Right off the top we should clarify: a “cup” in this context is **not related to the cooking “cup”**, relating to volume (1 cup = 236 ml = 8 oz).

It also **does not refer to a physical cup** (mug) of coffee.

**How much coffee per cup?**

Using the SCAA definition of 5 fl. oz as a “cup” and the “golden ratio” of 1:18, we need 150 ml / 18 = 8.3 grams of coffee per cup.

This is different than the normal measuring “cup”, which is 240 ml.

Most coffee machine manufacturers define a “cup” as 5-oz of liquid, which is 150 ml (milliliters).

Cups (brewed, 5 fl. oz. each) | Grams of coffee | Tablespoons |
---|---|---|

1 | 8.3 | 1.6 |

2 | 16.6 | 3.2 |

5 | 41.5 | 8 |

6 | 49.8 | 9.6 |

8 | 66.4 | 12.8 |

10 | 83 | 16 |

12 | 99.6 | 18.2 |

14 | 116.2 | 22.4 |

20 | 166 | 32 |

Note: we use approximate measure for tablespoons – a tablespoon of coffee is 5.3 grams, therefore 8.3 grams of coffee is 1.566 tablespoons, so we round to 1.6.

Interested in learning how much caffeine per cup?

From now on, we’ll refer to liquid ounces (30 ml) as **fl. oz.**, and 5 fl. oz as a “**cup**“.

Coffee Guide

## Golden Ratio

The golden ratio is a 1:18 ratio of coffee grounds (grams) to water volume (ml).

This definition comes from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), and is generally considered the standard for coffee.

Adhering strictly to this requires a scale, which is a worthwhile investment if you care about the quality of your coffee, but a lot of people just want to keep things simple.

## The Best Ratio

The best ratio to use is: **whatever works best for you**.

If you try any instructions or guidelines online or from the “experts” and it tastes worse for you, then simply ignore it. Your coffee is yours to enjoy, not for some self-righteous snob to judge.

Start with the golden ratio of 1:18, and adjust as needed.

## Conversions

Different terminology can become confusing – weights (grams, cups, tablespoons) versus volumes (milliliters, cups, tablespoons) are often used interchangeably without being properly defined.

The best thing to do is convert everything down to common measures – grams and milliliters.

1 cup = 16 tablespoons, or

1 tablespoon = 1/16^{th}cup

A standard coffee measure should be 2 Tbsp (2 Tbsp = 1/8 cup = 10.6 g).

If you’re interested in finding the perfect coffee beans, we recommend checking out our article on the best coffee in the world.

## Scoops of coffee

A coffee “scoop” is typically 1 tablespoon (tbsp), which is 5 grams of ground coffee.

Some coffee machine manufacturers provide scoops which are 2 tablespoons (tbsp).

There are also double-sided coffee scoops, with 1 tbsp on one end, and 2 tbsp on the other. You’ll have to verify what size scoop you’re using.

Regardless of the type of scoop you have, you’ll want to use 2 tbsp (10g of coffee) per 180 mL (6 fl. oz) of water.

**How much ground coffee for 8 cups**

Using the common definition of 5-ounces per “cup”, we get a total of

- 5 x 8 = 40 fl. oz
- 40 ounces = 1200 ml

Using the 1:18 golden ratio, we get 67 grams of coffee for 8 cups.

67 grams of coffee per 8 cups

Be warned some coffee equipment deviates from the 2 Tbsp. standard. Some are even as small as 1 Tbsp.

## How much ground coffee for 10 cups

- 5 x 10 = 50 fl. oz
- 50 fl. oz = 1500 ml

Using the 1:18 golden ratio, we get 83 grams of coffee for 10 cups.

Note that some coffee machine makers differ from this measure.

## How much ground coffee for 12 cups

Here are the recommended measures that we could find online for some top brands of coffee makers:

- 5 fl. oz x 12 = 60 fl. oz
- 60 fl. oz = 1800 ml

Using the 1:18 golden ratio, we get 100 grams of coffee for 12 cups.

