrary number without much significance (at least here in the US). One cup of water is roughly 8 ounces, so the “Golden Ratio” becomes one to two tablespoons of coffee for every 0.75 cups of coffee, which is...kind of a pain to work with.
Since we’re all about simplification here at Dreamweaver Coffee Co, we prefer using one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 1 cup of water. And since this standard uses slightly more water than the “Golden Ratio”, we recommend leaning more towards the higher end of the coffee spectrum (e.g. somewhere in the 1.5 to 2 cups of coffee per 1 cup of water range).
The exact amount of coffee you use is ultimately up to you. We recommend experimenting until you find the ratio that works for you, keeping in mind that more coffee yields stronger flavors, and less coffee yields lighter flavors.
Also, if you want your coffee to taste consistently phenomenal, you should measure your coffee each time you brew it. Might be tedious, but trust us, it works.
For reference, we figured you might benefit from us sharing the specific ratios that each of us use when brewing coffee, so we decided to include them in this article as well.
Justin’s a bold and adventurous guy. As such, his go-to coffee blend is unsurprisingly the Adventure Blend, and he prefers a higher coffee-to-water ratio.
“Justin’s Ratio” is two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 1 cup of water.
Brewing your coffee like this will yield a stronger flavor, perfect for those who love the natural taste of coffee.
My ratio is slightly different. I’m a bit more of a weenie when it comes to my coffee, preferring less adventurous (i.e. lower acidity) and more medium flavors in my cup. That’s why my go-to Dreamweaver blend is the Early Bird and my ratios are just a bit lower than Justin’s.
“Jason’s Ratio” is 1.5 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 1 cup of water.
I prefer the lighter taste and find I can really stretch my dollar by making the bag of beans last a smidge longer.
Other Tips You May Want to Try
If you believe you’ve nailed down your ratios but still feel like your cup of coffee tastes less than desirable, there are a few other factors you may want to consider.
For starters, as mentioned above, high-quality beans are a must for those who value fresh, flavorful coffee. You’ll struggle finding a coffee you love if buying bagged, pre-ground coffee from the grocery store.
Second, also mentioned above, check your water. Make sure to use filtered water when possible and avoid tap water, which contains a great deal of additives and other pollutants.
And last, check out this other article we wrote for how to brew the best cup of coffee possible that covers everything that could be contributing to your problem.
Mastering the Drip Coffee Ratio
Now that you know the “Golden Ratio” for preparing coffee as well as each of our own ratios, we’re confident you’ll be able to prepare consistently delicious tasting coffee for you and your friends.
As always, enjoy your coffee and take time to appreciate all the effort - your own and others - that it took during the farm-to-cup process to put that tasty beverage in your mug.