Brewing the perfect cup of pour-over coffee depends on balancing different variables - water temperature, quality of the beans, coarseness of the grind, and water quality. Even the brewing equipment plays an important role, and that’s why more and more people invest in premium coffee making tools like the gooseneck kettle and pour over coffee makers such a Chemex or Hario V60.
These are very important elements in achieving great tasting pour over coffee, however, there’s one component that most people pay little attention to, and that is the coffee to water ratio.
Coffee to Water Ratio: Why is it Important?
Making pour over coffee sounds complicated but actually, it is one of the simplest ways to make coffee. It may not be as easy as using an automatic coffee machine, but the extra flavor is worth the extra effort. The resulting brew is unbeatable because you control every aspect of the process.
And one component you surely need to control is the coffee to water ratio.
Some people think just throwing in three to six scoops of coffee and then eyeballing how much water to use would already do the trick, or it’s as simple as adding more grounds to make a stronger brew. Except that this method would only result in inconsistent and unbalanced coffee.
The Sweet Spot of Extraction
Making great coffee is all about controlling extraction.
At the start of the extraction, there will be bitter and sour flavors. And then comes the “sweet spot” where coffee flavors are in balance, and there’s no overwhelming bitterness or acidity. If you stop brewing before the sweet spot, you’ll end up with sour coffee; if you brew it longer and goes beyond the sweet spot, you’ll end up with an overly bitter coffee.
Making great tasting coffee is about hitting the sweet spot, and one way to do that is to learn how to use the golden ratio of coffee brewing.
The Golden Ratio
The golden ratio is 1:15-18. One gram of coffee to 15-18 grams of water. Coffee experts find that these ratios yield the best results for producing a more balanced and flavorful coffee.
Imagine using a whole pitcher of water to brew just a one or two coffee beans. Not only would it taste weak, but the beans would be over-brewed beyond the sweet spot because there’s too much water pulling out the flavors from them. The result? A brew that is very weak and overly bitter.
Now imagine if you brew a whole bag of beans with only a small glass of water. It will result in an overpowering cup but also under extracted since the beans didn’t get enough water to extract a balanced amount of flavor. The result would be a strong and sour brew.
The examples above show how ratios make a difference in coffee brewing and how it influences the flavor, balance, and strength of your coffee.
With the Golden Ratio, there is enough coffee to brew a rich cup without being overly concentrated. It also uses enough water to extract the coffee to its sweet spot for a more balanced and satisfying taste.
How To Use The Golden Ratios
Calculating the ratio for your daily coffee is actually very easy. Let’s take a look at these examples:
Let’s say you want a single mug of coffee which is about 250 ml (8.5 oz). If you are to use the 1:18 ratio (1g = 1ml), then you’ll need to divide the weight of the water by 18 to get the amount of coffee you’ll need.
So that means to brew an 8 oz mug of coffee, you’ll need 225 ml of water and 12.5g of coffee.
You can also compute how much water to use if you are starting with the quantity of your coffee beans. Let’s say you have 20 grams of coffee, you can find how much water you’ll need by multiplying the amount of coffee by the ratio (1:18). 20g of coffee multiplied by 18 is 360 ml of water. So now you know exactly how much water you need with your coffee beans.
Getting the ratios involves a little math, but as you can see, it’s very simple and fast. You can also experiment with other ratios like 1:15, 1:16, and 1:17 and see what suits you the best. Again, it’s all a matter of preference but the key here is to know which ratio works for you so that whenever you make coffee, you’ll know it will be perfect every time.
Tools for Measuring Coffee And Water
Aside from calculating the golden ratio, measuring the coffee and water accurately is equally important. It can be done through the use of some measuring tools.
One helpful tool for measuring coffee is the coffee scale. It enables you to precisely measure coffee beans in order to consistently produce great coffee every time. It can also be used to measure water which keeps the whole process simple and efficient.
Another method of measuring coffee and water is through the use of a scoop and measuring cup. Measuring coffee beans and water by volume using these tools is very easy and the preferred method for people who don’t want to buy a coffee scale. Although it’s not as accurate as the coffee scale because some beans are bigger than others, it will only result in very slight variations.
Consistent and Balanced Coffee Every Day
Taking a few extra minutes each morning to use the golden ratios and measuring your ingredients accurately will take out the guesswork on whether you have used enough coffee or water. You can be sure that you’ll have a balanced and flavorful cup of coffee every time.