Here are some brands and their machine-specific recommended brewing ratios:

- BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker KF7150BK – 12 tablespoons (10g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Hamilton Beach CoffeeMaker 46202C – 12 tablespoons (10g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker – 9 tablespoons (10g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)
- Cuisinart 12 Cup Coffee Maker – 10 tablespoon (10g/each) per 12 cups (60 fl. oz)

## Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Standards

A cup is defined as 6 ounces (180 ml) of water before brewing. This will produce 5.33 ounces of brewed coffee. Or 125 ml & 110 ml for Euro style coffee makers.

This is different than a “measuring cup”, which is 240 ml.

**The SCAA defines 10 grams or 0.36 oz per 6-oz (180 ml) cup as the proper measure for brewed coffee if using the American standards**. If using Euro standards the measure is 7 grams per 125 ml (4.2 fl. oz).

To further confuse things I will add a few more measures of **how many oz in a cup** (coffee weight to water volume):

- 3.75 oz (106 grams) per 1/2 gallon (64 oz, 10.6 cups)
- 55 grams per liter (33 oz, 5.5 cups)
- 1 lb. (454 grams, 16 oz) per 2.25 gallons (288 oz, 48 cups)
- Percolator: 1 lb. (16 oz) per 100 cup (600 oz)

Note that the percolator is by far the most efficient use of coffee beans.

If you want to know more check the SCAA’s web page at www.scaa.org.

It needs to be pointed out that some coffee pot manufacturers deviate from the 6 oz per cup standard. You should check the total water capacity of your pot before assuming that the pot will be measured in 6 oz cups.

Keep in mind that it may vary slightly from coffee to coffee and according to freshness and varietal.

## Additional Tips

If you have a pot that is overflowing the basket even after checking the cup size the chances are that you are either grinding too fine and clogging the filter or your coffee pot manufacturer has decided to make their filter basket a little smaller than normal.

If the issue is a small basket your best bet it to figure out how much coffee the basket will hold and add water accordingly. For example, if your filter basket only holds 8 scoops (16 tbsp) without overflowing fall back to 48 oz (8 x 6 oz cups) of water.

Ultimately the amount of coffee to use is a personal taste but I highly recommend at least starting with the standard and adjusting from there and don’t forget as you move toward more water and less grounds you will extract more *off* flavors.

Most people that say they don’t like strong coffee mean they don’t like bitter coffee and weak coffee actually has more bitter compounds. You can always add hot water to weaken coffee. Weak coffee if just weak coffee and can not be fixed.

Coffee contains almost no calories per cup when drinking it black – the majority of the calories in coffee comes from additives (dairy, sugar, flavoring syrups).

Some brands like Starbucks may require less coffee by weight than a medium roast because the darker roast provides more of the roasted coffee flavor.

Going even lighter, to say a White Coffee roast, means you’ll likely require even more beans, however we would recommend you try lighter roasted coffees as a new drinking experience, not actual coffee.

In response to a question in the comments below I grabbed a few antique coffee cans in my collection to see what the “historical” recommendation for coffee amount was and the recommendations are far from consistent.

Chase & Sanborn, Del Monte, Yuban, and Butter-Nut have no brewing directions of any kind.

Luzianne (Coffee and Chicory) suggest one heaping teaspoon per cup. The cup size is not defined. See my notes below.

Kaffee Hag Coffee (Decaf) recommends one “well rounded” tablespoon per measuring cup (8 oz) of water.

Maxwell House and Sanka (Decaf) both stipulate 2 level tablespoons per 6 oz of water.

Mistake your decaf coffee for regular coffee and have too much caffeine? Check out our how to get caffeine out of your system tips.

One rounded and two level table spoons are not drastically different. I’d guess one “well rounded” tablespoons is maybe one and a half level tablespoons. The real outlier here is Luzianne at only one heaping tablespoon per cup.

Chicory would account for some of that but not the complete difference. I cut maybe 25% when using chicory coffees but not the ~75% this would seems to recommend.

My only guess would be that chicory is a historical coffee stretching agent so maybe there is also an element of people becoming accustomed to making weaker coffee to also extend the can of coffee but that is a pure guess on my part.

## Saving Money

By far the most economical brewing method is the percolator, which runs and re-runs water through coffee grounds in order to extract as many solids as possible.

