Do you have a minute to talk about our savior Ratio? What is exactly a coffee to water ratio and how can it help us understand coffee better?
And how exactly can this ratio save us? I'll explain in this article and I'll give you some useful tricks about how to adjust a coffee recipe to your liking. Let's see!
What is a ratio?
It is practically the balance between two ingredients, in this case ground coffee and water.
This means that for each gram of coffee there is a perfect amount of water for brewing. There are many ways to make coffee nowadays and for each method there is the perfect ratio (the perfect balance).
According to the Specialty Coffee Association, the best coffee to water ratio for brewing methods is between 1:15 and 1:20. That is 1 gram of coffee to 15 through 20 grams of water. But how to adjust this ratio for each method of brewing? Let's see some of these methods!
Ideal coffee to water ratio for French press
Since 1852, the press-filter system, commonly known as Melior, has been used under the name of "French Press" or "Plunger Pot".
With this method, the grind can be modified, the stepping time can be increased or decreased, the amount of water or coffee can be varied, or the beverage can be diluted.
The ideal coffee to water ratio for this method is 1:20 coffee to water to obtain a balanced coffee.
Here is an example of a recipe for the French Press.
- 8 grams/0.28 oz of coffee (coarse grind)
- 160 ml/5.4 oz of water
- 94° C/201 F water temp
First of all heat the water to the required temperature. After that follow the next steps:
- Preheat the pot
- Add the coarsely ground coffee
- Pour in the water slowly
- Put on the lid and wait 1 minute
- Open the lid, stir and close again
- After 3 minutes, lower the plunger
- Enjoy your coffee.
Tip: If you do not intend to drink it immediately, it should be transferred to another container to separate it from the grounds. Otherwise the brew would become very strong and bitter.
Ideal coffee to water ratio for Drip Filters/Pour-Over Methods
Here we can talk about any kind of method and any kind of filter. There are many devices like V60, Chemex or drip filter.
Also there are many kinds of filters like a paper filter, fabric filter, plastic filter, metal filter and so on. You can use the same ratio for any filter, and it's 1:18.
This ratio is called the Golden Ratio by the Specialty Coffee Association.
So, you can obtain a balanced, sweet and fresh coffee with the Golden Ratio.
Here is an example of a recipe for Chemex with a paper filter.
- 20 grams/0.70 oz of coffee (medium grind)
- 360 ml/12.17 oz of water
- 92 C/197 F water temp
Bring the water to the necessary temperature. After that follow the instructions below step by step.
- Insert the paper filter.
- Pour boiling water into the filter and preheat the pot, them empty it
- Set the grounds gently into the filter without touching too much the walls of the paper with coffee.
- Pour 60 ml of water in the center of the coffee and wait 20 seconds.
- Pour in the rest of the water with a circular motion and wait.
- Enjoy your delicious coffee!
Tip: The only difference between all of these methods is the grind of coffee. Use coarser grind for heavier filters. For example use coarser grind for fabric filter than the paper filter and coarser grind for the metal filter than fabric filter. Did you get the idea?
Ideal coffee to water ratio for Aeropress
The Aeropress is an impressive device designed to prepare steeped coffee. It provides a highly concentrated coffee with vast flavors.
Also, we can utilize the Golden Ratio to prepare a well-balanced coffee.
So for 16 grams/0.56 oz of coffee we need 290 ml/9.8 oz of water at 93 C/199 F. Just mix it in the Aeropress, wait 20 seconds and press for another 40 seconds.
Tip: when you put the filter in the Aeropress wet it before assemble it. A helpful guide on how to make Aeropress coffee right here.
Ideal coffee to water ratio for Turkish coffee
This is one of the most popular methods for home brewing in East Europe and the Arabian Peninsula. Ibrik (or Czeve) is a name for a small, pewter pot that is used for preparing oriental style coffee. Often the coffee is called Turkish coffee.
The ratio is a little bit different with this method. Usually the taste of this beverage is strong, intense and requires a smaller ratio like 1:10 or 1:12.
Here is an easy to do recipe:
- 6 grams/0.2 oz of coffee (extra fine grind)
- 60 ml/2 oz of water
- actively boiling water
Step by step instruction:
- Remove water from heat, let sit for a few seconds
- Add the coffee, it will foam and rise in volume
- Stir continuously and set over very low heat
- After the first new boil remove from heat
- Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then serve.
Tip: Be careful when preparing Turkish coffee. It is very easy to burn the coffee in the process. So follow the steps with caution.
Also know that this coffee style will always have coffee grounds on the bottom of your cup.
Ideal coffee to water ratio for Moka Pot
Simple and ingenious, the Moka is the renowned multifaceted aluminum coffee pot so widely used in Italian homes.
The Moka pot uses the pressure generated by steam in the boiler (middle chamber) to force the boiling water up through the layer of coffee and into the upper part. Moka is usually used as a substitute for espresso so the ratio is also smaller (1:7-1:9) and requires strong taste.
