Having trouble getting good coffee from your drip coffee maker? The issue might be your coffee to water ratio. It used to be a major mystery to me how coffee shops made the most amazing tasting coffee but mine tasted like water. I thought it was just a fact of life that homemade coffee wasn’t as good. Boy oh boy.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that I hadn’t been using even a fourth of the amount of coffee I should be using. It was hard for me to break this habit though. For all of my adult life to that point, I made my coffee the way my parents always did. Then I got married and learned my entire extended family makes theirs the same way — lots of water and very little coffee. I would read about recommended coffee to water ratios and think, “That cannot be right. That’s way too much coffee!”
Fast forward to today and I’m still after the consistently perfect cup of coffee. There’s definitely more to it than the coffee to water ratio, but that’s a really important part of it. So I’m here to tell you, that sweet spot ratio is probably not what you think.
Converting Measurements Simplified
In my pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, I’ve found that most people aren’t into the world or art of coffee. They don’t want to put much thought or effort into it. Usually, I feel the same way. Most people just want a decent tasting cup of coffee on the fly because…life. I’ve felt the extreme frustration of not being able to find straightforward, American standard measurements for how much darn coffee and water to put in my drip coffee maker. So I’m going to keep this super simple for your sanity.
This is first place you’re likely getting confused, and you probably don’t even know it. Your drip coffee maker has a guide right there on the pot for the number of cups it holds. The problem is, at least it was for me, that your coffee pot’s “cup” does not equal the U.S. standard measurement of 8oz = 1 cup. When it comes to coffee, 6 oz is almost universally recognized as 1 cup. In short, this is due to differences in the metric system worldwide and even the medical field for nutrition purposes.
The most accurate way to get a consistent cup (or pot) of coffee is to measure your coffee by weight, in grams. That’s going to feel like an inconvenient step for most people. If you’re one of those people, I get it. I’m here for you and I’m giving you measurements in tablespoons.
The Perfect Coffee to Water Ratio
Adjusting Brew Strength With Your Coffee to Water Ratio
There is only so much control you have over your brew in a drip coffee maker. There’s only a small margin there for any change using this method. Increasing your grounds by a small amount may give you a slightly stronger brew, or it might not. Since you don’t control brew time in a drip coffee maker, you don’t have a lot of control over manipulating the brew strength. Adding more grounds will likely result in a heavier but unpleasant taste or not much change at all. For me, changing to a French Press coffee maker was the key to getting that stronger, fuller tasting cup of coffee. Another way to get nice, strong coffee at home is by making your own cold brew.
If your drip coffee maker coffee is a little too strong for you, adjusting to a weaker cup is much easier. I recommend reducing your grounds by half a tablespoon at first and go down from there until you find the perfect ratio for you.
The Perfect Cup of Coffee
In the world of coffee, no two cups are the same. Just as no two people are the same. Finding that perfect brew and the perfect brew method for you might take a little trial and error. I suppose the title of this post should have been the ideal coffee to water ratio. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new coffee to water ratio measurements and new methods. Have you found the perfect coffee to water ratio for your drip coffee maker? We would love to know your preferences! Feel free to share in the comments.