Using Coffee Brew Ratios to Create Your Perfect Cup

Using Coffee Brew Ratios to Create Your Perfect Cup

There are a lot of variables to consider when dialing in your coffee brewing recipe: water temperature, brew time, grind size, etc. Of all these variables, the coffee to water brew ratio is arguably the most important. This makes it the best place to start when figuring out how you want to brew your coffee. 

Why is the coffee to water ratio important?

The coffee to water brew ratio is simple to understand: it’s the amount of coffee relative to the amount of water used to brew, measured in grams. For example, a brew ratio of 1:15 means that for every gram of coffee, you’ll need 15 grams of brewing water. A typical 20g pour-over would need 300g of water. Easy!

But what makes the coffee brew ratio so important?

Think of brew ratio like a camera that’s capturing an “image” of the overall flavor profile of your coffee. The other elements of brewing, like water temperature and grind size, will help to refine your flavor “picture” and bring it into better focus—but if you don’t have a great picture to start, there’s only so much “editing” you can do. Making sure you use the right brew ratio is crucial to consistently brew tasty coffee that has just the right strength!

The golden ratio

So how do you know what brew ratio to use? We recommend starting with a brew ratio of 1:15, otherwise known as the “golden ratio.” This ratio works well across a wide range of different brewing methods and different coffees.

A 1:15 brew ratio will give you a good impression of a coffee’s flavor profile; from there, you can make slight adjustments to the ratio based on how strong you want the brewed coffee to taste. If you feel that the flavors are too intense and aggressive, try a 1:16 or a 1:17 brew ratio. The additional water will dilute the overall brew while increasing extraction, resulting in a cup that is sweeter and more balanced.

On the other hand, if the coffee tastes weak or overly bitter, try using a ratio of 1:14 or 1:13.5. This will result in a stronger cup with more brightness and acidity, as well as a richer, fuller texture. 

Do different brewing methods affect the ratio?

9 times out of 10, the 1:15 brew ratio will produce a solid, enjoyable cup of coffee. However, if you want to really dial in your coffee, different brew methods may work better with brew ratios slightly over or under 1:15.

It’s important to note that these brew ratios will not work with espresso brewing, which requires a different approach. 

Ultimately, it’s all a matter of taste! For example, even if we think coffees brewed on a Chemex tend to taste best with a 1:16 brew ratio, it’s by no means a hard rule—we’ve had great brews using ratios from 1:14 all the way to 1:18! 

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the type of coffee as well as roast profile will greatly influence how you adjust your ratio. A dense, light-roasted Kenyan will likely need a large ratio like 1:17 or 1:18 to allow for more extraction and to balance its intense flavors. A dark-roasted Brazilian coffee, however, would more than likely need a tighter ratio in order to mask any bitterness and accentuate its naturally heavy and rich body. 


For most pour-over brewers, such as the Hario V60 or Kalita Wave, the range of brew ratios that work best is between 1:15 and 1:18, with the majority of brews using 1:15 or 1:16. We’d also recommend sticking with light to medium roast coffees for this brewing method. 


The Aeropress is super versatile in that it can operate across the widest range of brew ratios. You can even make an "espresso-style” coffee at home using the Aeropress

The Aeropress is unique as you can brew a slightly concentrated coffee that gets diluted afterward. If you choose to go this route, a ratio of 1:8 to 1:10 will work, although you’ll need to grind significantly finer than you would otherwise.  

For a more standard brew, we like to work between 1:15 and 1:17. 

French Press

A tried and true classic, brewing doesn’t get easier than with a French Press. This brewing method tends to favor more heavily roasted coffees and we find that a range of 1:14 to 1:15 is the sweet spot. 

Cold Brew

Like espresso, cold brew works best with a different approach to brewing ratios as it requires a very strong concentrate. Check out this guide to learn all about brewing cold brew at home!

When it comes to brew ratios, our main recommendation is to start with the golden ratio of 1:15. But the ultimate takeaway is to have fun and experiment with your process to see which ratios work best for your own specific tastes!

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