Here is an example of a recipe:
- 7 grams/0.24 oz coffee (fine to medium grind)
- 50 ml/1.7 oz water
- water temperature is determined by the pot, and it will be boiling
And here are the necessary steps:
- Fill the lower chamber with cold water.
- Insert the filter/middle section.
- Fill the filter with coffee.
- Tap on the base of the coffee pot to ensure that the grounds settle uniformly in the filter.
- Screw down the upper part of the pot and set the Moka over a low flame.
- Before all the coffee has come out, remove the pot from the heat. The Moka coffee is ready.
Tip: With this coffee, you can make delicious cappuccinos or cafe lattes. Just add steamed milk on top.
Ideal coffee to water ratio for Cold Brew methods
With the cold brewing system it is possible to prepare the coffee without electricity or a source of heat. It uses a combination of two fundamental elements: cold water and time.
It is a simple way to make coffee and the good news is that this kind of beverage can be used in a lot of cocktails recipes.
To obtain a very balanced coffee you can use a 1:17 ratio(30 grams/1 full oz of coffee and 510 ml/17.2 oz of water) and let it brew for 12 hours.
Just mix the coffee with cold water into a container and let it sit at room temperature until done. If you brew it in the fridge add 2-4 more hours to the brew time as it will be slower.
Then filter out the grounds and serve, since most cold brew containers will have a filter included.
Tip: You should try this cold brew with gin and tonic water. Just mix 150 ml/5 oz of cold brew with 5-6 cubes of ice 50 ml/1.7 oz of gin and 50 ml/1.7 oz of tonic water. Garnish with rosemary and serve!
So far, we talked a little bit about home brewing methods and different ratios.
But how exactly can this ratio save us? It is simple to understand the reasoning behind the ratio. There are many variables when we talk about a recipe like the grind of coffee or time of brewing.
The good news is you can adjust a recipe by changing the ratio. And this is how we can save a recipe.
Let's say your coffee is bitter. What can you do to make a balanced coffee without changing the grind or the temperature of the water? Use a bigger ratio.
Or your coffee is tasteless, very bland. Use a smaller ratio. Simple like that!
After all of these, let's discuss about coffee to water ratio for espresso. Because here it's different when we say ratio.
The ratio for espresso is not about the amount of water brewing the coffee like other methods. It is about the amount of ground coffee in the portafilter (the in) and the amount of liquid in the cup (the out). So calculating the brew ratio for espresso is all about in and out.
We're not calculating with the amount of water that goes through the portafilter, but only taking into account the total amount of liquid in the brewed coffee.
For example if you have 18 grams/0.6 oz of ground coffee in the portafilter in and 36 grams/1.2 oz of brewed coffee out, the ratio will be 1:2.
So what is the ideal coffee to water ratio for espresso?
When it comes to espresso is complicated to establish the ideal ratio. But there is a base to start with when you are looking for a perfect espresso.
The most common ratio for espresso is 1:2, this means 20 grams in and 40 grams out for a brew lasting 25-30 seconds (how long the water is allowed to pass through the portafilter).
In other words, there are many variables in this process: ratio, grind of coffee, water temperature, pump pressure, tamping, distribution and the time of extraction.
An open-minded approach to making it is the best way to achieve a good result! Practice makes us better! I'll give you some tips for making the perfect espresso and I'm sure you will reach a good quality.
- If the coffee runs out too quickly, the grounds must be made finer. And it is available vice versa. If the coffee runs out too slowly, the grounds must be made coarser.
- If the extraction time is correct, but the coffee still tastes light and sour, just add 0,5 grams of coffee or adjust the temperature. It is worth raising it by a couple degrees. And also it is available vice versa. If the extraction time is correct, but the coffee tastes bitter, the temperature is too high or needs less coffee.
- It makes sense to lower the pump pressure if the coffee machine is constantly overheating. The indicate pump pressure is between 7 and 9 bars.
- Tamping and distribution is also an important piece of this puzzle. So put the coffee in the portafilter and tap on the base of this to ensure that the grounds settle uniformly in the filter. Afterwards tamp with approx 25 lb force straight down.
What is the most important thing when we are making coffee?
We can talk about the ratio all day long. And it is simple to understand what it means and how to use it. Also, we can talk about temperature, the grind of coffee, the amount of water and so on. I think after all of these one thing is the most important. Water!
98% of your coffee is water. The water used in the coffee brewing and the coffee machines must be tasteless, odorless and colorless.
The main factors affecting water quality are hardness, pH and the presence of chlorine. But this subject is most about chemistry. To simplify it just use bottled water instead of tap water and everything is gone be fine in your cup of coffee.
In conclusion, there are so many ways to make a good cup of coffee, but in the end, your taste will decide which method wins and which ratio is the best for you.