A single pound of coffee (454 grams, or 16 ounces) in a percolator will brew about 100 cups, and is typically very strong. A 100-cup percolator is typically 4 gallons, and at 128 ounces per gallon, yields 512 ounces, or 100 x 5 fl. oz cups

This is about twice as many as many cups as you’d get using the golden ratio in a standard coffee maker:

- 454 grams @ 1:18 = 8172 ml
- 8172 ml = 272 fl. oz
- 272.4 fl. oz / 5 fl. oz = 54 cups

If you take a hypothetical Costa Rican Coffee at $10/lb, you end up with a cost per cup around $0.10 for 5-oz – most people will drink coffee in a 12-oz cup though, which puts you at $0.24/cup.

Not bad!

Anonymous

## coffee measure

Well I’ve been using 1 heaping tablespoon per cup and it works for me. If I care for a stronger cup then I add a bit more.

Anonymous

## weak coffee

not so. Just put a shot of espresso in it and it will firm up nicely

David Webb

## QA and Testing Tutorial

I wanted to thank you for this great blog! I really enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

Anonymous

## THE REAL ANSWER

is figure it out yourself via trial and error.

As a guideline: for a medium roast coffee, at a medium grind: 1 Tablespoon grounds for each 6oz cup of water will give you a medium brew.

I do this with Starbucks pre-ground columbian coffee. It works perfectly. I will say that if you buy a cup of starbucks house in their store it is definitely stronger than 1T:6oz ratio.

This 2 Tbs per 6oz is crazy; it will make a strong brew. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s strong and thick.

Anonymous

## So totally agree!

“figure it out yourself via trial and error”

It is all a matter of PERSONAL TASTE! I don’t want anyone else dictating to me what my personal taste should be (in coffee or anything else). You have to be awfully anal-retentive to believe that there should be exactly one ‘best’ way that everyone should brew their coffee. That applies to every aspect of the process. Which coffee to use, how much coffee to use, whether to use flavorings (either in the grounds or as post-brewing additives), whether to add sweeteners (sugar or artificial), whether to add ‘lighteners’ (milk, cream, or other), and so on.

Asking someone else to define how YOU should prefer (and brew) your coffee is like asking someone else what color you should like or who you should marry. It’s PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

Anonymous

## 6oz

its just that 6 ounces is usually considered 1 cup. Some people consider 1 cup to equal 8 ounces. This makes it more accurate, your ratios are in ounces not undetermined cups.

DrRandy

## Weight to volume

Actually, 1 oz is TWO tbsp, but only for water and similar liquids. (It doesn’t even hold true for alcoholic liquids, much less oils or solids). Coffee is FAR less dense than water, so 1 tbsp is, in fact, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce by weight, depending on the grind (finer grinds pack tighter and will weigh more). For a medium grind, there are about 3 tbsp per ounce.

DrRandy

## Cups

A kitchen measuring cup is 8 fluid ounces, but a “standard teacup” (think of the tea set your grandmother or great-grandmother kept for special occasions) is only 6 oz. Your coffeemaker is not marked in kitchen cups, but in teacups. If they, in fact, wrote “2 tbsp per cup,” people would get quite weak coffee, because they actually need 2 2/3 tbsp for 8 oz of water.

Anonymous

## Sometimes you do need a standard, a starting point.

Our office is in the middle of a coffee war – how strong or how weak to brew? In this case, personal taste and trial and error is not serving us well, but referring to a standard and accepting everyone’s personal tastes as somewhere on the weak – average – strong continuum will help keep the peace.

Anonymous

## Two tablespoons for five cups

Two tablespoons for five cups is not insanely weak if that is what he prefers.

Anonymous

## ounces vs. fluid ounces

At 5 yrs. of age, I was taught,

“A pint(16 oz. of WATER),is a pound(DRY WEIGHT),the world around.”EIGHT (8) tablespoonsof MEDIUM grind coffee equivelent to Folger’s^{Â®}‘Black Silk’,(1/4 cup), to 53 ounces of watergives me aGOOD,cup of coffee, regardless of the size of my coffee cupnot ‘overly-strong’!Anonymous

## Eight tablespoons equals 1/2

Eight tablespoons equals 1/2 cup, not 1/4 cup. Not clear if you are using 1/2 or 1/4 cup of grounds with 53 ounces of water. Makes a big difference. 1/4 cup would be 4 tablespoons per approx. 9 6-oz. teacups, which is about 1/4 the amount suggested above (2 T per 6-oz teacup). When using coffee ground at Starbucks at work, we use a little over 1 tablespoon per 6-oz. cup and we like it strong. Two tablespoons per 6-oz. cup seems too strong to me.

