Written by Sofia Moore
Last Updated

One of the keys to making the perfect cup of coffee is working out just how much coffee to use. Whether you are making a single cup or a pot of coffee for a social gathering, if you get it wrong you can end up with a bitter-tasting drink nobody wants, or a weak and tepid coffee nobody likes. 

So how do you work out exactly the right number of spoonsful to use each time? While there are some theories as to the perfect ratio, it does largely depend on your taste and how strong or weak you prefer your coffee to be. 

Different machines also produce different amounts of coffee, and if you are using mugs or espresso cups will make a difference as well, so there are many aspects to consider when working out how many tablespoons of coffee you are going to need. 

 

There is something called the golden ratio, which might help you to work out the best approach to take, however, it does depend on taste, number, and size of cups you are making and the type and strength of coffee you are using. 

Let’s look at the basic ratio first, to make it easier. So, if you are making a single cup of coffee for yourself, first thing in the morning, and you are measuring out in tablespoons, the general advice is that you need two tablespoons of ground coffee per eight ounces of hot water you add to your coffee maker. 

This is the guide if you are using a coffee maker, for example, a drip machine, or even a French press or other types of coffee maker that uses freshly ground coffee. This ratio would create a strong cup of coffee and is widely regarded as the golden ratio to use. 

However, it may be that you don’t like your coffee that strong, in which case you might choose to go for one tablespoon per eight ounces of water, it’s entirely a personal choice and it can be down to trial and error as you get used to how your coffee maker works.

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You will also want to work out which type of coffee and which type of roast you prefer as this can make a huge difference to the flavor and strength of coffee you end up with. For some, you might need two tablespoons per cup, whereas that might be too strong for others. 

An average coffee maker, when full, will generate around 60 ounces of coffee, which would make around seven average sizes (8oz) cups so here are some ratios that you can use to work out just how much coffee to use, depending on how many cups you want to make: 

  • 1 cup of coffee = two tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 2 cups of coffee = four tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 3 cups of coffee = six tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 4 cups of coffee = eight tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 5 cups of coffee = ten tablespoons of ground coffee

All these ratios are based on using eight ounces of water per cup of coffee. Clearly, if you are making mugs of coffee, which hold more water, you will need to increase the amount of coffee accordingly. 

So, for example, if you are using a coffee maker to make coffee to be served in twelve-ounce mugs, rather than average size cups, you would be better with the following ratio of ground coffee to every twelve ounces of water: 

  • 1 cup of coffee = three tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 2 cups of coffee = six tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 3 cups of coffee = nine tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 4 cups of coffee = twelve tablespoons of ground coffee

But if you don’t use a tablespoon when filling up your coffee machine and prefer to use the scoop that came with it, or perhaps comes with the ground coffee pack then it’s still easy enough to work out the right amount required to make up the perfect cup. 

One coffee scoop, as a rule, is equal to around two tablespoons of ground coffee. So, if you follow the same golden ratio as above, you will need one scoop full of ground coffee for every 8-ounce cup of coffee you want to make. 

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Just to make it easier, here are the ratios you’d need to use if you are filling your coffee machine with scoops of ground coffee rather than tablespoons. So, for eight-ounce regular cups of coffee, you would need: 

  • 4 cups of coffee = two and a half scoops of ground coffee
  • 6 cups of coffee = three and a half scoops of ground coffee
  • 8 cups of coffee = five scoops of ground coffee
  • 12 cups of coffee = seven and a half scoops of ground coffee

 

As you can see, there is a rough guide to how much coffee you should be using in your coffee maker, but it is largely down to individual taste and preference. There are a few other important things to think about when it comes to brewing the perfect coffee. 

When brewing coffee, you want to aim for just off the boiling water, so you don’t burn your coffee. If it’s too hot you will end up with bitter flavors and your coffee will be ruined. 

Always make sure you use the right level of grind for your coffee machine. If you use a fine grind n a machine that can’t process it, you will end up with mud and grit in your cups and your coffee experience will be unpleasant. 

Also bear in mind that different types of coffee require different times for brewing, to get the best flavors. Espresso is the fastest, while a drip coffee maker takes the longest. But with some trial and error, you will soon work out how to make your ideal cup of coffee in no time at all.  

Also read: Best Espresso Machines Under $200 – 2021 Reviews

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