Essemsee

## Office war

Just make it strong as possible and everyone

Can weaken(add hot water) to taste

coffee is great

## Passion!

Love the passion for coffee and measurement! I dont think the metric system would help much. There is still preference. My “cup” holes 16 oz. I use 1/4 cup of dark roast and ~17 oz of water to brew enough to fill my cup. My girlfriend doesnt measure at all. just fills up the coffee pot with 12 cups (6oz?) of water, and fills the filter up about 3/4ths of the way. Looks to be about 1 and a half cups. She also likes to take the first cup (super, super strong) before brewing finishes. To each his own!

Anonymous

## 2 tablespoons / 6 ounces is

2 tablespoons / 6 ounces is standard and correct. Your 1 tablespoon recommendation is based on you not liking a regular strength cup of coffee, not on the whole world liking extra strong coffee. Hint: Every recommendation from respectable brewers these days is at least 2 tablespoons / 6 ounces.

I’m simply responding to the notion that the recommended amount is “crazy,” pointing out that it is not. To end on a similar note on your comment, nothing wrong with 1 tablespoon / 6 ounces. It just means you like weaker coffee.

Paul

## 1 tbls vs. 2 tbls

I have been using 1 tbls of grounds per 6 oz of water for years. I’m certain I got this ratio from the bags of whole beans I’ve been buying for all those years. I just noticed that all the available brands at my grocery store now say 2 tbls per 6 oz. That seems excessive to me, and I’m guessing it’s a change brought about by Starbucks’ changing the public’s perception of what coffee should taste like.

Am I crazy, or does anyone else remember that the recommendation used to be 1 tbls of grounds per 6 oz of water?

BTW, I fully understand that tastes vary and everyone should drink their coffee however strong they like it. I’m just wondering about the recs on the bags.

Daniel Owen

## RE: 1 tbls vs. 2 tbls

Your question intrigued me so I grabbed a few antique coffee cans in my collection and the recommendations are far from consistent.

Chase & Sanborn, Del Monte, Yuban, and Butter-Nut have no brewing directions of any kind.

Luzianne (Coffee and Chicory) suggest one heaping teaspoon per cup. The cup size is not defined. See my notes below.

Kaffee Hag Coffee (Decaf) recommends one “well rounded” tablespoon per measuring cup (8 oz) of water.

Maxwell House and Sanka (Decaf) both stipulate 2 level tablespoons per 6 oz of water.

One rounded and two level table spoons are not drastically different. I’d guess one “well rounded” tablespoons is maybe one and a half level tablespoons. The real outlier here is Luzianne at only one heaping teaspoon per cup. Chicory would account for some of that but not all of the reduction. I cut maybe 25% when using chicory coffees but not the ~75% this would seems to recommend.

Thanks for the opportunity to take a few minutes to look at an interesting question. I’ll add the data to the main article as well.

Anonymous

## Coffee

Don’t get it?

How many cups of water for 2oz of coffee for a coffee maker?

Daniel Owen

## RE: Coffee

That would be just over half the coffee in “3.75 oz per 1/2 gallon” SCAA recommendation. That would mean approximately 1 quart or 32 ounces. That comes out to 4 measuring cups or some larger number if you are using the measuring lines on your coffee pot since those can be anywhere from 4 -6 ounces per “cup”.

Anonymous

## Actually, it’s not for reasons you think

http://askawiseman.com/metric/

The metric system is great for scientific purposes.

Metric should be used in science, in math, and engineering.

But the imperial system should be used in daily things, and human-related things.

Same goes for the temperature scales. (Celsius, for example, is great for monitoring the temperature of water, but Fahrenheit is better for monitoring the temperature of humans, because that’s what they were made to do.)

Both sides of that particular argument are wrong. Both systems of measuring have their purpose, and are good.

You’d KNOW this if you actually studied both systems.

As for coffee, my general rule is “percentage of basket filled with coffee grinds should be similar to the percentage of the carafe filled with water.” 🙂 Unless you’re doing single serve. Then I’ll default to about 1.5/2 tbsp per 6oz depending on how strong I want my coffee.

Anonymous

## The “Mud” is ready!

The “Mud” is ready! Americanos anyone?